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 invites visitors and researchers to explore American history through the unique lens of one Albany household and, through intimate encounter with the past, encourages audiences toward new perspectives on their own stories and place in history.
Our Vision for Cherry Hill's Future
Our Vision: Historic Cherry Hill will be a vibrant community anchor, a recognized research center, and a focal point of heritage tourism.
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: to make collections accessible to students and researchers in a way that they never were before--and, with the weigt of collections removed from the attic, to finally restored the historic house.
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.
The restoration work began in 2009, and--when all is said and done--it will have taken ten years and $2 million to complete. We are finishing the final phase of work this year and look forwared to welcoming visitors once again into the restored house, its rooms once again overflowing with five generations of Van Rensselaer treasures.
Want to help us finish the job? Join the Collection Connection Campaign! Learn more
The CAB counsels on a variety of topics and museum initiatives, by way of quarterly meetings, focus groups, and surveys. Their work supports the museum's mission to preserve local history through educational programs, our commitment to equitably serving our diverse audiences, and our vision to become an anchor in our community.
Safety Protocol: In order to protect our staff and patrons and to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, visitors are asked to practice social distancing, and to wear masks in the historic house and when necessary outdoors.
Looking for a new picnic spot?
Want to explore an historic garden on your own, or with family or friends? Historic Cherry Hill's historic grounds and gardens are open and FREE to the public during tour times-- Fridays between 1 & 4pm & Saturdays between 10am & 4pm.
Scroll down for more information about the landscape and house tours.
"The Rankins of Cherry Hill: Struggling with the Loss of their World" Guided House Tours,
$5 for seniors, students, & AAA members; $3 for children (6-17), and free for Snap Card holders, Blue Star families, and current members of HCH, AAM, & MANY.
No admission charged for children 5 and under.
Call 518-434-4791 to request a free or discounted tour.
About "The Rankins of Cherry Hill" Tour
Our guides will lead you on a story of how one Albany, NY family reacted to loss and change:
Cherry Hill was home to Catherine Putman Rankin and her family from 1884 through 1963. During her lifetime, she and other members of America's elite faced profound social, economic, and political changes that they perceived as threatening to their position in American society. Catherine and many others in her class chose to recreate a rose-colored version of the past as a means of coping with these changes.
Visit Historic Cherry Hill to see how Catherine recreated the interiors of Cherry Hill as an expression of colonial aristocratic nostalgia and identity- as well as the spaces in which other members of the household lived and worked through the centuries.
Click here to take a virtual, 3D tour of Historic Cherry Hill!
Free Self-Guided Tours of Cherry Hill's Historical Gardens,
Fridays, 1-4pm & Saturdays, 10am-4pm.
Over the course of three centuries of family ownership, Cherry Hill and its grounds changed as each family altered the structure and added their personal touches.
Read about how the grounds changed from Hudson River manor farm to urban backyard. Step back into the mid-1900s with peony beds dating back almost a century, and a reconstructed arbor and garden temple.
Use our site plan to explore Cherry Hill's historical landmarks and gardens.
Paper copies available under the entrance sign, as supplies last.
E-copies are coming soon!
Parking: Free parking is available in the small lot at the bottom of the driveway, as well as on both sides of South Pearl Street.
Accessibility: The first floor of Historic Cherry Hill is accessible to visitors in wheelchairs, and materials are available to explore the rest of the house virtually.
Visitors with limited mobility are welcome to park at the top of the driveway, leaving space for emergency vehicles to drive through.
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