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Historic Cherry Hill

523 South Pearl Street
Albany, New York

Phone: 518-434-4791 --

Statement of Purpose:

This home, built in 1787 by Philip and Maria Van Rensselaer, was home to five generations of the same family.

Cherry Hill is unique in that it represents continuous family living from the 18th through the 20th centuries.

For this reason, Cherry Hill is known as a "preservation site" rather than a restoration.

Groups are treated to personally guided tours throughout the house. Vistors are allowed to enter the exhibit rooms - there are no barriers. Tours can be tailored to your group's interests.

Highlights & Collections:

Welcome to Historic Cherry Hill, home of five generations of one Albany family from 1787-1963.

Each generation left its influence on the house and grounds with alterations to the structure and additions of personal belongings. The house and its contents are preserved today resembling the way the last generation left them.

In 1787, Philip Van Rensselaer contracted housewright Isaac Packard to build the gambrel roofed, georgian-style house known as Cherry Hill.

Philip and his wife Maria were from prominent Albany families of Dutch heritage. Their responsibilities in the community and at home were numerous. These included the maintenance of a townhouse in Albany in addition to the Cherry Hill house and 900 acre farm; an active and profitable mercantile business, and the concerns of a large family, servants and slaves.

Over the course of three centuries of family ownership, the house and grounds changed in many subtle and profound ways. Although new technologies in heating, lighting and plumbing were introduced, the basic integrity of Cherry Hill was carefully preserved.

At the same time, the surrounding land was gradually sold by the family, and a city neighborhood developed around the house.

The home you see today is the result of the care and preservation given it by the last two generations, the Rankin family.

During the 20th century, the Rankins maintained the site, complete with an accumulation of furnishings and personal belongings gathered over the previous generations. The last descendent of the family to reside at Cherry Hill was Miss Emily Watkinson Rankin. In accordance with her will, Cherry Hill is now a public museum showing the change and continuity of 176 years of continuous family living.

Exhibits & Special Events:

Each year, Historic Cherry Hill offers a variety of programs for all ages. These include lectures, special-interest trips, topical tours and Christmas festivities. You may request a calendar of events by calling or writing the museum.


Approximately 30,000 documents belonging to the Cherry Hill families are available for research at the New York State Library, Manuscripts and Special Collections department, Cultural Education Center, Albany.

Historic Cheny Hill, a non profit educational institution, is chartered by the New York State Board of Regents and is accredited by the American Association of Museums.



Groups of 10 or more require advance reservations. Special admission rates are available for groups. Group tours can be arranged by calling or writing the museum.


Speciallydesignedtours for school children and youth groups are available by advance reservation. Special admission rates apply.


The sales area features books, notepapers, cards and museum reproductions. Museum admission is not required to visit the shop.

Admission & Directions:

Groups must make a tour reservation at least two (2) weeks in advance.

Historic Cherry Hill is located off of Interstate 787 South. Exit from 787 at the sign for NYS 32, South Pearl Street/Port of Albany. At the exit stoplight, turn left and look for Historic Cherry Hill immediately on your right.


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