ALBANY - Gov. Andrew Cuomo is using an old wooden Adirondack boat to help guide New Yorkers' appreciation of state history.
The canoe, light enough to carry on a hiker's shoulders from lake to lake, is among the artifacts he found in a state archives warehouse to display as symbols and inspiration. He's picked dozens of items, from slavery records before President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation to rickety early cars and trucks that are now parked on the concourse of the Empire State Plaza in Albany.
The artifacts are being readied for display in time for his State of the State address on Wednesday, along with the unveiling of a restored skylight in the Assembly staircase.
"History educates us for the future," Cuomo told The Associated Press this week.
The historic items depicting milestones of the executive and legislative branches and the press corps will be available for tours by school children and others. He said they'll help bring state history alive to students and attract more tours.
The displays will be outside his office in the Hall of Governors and in front of the Assembly and Senate chambers and along press row, between the two chambers. Old desks and documents that trace the executive chamber's history will be placed under portraits rearranged chronologically in the Hall of Governors, while legislative items will outside their respective chambers.
The projects also include revealing an Assembly skylight that was covered over during renovation work in the 1940s.
Cuomo's first stint in the massive Capitol was during his early 20s working for his father, Gov. Mario Cuomo, who served from 1983 to 1994. Andrew Cuomo has taken a direct role in speeding the renovation of the Capitol, which opened in 1897, and in taking artifacts out of archives for the public to see.
"I have seized on this building as a metaphor for the whole process," Cuomo told the AP. "To me, the place is entirely different than it was 20 years ago - not for the good.
"I want to make this part of the restoration of state government," Cuomo said.