Historic Cherry Hill

and the Edward Frisbee Center for Collections & Research

Public Programs

Weekly Offerings

  • Guided tours of the historic house

    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 WWI experience. 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.

2018 Calendar of Events


The 19th Annual Albany History Fair: World War I - The Albany Home Front

Sunday, May 6th, 12 - 4 PM
  • FREE!
  • What was it like in Albany during World War I? Come to the Albany History Fair at Historic Cherry Hill  to experience it! Cross Cherry Hill’s threshold into the year 1918, where actors and virtual reality will transport you to the end of World War I.  Then step outside to enjoy crafts, music, trivia, and reconnoiter with reenactors!



Paws, Claws & Slippery Tails: The Pets of Cherry Hill

September 29th, 12-4 at Historic Cherry Hill
$5 admission


Uppity roosters, naughty parrots, and a kingdom of bunnies! Cherry Hill was home to quite a cast of animal characters throughout its history as the Van Rensselaer family home.  Join us for a site-wide scavenger hunt to learn the stories of Cherry Hill's furry, feathery friends, and meet some live animals as well! Co-sponsored by the Children's Museum of Science & Technology.


Murder at Cherry Hill

October 24th, 25th, 26th & October 27th
Tours at 5:30, & 7 PM
$18/general admission    $12/members
  • On May 7, 1827, a notorious murder occurred at Cherry Hill that resulted in two sensational trials and Albany's last public hanging. Come relive that night! Meet the historical players, walk in the footsteps of a murderer, and revel in harrowing titillation during this annual October event! Reservations required. Click here to register: Murder at Cherry Hill

Group Programs


Behind-the-Scenes Restoration tours for private groups. $4 per person. $40 group minimum.

Outreach Programs

Let us come to you! Historic Cherry Hill can present these illustrated talks at your location. $60 per outreach.

  • Historic Cherry Hill: Mission, Vision and Happenings

    mission vision happenings

    The Director of Historic Cherry Hill provides an overview of the workings of the historic house museum as an institution, offering an often hidden view of how house museums work. Learn about the museum's mission, vision, and current initiatives as well as the challenges facing all cultural institutions today.

  • A Different Kind of Collection

    a different kind of collection

    Historic Cherry Hill's collection distinguishes the museum from most others. Its 70,000 items, spanning over two centuries and ranging from the rare to the mundane, all belonged to one family — the Van Rensselaers of Cherry Hill. This talk explores some of the unique objects in the collection, the family's motivation for accumulating and saving its possessions, and how the museum's significant collections have defined its course today.

  • The 1827 Cherry Hill Murder

    murder at cherry hill

    In 1827, a murder occurred at the Cherry Hill farm, home of the well known Van Rensselaer family. The crime aroused tremendous public interest, and the subsequent trial culminated in the last public hanging in Albany. Although it appeared to be a crime of passion, it uncovered some simmering issues of the day including women's roles and legal rights, social class, punishment and the law, and slavery in New York. Hear the words of those involved in the crime and decide whom you think was guilty or innocent.

  • Shades of Gentility

    shades of gentility

    Schuyler Mansion and Cherry Hill were built around the same time by related families living within a stone's throw of one another. But how similar are they really, and how similar were the people who built and inhabited them? This lecture will explore the “shades of gentility” in 18th-century Albany by examining the homes and possessions of three prominent Albanians: Philip Van Rensselaer (1747-1798), Philip Schuyler (1733-1804), and Stephen Van Rensselaer (1764-1839).

School Programs

Exciting and innovative programs that meet Common Core Learning Standards! Questions? Call Shawna Reilly, Education Coordinator at (518) 434-4791 or email shawna@historiccherryhill.org.

Off-site Education Programs

Hudson River Trading Game & Navigating the Seas

This hands-on program creatively combines history, economics, science, ELA and math. Students role play using a 34-foot game board to experience the challenges of 18th-century trade and travel on the Hudson River, discover how Hudson River trade was linked to global trade, and visit the planetarium to explore celestial navigation. In partnership with the Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center.

  • Level: 4th and 5th grades

  • Cost: $5.00 per student, $100 minimum group fee, chaperones free.

  • Group size: Up to 60 students (scroll down for larger group accommodations)

  • Length: Approximately 2.5 to 3 hours (depending on group size)

  • Duration: December through June

  • Location: Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center, 25 Quackenbush Square, Albany, NY, 12207
  • For driving and parking directions, download this pdf
  • Reservations: Email Shawna at shawna@historiccherryhill.org or call (518) 434-4791

  • Accessibility: Please inform us of any special needs when making your reservation

  • Late Arrivals: If you are running late the morning of your program, please notify the Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center at (518) 434-0405



The Cherry Hill Case Outreach Program

History takes on a whole new meaning when seen through the lens of a detective! The investigation begins with a pre-visit package of artifacts delivered to your classroom. Through the hands-on use of primary source documents, photographs, and objects, students work together to investigate the roles, relationships, and everyday lives of six people who shared a home at Cherry Hill during the mid-1800s. The Cherry Hill Case is “closed” when students test their hypotheses through participation in a document-based Reader’s Theater.


  • Cost: $125 per program, plus travel (federal rate)

  • Group size: Limit to one class (up to 30 students) per program, 3 programs per outreach visit

  • Length: Approximately 1.5 hours per program

  • Duration: September through June

  • Level: 4th and 5th grades

  • Location:  A museum educator will come to your classroom

  • To Schedule: Email Shawna at shawna@historiccherryhill.org, or call (518) 434-4791

  • Accommodations: Please inform us of any special needs when making your reservation.

  • The Cherry Hill Case Program Materials for Teachers:


Field Trip Funding Opportunities

  • City School District of Albany 5th Graders: Free Admission to the HRTG&NS program, supported by a grant from the Port of Albany. For more information, contact shawna@historiccherryhill.org


On-site Education Programs

While under the last stage of restoration, on-site programming may be arranged on a case-by-case basis. Contact shawna@historiccherryhill.org to plan your visit. $4 per person, $48 minimum, chaperones free.

  • Middle School: Students investigate a notorious 1827 crime in the house where it occurred.  They examine the scene of the crime, re-enact the murder and retrace the killer’s footsteps.  A variety of learning activities also help students understand how the choices of the major people involved in the event were affected by the social and economic conditions of the period.  The program stresses critical thinking skills and personally involves students in the process of interpreting the past. This program runs 2.5 hours, in addition to pre-visit activities.
  • High School: Experience the Murder at Cherry Hill by retracing the steps of confessed murderer, Jesse Strang, and through selected readings from his confession, explore the motivations and reactions of those who were at Cherry Hill that fateful night.  This interactive tour uses the unqiue circumstances of the infamous murder at Cherry Hill in Albany to examine how attitudes about class, race and gender shaped life in early 19th century America. This program runs 1.5 hours, with an optional pre-visit power point presentation. 
  • Other topics upon request for younger grades, college, and mixed age groups.


Document-based Teaching Units

Students become historians in their own right. Designed for classroom use, Historic Cherry Hill teaching units use a wide variety of primary sources to engage students in analyzing and interpreting historical evidence. Cross-curricular and “teacher friendly.” Award winners, American Association for State and Local History.

  • Different Voices, Different Truths: The 1827 Murder at Cherry Hill (grades 7 and up)

  • Kittie Putman and the Cherry Hill Household: 1860-1884 (grade 4 and up)

Click here for more information about these teaching units and how to order them.