Historic Cherry Hill

and the Edward Frisbee Center for Collections & Research

Public Programs

Historic Cherry Hill is open for public tours May 6 through November 26, 2022

Guided Historic House Tours for the 2022 season:

Tours begin on the hour and are about an hour in length. No reservations necessary.*

*For group tours, please contact the Director of Education at shawna@historiccherryhill.org


The Rankins: Struggling with the Loss of their World

May 6 - July 10, Fridays & Saturdays 12, 1, 2, 3pm

July 11 - Aug. 14, Tuesdays through Sundays 12, 1, 2, 3pm

Aug. 15 - Nov. 26, Fridays & Saturdays 12, 1, 2, 3pm


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.


Covid-19 Safety Protocol: We will continue to follow the most up-to-date recommendations from the NYS Health Department and the CDC. Please email or call the museum before your visit for current protocols. info@historiccherryhill.org or (518) 434-4791


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, $30 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 30 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 Programs

We've been hard at work creating online resources to support all types of instruction, including digital teaching units, remote outreaches and virtual versions of our popular school programs.

Our innovative programs continue to reflect New York State curriculum needs and feedback from teachers, and we are probing deeper into underrepresented narratives, particularly the African-American experience at Cherry Hill.


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!


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


Live Remote Programs:


  • Remote Show & Tell (grades 4 & 5): Learn about life in the mid 1800s by seeing objects that belonged to members of the Cherry Hill household.



  • Presentations (grades 7-12): Interactive slide presentations:
    • The 1827 Cherry Hill Murder
    • Child Servants at Cherry Hill: Kinship & the Struggle for Autonomy

  • 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.


On-site Programs:

Arranged on a case-by-case basis. Contact shawna@historiccherryhill.org to plan your visit.


  • 7-12 grade: Experience the Murder at Cherry Hill by retracing the steps of confessed murderer, Jesse Strang, and through selected readings from his confession, explore the motivations and reactions of those who were at Cherry Hill that fateful night.  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. This program runs 1 hour per class.


  • Other topics upon request for grades pre-K-12, college, and mixed age groups.


Outreach Programs:

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


Hudson River Trading Game

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 30 students

  • Length: Approximately 45 to 60 min. (depending on group size)

  • Kit Option: A more cost efficient way to play- bborrow the Hudson River Trading Game to facilitate at your school

The *New* Cherry Hill Case

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 in the mid 1800s. The Cherry Hill Case is "closed" when students test their hypotheses through participation in a document-based Reader's Theatre.

This program compliments New York State Learning Standards in Social Studies and ELA.


  • # of Students: Up to 1 class (30 students) per program, 2 classes per outreach visit 
  • Length: Approximately 90 minutes


Field Trip Funding Opportunities:

  • Albany & Schenectady City classrooms are eligible for FREE Remote Cherry Hill Case outreach programs. Contact shawna@historiccherryhill.org for details.


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.