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
Historic Cherry Hill is open for tours May through December.
Tours are offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00.
Behind-the Scenes Restoration Tours will be offered for one last season! Learn about 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
An Architecture Hunt for Families is offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays between 1 and 2 pm.
This learning-to-look activity investigates Cherry Hill's architecture and reveals some preservation problems in the 1787 house.
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