Historic Cherry Hill

Historic Cherry Hill "Turning history upside down."
Historic Cherry Hill tells a story of America through the lives and experiences of one Albany household. Built in 1787 for Philip and Maria Van Rensselaer, Cherry Hill was lived in until 1963 by extended family, enslaved people, descendants, and servants—who left artifacts, documents, and stories behind.

BEHIND-THE-SCENES RESTORATION TOUR This tour highlights the exciting plans and progress of the museum's restoration work. Tours are offered on Wednesdays at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00pm and on Saturdays at 2:00 and 3:00pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and college students, and $2 for children 12-17. ARCHITECTURE HUNT FOR FAMILIES This learning-to-look activity investigates the architecture of the 1787 house and reveals some of the preservation issues facing the museum. This activity is offered on Saturdays between 1:00 and 2:00 (please come no later than 1:40pm) for families with children between the ages of 6 and 11. Cost is $2 for adults and $1 for children ages 6-11.

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.

Founded by society woman Maria Longworth Nichols Storer (1849-1932), Rookwood Pottery employed a number of women, many o...
07/10/2019

Founded by society woman Maria Longworth Nichols Storer (1849-1932), Rookwood Pottery employed a number of women, many of them graduates of the Cincinnati Art Academy. Cincinnati was a center for Art Pottery in the nineteenth century, but many women took up their brushes and fired their kilns after spotting French ceramics at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia and reading about them in the period’s popular magazines like The Studio, The Century, and The Craftsman. The Rankin women didn’t start china painting, but they did collect #artpottery. Kittie and Edward Rankin traveled to the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, and the family kept individual issues of several of the popular magazines that chronicled art pottery’s ascent and advertised the wares. The family gave ceramics—including Rookwood—as gifts, including a wedding gift in 1929—and wrote to friends about their new acquisitions. Today, Historic Cherry Hill’s collections include 100+ pieces of art pottery, all soon to be unpacked and placed as the Rankins placed them.⁣

.The detailed flowers painted on this Rookwood pitcher likely came from the Pottery’s extensive gardens on site, which artisans were encouraged to paint from—the commercial equivalent of plein air painting popularized by Impressionist painters. The Pottery also had an extensive collection of botanical illustrations for reference in the library. Women appear here not only as founders, makers, and consumers, but also as inventors. Putting aside the light spot from the flash on this older collections photograph, the pitcher’s bulbous structure accentuates the layers and shades of white glaze to make them lifelike, bouncing off the background as if appreciating the blooms in the garden. That background was only possible because of the intervention of Laura Fry (1857-1943), one of Rookwood’s early employees and a founding member of the Cincinnati Pottery Club, who introduced a mouth-blown atomizer to apply the backgrounds of colored slips, allowing for the harmonious gradations of color that make the flowers appear as if in nature, blooming against variegated shades of soil.

Happy 4th!⁣⁣After declaring independence, the colonies financed the Revolution by issuing currency like this 3 dolla...
07/04/2019

Happy 4th!⁣

After declaring independence, the colonies financed the Revolution by issuing currency like this 3 dollar piece, issued out of Philadelphia in 1777. It was illegal for the colonies to issue money, but this was a small infraction after the Declaration of Independence. After multiple printings, the paper money was worth practically nothing by the time the colonies won the war and formed their “more perfect union.” ⁣

Historic Cherry Hill is participating in Family Fun on the Fourth today at Schuyler Mansion, running our Hudson River Trading Game. We will be open for regularly-scheduled restoration tours on Saturday at 1, 2, and 3pm.⁣

Well, they don't call it "Cherry Hill" for nothing! Great crop of cherries this year... Come gather!
07/02/2019

Well, they don't call it "Cherry Hill" for nothing! Great crop of cherries this year... Come gather!

