Solve the Cherry Hill Case… 

Cherry Hill was built in 1787 for Philip Van Rensselaer, his wife Maria, and their 13 children.  In 1963, Phili's great-great granddaughter died, leaving Cherry Hill to become a museum. Five total generations of the Van Rensselaer family lived in Cherry Hill for almost 180 years, along with dozens of enslaved people and servants. All of those people left behind a lot of stuff--70,000 pieces of historical evidence in fact!


Today, historians examine the evidence at Cherry Hill to learn more about the past, and they have uncovered many mysteries. You are invited to join in an investigation of the children who came to Chery Hill during the mid-1800s.  The Cherry Hill Case is opened!


Lesson A: Meet the Children of Cherry Hill

Lesson B: "My Home," Different Points of View

Lesson C: The Cherry Hill Family


Cherry Hill Case Supporting Materials

1855-1885 Timelines

Evidence Gathering Reports

Historical Questions Chart


About the Cherry Hill Case

Adapted from a popular on-site school program, The Cherry Hill Case classroom outreach was created to serve 4th and 5th grade students during Historic Cherry Hill’s restoration. Through hands-on exploration 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 in the mid-1800s. Students work together in small groups and as a whole class to come up with evidence based hypotheses about the Cherry Hill household. The Cherry Hill Case is “closed” when students test their hypotheses through participation in a document-based Reader’s Theater. 


We would like to thank Price Chopper's Golub Foundation who generously supported outreaches to six 4th-grade classrooms in the Schenectady City School District in 2020 and whose support made this online version of the Cherry Hill Case possible.