More than just a historic house museum, Cherry Hill is a family home brimming with thousands upon thousands of artifacts and manuscripts spanning three centuries. After five generations of Van Rensselaer family ownership, Emily Rankin, the last Cherry Hill descendant, bequeathed her house and its contents to “the people of New York State.” It opened as a museum in 1964, one year after her death.
Emily probably envisioned Cherry Hill as a place to celebrate her ancestors and a bygone way of life—but today it is so much more. With award-winning educational programs and a critically acclaimed public tour, Cherry Hill helps students build critical thinking skills and encourages visitors to use history to understand their own places in the world.
Our Mission:Historic Cherry Hill interprets and provides access to one Albany household's rich historical resources and, through its educational initiatives, spurs users to view history and historic sites differently by thinking critically about why they matter.
Our Vision for Cherry Hill's Future
Our Vision: Historic Cherry Hill will be transformed from a local house museum into a center for the study and interpretation of America’s social, political and economic history.
The Telling a Bigger Story Campaign
Prior to 2003, the entire collection—70,000 items strong—was housed in the 1787 structure. Through the years, this weight caused significant damage to the museum's largest artifact—the house itself. The museum's emergency response was to build The Edward Frisbee Center for Collections & Research.
The Frisbee Center opened up exciting opportunities for Cherry Hill. In 2007, the museum launched its Telling a Bigger Story campaign—a $2.3 million initiative that will preserve a rare American treasure and transform the museum into a nationally recognized research center.
Telling a Bigger Story has two major components:
Restoring the nationally significant 1787 historic structure
This extensive project involves structural stabilization, window restoration, and environmental improvements. All of this work is necessary to safeguard the historic structure and collections exhibited within it.
Creating a fund for the long-term care of the Cherry Hill collection
By endowing the Curatorial & Research Department, Historic Cherry Hill will be positioned to properly care for its extensive, intact collection of objects, manuscripts, textiles, books, and photographs accumulated by five generations of one household. There are few collections like this in the entire nation, and it offers a rich research resource.
Historic Cherry Hill is open for tours April through December. Closed Christmas Eve through March.
Tours are offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00.
What was it like in Albany during World War I? Come for a tour of Cherry Hill, home of the Van Rensselaer-Rankin family from 1787 to 1963, to find out.
This year marks the centennial of the end of hostilities in “the war to end all wars,” and, in commemoration, tours will explore the Cherry Hill family’s experience during the war. Learn the fate of son and brother, Captain Herbert Rankin, view his uniforms and military gear, explore the family’s collections of World War I posters, and learn about World War I food economy as you view Emily Rankin’s actual preserves in the historic kitchen.
Historic Cherry Hill is located at 523 1⁄2 South Pearl Street in Albany, just off Exit 2 of Interstate 787. From the North, take Exit 2. At the light, turn left, and look for Historic Cherry Hill immediately on your right. From the South, take exit 2, and follow the ramp straight to the end. At the light turn left. Under the overpass, take anther left onto Route 32 South. Bear right onto 787's exit ramp. At the light, turn left, and look for Historic Cherry Hill immediately on your right.
Mailing Address: 5231⁄2 South Pearl St., Albany, NY 12202