Stories took center stage at Albany’s History Fair, where we looked at literature written and read in the Capital Dist...
07/01/2019

Stories took center stage at Albany’s History Fair, where we looked at literature written and read in the Capital District. History is a story, after all—isn’t it? Dramas enacted many years ago by individuals responding to their historical moment—stories that move us, stories that instruct us, stories that help us write our own narratives, and make our own marks on history. ⁣

Help Historic Cherry Hill write out next chapters as we complete the “multi-volume epic” that is our restoration project. Membership makes up 13% of our operating budget, which means your memberships add up to a big impact. Learn more about our membership levels, renew or start your membership today!⁣

https://www.historiccherryhill.org/members/

Many thanks to Lynne Lekakis and the Albany County Legislature for this critically needed grant for upgrades to the muse...
06/28/2019

Many thanks to Lynne Lekakis and the Albany County Legislature for this critically needed grant for upgrades to the museum's technology infrastructure!

Thank you to everyone who came out to last night's garden party fundraiser...and a BIG thank you to our hosts, Mike Beit...
06/25/2019

Thank you to everyone who came out to last night's garden party fundraiser...and a BIG thank you to our hosts, Mike Beiter & David Getman and to Mary LaFleur for organizing the legendary garden art raffle! The evening could not have been more splendid! Oh...and happy birthday Mike!!

06/24/2019

Today's the day! There's still time to join us tonight, June 24, for a garden party hosted by Trustee Emeritus Mike Beiter and David Getman at their home. Thanks to the generosity of Mike and David and many others, all proceeds go directly toward Historic Cherry Hill's preservation and programs.Start the week at this friendraiser for Historic Cherry Hill with drinks, snacks, desserts, flowers and art!

Details at https://www.historiccherryhill.org/programs/
Tickets online or in person. See you at 6PM

So excited about this project! Thank you,  Senator Sue Serino, Hudson River Valley Communities Council and Greenway Cons...
06/22/2019

So excited about this project! Thank you, Senator Sue Serino, Hudson River Valley Communities Council and Greenway Conservancy!

The collections and the house aren’t the only heritage worth protecting and preserving! Blooming in a myrtle patch and...
06/21/2019

The collections and the house aren’t the only heritage worth protecting and preserving! Blooming in a myrtle patch and shaded by a lilac tree, this Trillium grandiflorum is a protected native species in NY. As summer progresses, the petals will turn pale pink, and then a red berry will form. Development and environmental conditions have essentially made this an endangered species, but it persists in Cherry Hill gardens, which are open to all visitors during museum hours.

06/19/2019

Over on Instagram, we've been participating in the #19forthe19th challenge put on by the U.S. National Archives. You may or may not know, but 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the House and Senate passing the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote; it was enacted in 1920 when Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the Amendment, and women voted in the 1920 presidential election. For 19 consecutive Wednesdays this summer and fall, we're posting stories about women from Historic Cherry Hill. Follow along on Instagram, or catch highlights (Dinah was one) here on Facebook.

From the Cherry Hill gardens to Mike’s. ⁣⁣Trustee Emeritus Mike Beiter and David Getman will host their annual gar...
06/18/2019

From the Cherry Hill gardens to Mike’s. ⁣

Trustee Emeritus Mike Beiter and David Getman will host their annual garden party to benefit Historic Cherry Hill on Monday, June 24 at their home in Castleton On Hudson, from 6-8pm. The garden party is a wonderful gathering of friends and supporters, open to all, and features a raffle of works by local artists. Regular tickets are $25, with member tickets available for $20. https://www.historiccherryhill.org/programs/

Historic Cherry Hill is pleased to announce that we have received a $5,000 grant from the Hudson River Valley National H...
06/14/2019

Historic Cherry Hill is pleased to announce that we have received a $5,000 grant from the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area for our upcoming program series, "Swept Clean: A Dramatic Story of Loss and Restoration in Victorian America." If you've been on a tour of Cherry Hill--before the restoration started, that is!---you know that we begin with the story of young Catherine Putman facing the prospect of losing her cherished ancestral home, Cherry Hill, because of the family's financial misfortunes. This story will be the focus of a site specific theater piece by Krysta Dennis that will be presented in Cherry Hill's rooms early next year, launching our grand reopening celebrations after a decade-long restoration project. Catherine Putman nearly lost Cherry Hill in 1884--and all of us nearly lost it again in recent times because of the building's deterioration and the enormous cost of preserving it. We hope that you will join us in celebrating Cherry Hill's restoration--and partner with us in sustaining it for another generation!

