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WhirLocal Albany

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Albany, Oregon 97321

Nestled in downtown Albany, Oregon, the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum stands as a vibrant testament to art, history, and community collaboration. Since its opening on August 15th, 2017, this captivating attraction has been delighting visitors of all ages, offering a unique blend of nostalgic charm and artistic splendor.

A Tour of Artistry:
During a recent visit this past week as part of the Better Together networking group, I had the privilege of experiencing the carousel’s magic firsthand. During a personalized tour arranged by Mayor Alex Johnson II, one of the museum’s dedicated volunteers offered an in-depth look at the craftsmanship and history behind the museum and each piece. The carving room was particularly fascinating, showcasing the meticulous process of bringing these wooden creatures to life.

Albany Historic Carousel & Museum
Photo credit: Samantha Demchak, Better Together Networking

A Dream Realized:
The carousel’s journey began with a simple vision: to create a world-class carousel that would enchant both young and old. This dream was brought to life through the concerted efforts of countless volunteers, donors, and community leaders.

The Art of Animal Creation:
Carving a new animal for the carousel is a labor of love, often taking up to seven years to complete. These stunning pieces are crafted from soft basswood from a Linden tree, with volunteers learning and honing the art of woodcarving. You can start to learn once you turn 14. The detailed process eschews power tools for intricate work, ensuring each animal is a unique masterpiece. Once carved, it can take up to a year to paint the intricate designs. Finally, they are sent to an auto body shop for a final coating for protection.

Community and Sponsorship:
The Albany Carousel stands as a vibrant example of community involvement. Every animal and section of the carousel has now been sponsored by individuals and businesses, reflecting the strong support and commitment of the Albany community. This includes the remarkable achievement of being debt-free on a $6 million building, a testament to the project’s widespread backing.

Historical Significance:
At the heart of the carousel is its historical 1909 mechanism, originally built by the Dentzel Carousel Corporation and on loan from the National Carousel Association.

Bill Dentzel, great-grandson of Dentzel Carousel Corporation’s founder, Gustav Dentzel, played a pivotal role in the Albany Carousel project. He facilitated the loan of the historic 1909 carousel mechanism to Albany, a gesture deeply appreciated by the community. The restoration of this antique mechanism, a decade-long endeavor, imbues the carousel with a rich historical significance, beautifully bridging Albany’s past and present.

A Living Museum:
Beyond being a merry-go-round, the Albany Carousel serves as a living museum and educational center. Here, the art of carousel building is preserved and passed down to new generations, keeping alive a rare and beautiful craft.

Mayor Johnson’s Community Engagement:
Mayor Johnson is also on the board of directors of Albany’s Historic Carousel & Museum. He frequently engages with the community, especially children and families, by giving out tokens during the year for carousel rides. This gesture is more than just a free ride; it’s about building relationships and fostering a sense of community in Albany, while at the same time connecting local families to the civic aspect of Albany in a very non-intimidating manner.

A Center of Joy and Learning:
The Albany Historic Carousel & Museum is more than a mere attraction; it’s a center where joy, learning, and community spirit intersect. Whether it’s riding the carousel, observing the artisans at work, or learning about the rich history of carousel art, a visit here offers a unique and heartwarming experience.

The Albany Historic Carousel & Museum stands as a testament of Albany’s dedication to preserving and celebrating a unique form of art. It symbolizes the power of community spirit and the joy of collective achievement. This carousel is not just a ride; it’s a journey through history, art, and community life.

The Albany Historic Carousel & Museum is open for visitors to experience its unique charm. For detailed information about their current operating hours, admission fees, and any special events or programs, I recommend visiting their official website. This will provide you with the most up-to-date and specific details to plan your visit.


By Tim Fahndrich, Co-Publisher of WhirLocal Albany. With a deep family heritage in Albany, Tim is committed to sharing the unique stories of our local non-profits and small businesses so that our entire community can thrive.

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