Historic Cherry Hill

and the Edward Frisbee Center for Collections & Research

Historic Cherry Hill's programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts, with support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

Public Programs

Historic Cherry Hill is closed for the 2023 tour season. We will reopen for regular public tours on May 10, 2024.

For group tours or school programs during the off-season, contact shawna@historiccherryhill.org


Special Events in 2024:

Visit the News & Events page for more information about upcoming events.

-May 5th, 12-4pm: 25th Annual Albany History Fair (free)

-October: "1827 Murder at Cherry Hill" Dramatic Tours, admission charged, reservataions required


Guided Historic House Tours:

Tours begin on the hour and are about an hour in length.


About the Rankins of Cherry Hill tour...Join us for a story of how the last two generations at Cherry Hill responded to social, economic, and personal change at the turn of the 20th century. Artifacts in each room vividly tell the story of Catherine Rankin’s loss of her wealth and near loss of her ancestral home—and her family’s struggle to regain their financial standing and restore Cherry Hill to its colonial grandeur. This “warts and all” tour addresses such topics as immigration, women’s suffrage, American identity, and the roots of prejudice.


Self-Guided Tours of the Gardens & Grounds:

Looking for a new spot to picnic, take photos, or explore the outdoors?

The historic gardens and grounds are open and free to the public during tour times, no reservation required.


For more information to help you prepare for your visit, including self-guides to the historic grounds, go to our About page and scroll down to Visit.



Group Programs



"The Rankins: Struggling with the Loss of their World" guided house tours are available for private groups, $4 per visitor, $40 minimum for the group.

Take a guided virtual tour, $40 per group.

Outreach Programs

Let us come to you! Historic Cherry Hill will present an illustrated talk, followed by Q&As, on a variety of topics (see below). $50 per outreach, plus mileage (at the federal rate for reimbursement) for locations over 15 miles from the museum.

Virtual Outreaches available via Zoom, GoToMeeting, or Google Meet. $40 per outreach.


  • 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.

  • The Knapp Family: Kinship & the Struggle for Autonomy

  • Daguerreotype of two young girls, the older of the two holding the other protectively.
  • Harriet Maria Elmendorf "Minnie" Knapp and her sister Jane Amelia Knapp came to Cherry Hill in 1854, shortly after the death of their mother, Jane. They and their two brothers were raised as wards and servants in four Van Rensselaer households. How common was this practice, in Albany and elsewhere, during the 19th century? What was the special relationship between the Knapp family and the Van Rensselaers of Cherry Hill? This presentation will explore their experiences, their enduring ties to one another, and their mysterious connection to earlier generations of the Van Rensselaer family, dating back to time of enslavement.

School & Community Programs

Our innovative programs continue to reflect New York State curriculum needs and feedback from teachers and community members. We are probing deeper into underrepresented narratives, particularly the Black experience at Cherry Hill.


"History Is Now" Teen Guide ProgramFive students standing and seated around a bulletin board

Become a paid student tour guide at Historic Cherry Hill! Members of this weekly after-school club investigate how history affects our lives- through a local lens- and gain skills like public speaking and critical thinking applicable for college, work, and life! They also become part of a supportive group, working together in trainings and activities to grow as individuals. 


Historic Cherry Hill was the recognized by the city of Albany as a Summer Youth Employment Program "worksite of the year" in 2022.


Dates for the 2023-2024 School Year


  • Fall 2023 employment: October 30-December 22, Open to students who participated in the city of Albany's 2023 SYEP
  • Spring 2024 training & employment: Dates coming soon! Open to new & returning Albany students, grades 9-12
  • Summer 2024 employment: 6 weeks in July & August, Open to students who participated in Spring 2024 training


Students interested in participating in "History Is Now" are encouraged to fill out a Student Interest Form


For more information about our community initiatives, contact Marketing & Community Engagement Associate LaReina Torain, lareina@historiccherryhill.org



School Programs


To schedule or inquire about a program, fill out a School Program Request Form or contact the Director of Education: shawna@historiccherryhill.org


Teacher Resources

Looking for materials to support instruction?

Explore our online materials for digital collections, teaching units, and activities including a 3D tour of Cherry Hill!


NEW! Mining the Untold Stories on Consider the Source New York!

A partnership formed by Historic Cherry Hill with Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site and the Underground Railroad Education Center at the Stephen & Harriet Myers Residence, hosted by the New York State Archives.


This digital collection of primary source materials, activities & teacher materials is a resource for educators and students in the classroom. It also complements collaborative field trips to our three historic sites.