Thanks to all who came last night to learn about the restoration and enjoy time in the gardens. One restoration challeng...
06/13/2019

Thanks to all who came last night to learn about the restoration and enjoy time in the gardens. One restoration challenge or opportunity we talked about last night was brought on by Dandy, Emily’s Dalmatian.⁣

As you can tell from this photo from 1950, Dandy was a large dog, and maybe a little too much for Emily in her later years. Their gardener/handyman, Roy described Dandy as such in his oral history of Cherry Hill. ⁣

Well, if there was any doubt, Dandy left his (sometimes rowdy, maybe disobedient) mark on Cherry Hill outside the dining room. Dandy wasn’t allowed in the dining room, but wanting to be part of the party (or at least have the food!), he pawed at the wall outside, scratching up the wallpaper. Thus when planning for the preservation of Cherry Hill, we grapple with two different models: restoration—to bring the house back in time—and preservation “as is”—which is as it sounds. While the majority of the house is being restored, that area of damaged wallpaper is being preserved “as is,” because without it, we’d lose that historical record, and everyday story of pets at Cherry Hill.

Come on over! Our Members’ Restoration Update will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, June 12, at 5:30 pm. Renew, join, a...
06/11/2019

Come on over! Our Members’ Restoration Update will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, June 12, at 5:30 pm. Renew, join, and support preservation, because this place matters.

Busy tomorrow? Historic Cherry Hill is open for restoration tours Wednesday and Sunday afternoons, with tours starting at the hour at 1, 2, and 3pm.

At their most basic levels, drawings document the condition of the building structure and prescribe treatments through n...
06/10/2019

At their most basic levels, drawings document the condition of the building structure and prescribe treatments through notes and specifications. If you think about it medically, they are the doctor's notes in the chart, the diagnostic tests, and the recommendations and prescriptions based on best practices. But if you don't know how to read them, it's like the worst handwriting. A quick tutorial on plans and elevations. ⁣

The floorplans record dimensions of rooms, stairwells, air shafts, and locations of doors and windows. Think of it as a drawing of the bird's-eye view of the floor, if the ceilings were cut off. Each room number is identified with a number to indicate floor and room number. Let's zoom in on 101, the Entry Hall. In the center, there's a diamond with a circle inscribed, and that show's you the page number to see elevations (drawings of the walls), and around the outside, the number of the drawing assigned to each wall. Elevations of the Entry Hall are on page A-500, and drawings 1, 2, 3, and 4. Can you see the correspondence? ⁣Can you read the writing?

What a difference a week makes! The gardens approaching peak bloom, with some buds ready to open, just in time for our M...
06/08/2019

What a difference a week makes! The gardens approaching peak bloom, with some buds ready to open, just in time for our Members Restoration Update this Wednesday, June 12, at 5:30 pm, in the Upper Garden. Renew your membership or sign up for the first time, and start taking advantage of it right away!⁣

All those hours in the garden and meetings of the Fort Orange Garden Club continue to pay off. Is it any surprise Emily ...
06/07/2019

All those hours in the garden and meetings of the Fort Orange Garden Club continue to pay off. Is it any surprise Emily won prizes for her work? ⁣

In 1827, Dinah Jackson was the only remaining slave at Cherry Hill. New York’s gradual emancipation law freed slaves b...
06/05/2019

In 1827, Dinah Jackson was the only remaining slave at Cherry Hill. New York’s gradual emancipation law freed slaves born after 1799 as soon as they reached maturity, 25 years old for women. Born much earlier, Dinah was about 50 years old by 1827, and lived in a dark, narrow basement room, with a single small window to let in the smallest bit of light, performing a range of household tasks and cooking for the family. But Dinah didn’t stay hidden forever—as soon as she was freed on July 4, 1827, she became a star witness regarding a murder at Cherry Hill.⁣

