Historic Cherry Hill

and the Edward Frisbee Center for Collections & Research

Our Story

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.


  • restoration restoration restoration


Want to help us finish the job? Join the Collection Connection Campaign! Learn more

Board and Staff


Executive Committee

  • Maryrita Dobiel, Esq., President
  • Robert Englert, Vice President
  • James Campbell, Treasurer
  • Erin Leary, PhD, Secretary
  • Hon. Lynne Lekakis, at-large


  • Krysta Dennis, PhD

  • Richard Hendrick
  • Frederick Schrock

Trustees Emeritus

  • Michael R. Beiter



Historic Cherry Hill will be closed for tours after October 31, 2020. Check our website, Facebook, and Instagram for behind-the-scenes glimpses of the restoration and reinstallation throughout the remainder of 2020...and we hope to see you in person in spring 2021!

Self-Guided Tours of the Gardens & Historic House on Wednesdays & Saturdays between 1 & 4pm. 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.


Reservations are required for Self-Guided Behind-the-Scenes Restoration Tours, as space is limited. Admission is free. Your generosity helps Historic Cherry Hill maintain its mission. Online donations can be made on our donation page.


Download pdfs of the self-guides: Garden History  &  Site Plan

Download a pdf of the self-guided Behind-the-Scenes Restoration Tour


Scroll down for more information about both tours.



Self-Guided Tours of Cherry Hill's Historical Gardens, Wednesdays & Saturdays, 1-4pm. 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 farm to urban backyard, 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.


Self-Guided Behind-the-Scenes Restoration Tours, Wednesdays & Saturdays at 1, 2, & 3pm. Reservations are required, as space is limited.

Make a Reservation


Behind-the-Scenes Restoration Tours are back for one last season! Explore Cherry Hill's architecture and layers of history...see for yourself why such a major restoration was needed and what is being done to address structural issues, preserve the house, and restore the mansion to its historic splendor. When you visit you might see...


    • the historic porch being rebuilt
    • plaster and lath being repaired
    • wallpaper being hung
    • furnishings and art being unpacked and returned to their historic places in Cherry Hill's rooms


Historic Cherry Hill is located at 523 12 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.

Contact Us