For more information about "Mining the Untold Stories" field trip opportunities with Historic Cherry Hill and our partner sites, scroll down to On-Site Programs.



Teacher Workshops: Check our Events page for our latest professional development opportunities for CTLE credit, or contact us directly at shawna@historiccherryhill.org


On-site Programs:

Contact shawna@historiccherryhill.org to plan your visit.


Mining the Untold Stories: Black & Female Voices at Historic Cherry Hill, Schuyler Mansion, & the Stephen & Harriet Myers Residence

Grades 4-8

  • Group size: max. 30 students (Up to 90 students for a 3 site visit)
  • Length: 60 minutes per program (approx. 4 hours for a 3 site visit)

Schools are invited to visit up to three historic sites in the city of Albany on the same day to build a stronger understanding of New York State history and the diverse voices in our historic communities. Each site guides students through an examination of the experiences of underrepresented people living in Albany during three different time periods, from the turn of the 19th century through the late 1800s.


Pre-Visit Materials, Digitized Collections and other Teacher Resources are available on Consider the Source New York


Historic Cherry Hill's "Mining the Untold Stories" programs are divided by grade into 2 distinct offerings:


Time Capsules Through History, grades 4 & 5

Students work in small groups to learn about 3 generations of families who lived and labored at Cherry Hill and in Albany's South End during the 1800s. They explore time capsules left by individuals affected by slavery, industry, immigration, urbanization and other changes. Students also tour this historic house and tie it all together with an interactive timeline activity.


Greetings from Cherry Hill, grades 7 & 8

Students examine letters and other primary sources to compare and contrast the experiences of two wards and domestic workers who grew up in Van Rensselaer households between 1850 and 1900. They tour the historic house, participate in a letter reading workshop, and interactive timeline activity to discover change over time, particularly for women and people of color. Students leave with materials to write their own postcards "19th century style."


Research and planning for "Mining the Untold Stories" was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan (ARP).



New & Improved! The 1827 Murder Mystery at Cherry Hill

Grades 7-12+

Students take on the role of coroner to investigate the suspicious murder of John Whipple on May 7, 1827. Working together, participants analyze primary source documents and object clues to learn about the roles (and experiences) of different members of the Cherry Hill household. This interactive tour uses the unique 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.

  • Group size: Up to 30 students, split into 2 groups
  • Length: This program runs 60 minutes



Learning to Look Tours

Grades pre-K-12, college, and mixed age groups.

Topics upon request.



Outreach Programs:

We can come to your school (space providing) or a location of your choice (we love to partner!).


Hudson River Trading Game- This program complements New York State Learning Standards in Social Studies & ELA.

Grades 4 & 5

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 and discover how Hudson River trade was linked to global trade.

  • Group size: Up to 25 students per program, 2 classes per outreach visit

  • Length: Approximately 60 min. (depending on group size), with additional time to set up & pack up.

  • Kit Option: A more cost efficient way to play- borrow the Hudson River Trading Game as a board game to facilitate at your school!


The *New* Cherry Hill Case- This program complements New York State Learning Standards in Social Studies and ELA.

Grades 4 & 5

Through hands-on exploration of primary source documents, photographs and objects, students work together to investigate the roles, relationships, and every day lives of 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 Theatre.

  • Group size: Up to 1 class (25 students) per program, 2 classes per outreach visit 
  • Length: Approximately 90 minutes


Live Remote Programs:



  • Presentations (grades 7-12): Interactive slide presentations:
    • The 1827 Cherry Hill Murder...dig into early 19th century issues of women's roles, legal rights, social class, punishment & law, and slavery in New York. Hear the words of those involved in the crime and decide whom you think was guilty or innocent.
    • Child Servants at Cherry Hill: Kinship & the Struggle for Autonomy...explore the experiences of children raised as servants in Van Rensselaer households during the Victorian Era, their connection to Cherry Hill's earliest days, and the practive of child indenture in Albany.
    • Agency & Identity: Cherry Hill's Would-Be Sisters...analyze the photographs, accounts, and possessions left behind by two Victorian Era women to understand how class, race, and gender shaped life.

  • Tours (grades 4 - 12): Take an interpretive live tour of Cherry Hill Mansion, the Edward Frisbee Collections Care Center or the hisorical gardens grounds, topics vary by season and age.



Field Trip Funding Opportunities:


An evaluation of Historic Cherry Hill's K-12 programs, which informed program development, was made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.