Because of her status as a slave, Jesse Strang, a workman who also lived at Cherry Hill, thought nothing of asking Dinah if she would poison John Whipple, who lived in the house with his wife, Elsie, a Lansing cousin. Strang and Elsie were having an affair, and eager to start a life together—but not without Elsie’s inheritance, which was controlled by her husband. For months the two plotted John’s murder, and in March 1827 Strang asked Dinah if she would poison Mr. Whipple in exchange for $500. “Not for the all the world. Not for all the state,” she replied. And so Strang began building a cover story about undesirables he’d seen and heard on the property.⁣

On May 7, 1827, Strang climbed the roof of the attached “shed," and shot Whipple through his bedroom window, then climbed down and ran in through the front door with others coming to help. Slaves could not serve as witnesses, but emancipated free black men and women could. Less than a month after her emancipation, Dinah took the witness stand and testified that Strang had plotted to take Whipple’s life earlier that year. Her testimony was riveting, and published in newspapers. On her testimony, Strang was convicted, and sentenced to public hanging, the last in NY. ⁣

The trial is like that little window, casting light on Dinah’s life while most of it remains unknown, which is why she’s our #hiddenheroine ⁣

#hiddenheroines #19ForThe19th #wcw #citizenship #womenshistory #herstory #blackhistory #everymonthisblackhistorymonth #blackwomenlead #nyhistory #truecrime #museum #housemuseum #historicsite #fromthearchives #albany #discoveralbany

06/03/2019
PeterRose.com

More goodies from the Cherry Hill collections! The original recipe for these tea cookies can be found in the receipt book begun by Maria Van Rensselaer, first mistress of Cherry Hill in 1768, the year of her marriage. The amazing Peter Rose adapts it here for modern kitchens.

BLOG 125

The sun is shining, flowers are blooming profusely, and soon it will be time for school vacation and the kids will be home. Inevitable there will be a rainy day and the kids will feel “booored.” What better entertainment is there than to bake cookies together and then sit down and have a cup of tea together and proudly eat a batch??
The following recipe comes from the Collections of Cherry Hill in Albany, NY, which have a veritable treasure trove of cookbooks. Please note the half English-half Dutch spelling of the word cookjes in the title of the recipe. The recipe is from the hand-written cookbook of Maria Sanders van Rensselaer (1749-1830), wife of Philip van Rensselaer of Cherry Hill (now a historic house museum). Although the cookies are made from such simple ingredients, you cannot eat just one, they are positively addictive.
Divide the dough into 4 batches, freeze 3 and bake 1. Can be done very successfully in a toaster oven. That way you have dough on hand when the need strikes…..

Tea cookjes (Theekoekjes)
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
½ teaspoon finely textured salt
1-1/2 cups sugar
3.4 cold water
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In an electric mixer, cream the butter. Add the sugar a little at a time and continue creaming. Add the water alternately with the flour. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for 1 hour. Roll Into ½-inch balls, (kids love to do this), which will make little dot-shaped cookies. Place ½ inch apart on buttered baking sheets and bake one sheet at a time for 16 to 18 minutes, or until lightly browned at the very edge and on the bottom.
Yield: the whole batch makes at least 10 dozen cookies

ENJOY YOUR SUMMER!!

Beautiful late spring days in the garden, surrounded by green with pops of color.
06/01/2019

Beautiful late spring days in the garden, surrounded by green with pops of color.

You normally see us talking about the yellow house, but come summer, we like to make room for blue stars!Historic Cherry...
05/31/2019

You normally see us talking about the yellow house, but come summer, we like to make room for blue stars!

Historic Cherry Hill is excited to participate in the Blue Star Museums again this summer. An initiative of Blue Star Families and National Endowment of Humanities, Blue Star Museums is a nationwide program for giving thanks. More than 2,000 musuems throughout the United States--and Historic Cherry Hill is one--will offer free admission through Labor Day for all active-duty military and their families with Geneva Convention common access card (CAC) or dependent IDs.

Come by Cherry Hill this summer, and look for the whole list of participating museums--including our friends at the U.S.S. Slater and Children’s Museum of Science and Technology (our 2018 programming partners)--at arts.gov/bluestarmuseums

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523 1/2 S Pearl St
Albany, NY
12202-1111

Opening Hours

Wednesday 13:00 - 16:00
Saturday 13:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(518) 434-4791

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