Crailo State Historic Site

Crailo State Historic Site Crailo State Historic Site is the Museum of the Colonial Dutch in the Hudson River Valley. All tours of the museum and historic house will be self-guided.
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Once the home of Hendrick van Rensselaer, grandson of the first patroon, Crailo is now home to the new permanent exhibit, "A Sweet and Alien Land: Colony of the Dutch in the Hudson River Valley." Due to the continuing risks of the COVID-19 virus, the historic site has changed our operations to ensure the health and safety of visitors, staff, and the public at large. Please take note of the followi

ng protective measures and changes to our typical hours and offerings: Visits are available by reservation ONLY. Reservations can be made by calling the historic site at (518) 463-8738. Visitors will be required to give their name, a contact number, and the city, town, or location they are visiting from. Self-guided tours will be offered at 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 3:00 PM. To ensure a safe museum environment, visitors over the age of two are required to wear an appropriate face covering in all interior spaces, at all times. The maximum number of people allowed inside the historic house and museum will be 10 at any given time. Visitors from the same household must always maintain a distance of 6 feet from other visitors and Crailo State Historic Site staff. We are offering exterior and grounds tours, weather permitting. The historic site grounds are small, but appropriate footwear is recommended. These tours are also reservation ONLY, and are offered at 12:00 PM and 2:00 PM. Admission to Crailo State Historic Site: $5.00 for adults, $4.00 for students and seniors, 12 and under are FREE. The gift shop will remain closed until further notice.

Happy  ! Image: Interior with a man drinking and two women with a child feeding a parrot, Pieter de H***h, c. 1672
02/20/2024

Happy !

Image: Interior with a man drinking and two women with a child feeding a parrot, Pieter de H***h, c. 1672

350 years ago today the Treaty of Westminster (1674) was signed. This resulted in the end of the third Anglo-Dutch War a...
02/19/2024

350 years ago today the Treaty of Westminster (1674) was signed. This resulted in the end of the third Anglo-Dutch War and included the agreement to give England control of New Netherland once and for all. England had originally gained control of the colony ten years earlier. New Netherland was recaptured by the Dutch in 1673 and led by a Dutch governor until 1674. Despite the treaty being signed in February of that year it wasn’t until November of 1674 that an English governor took over.

Image: North America divided into its principall parts where are distinguished the severall states which belong to the English, Spanish, and French, William Berry, c. 1680, Library of Congress

Today is  . The Van Rensselaer family tried many different ways to make a profit in New Netherland. In addition to his r...
02/18/2024

Today is . The Van Rensselaer family tried many different ways to make a profit in New Netherland. In addition to his role as patroon, Jeremias van Rensselaer frequently acted as a salesperson, selling imported goods that were sent to him by his family overseas. One commodity he occasionally dealt in was wine.

In 1661, Jeremias wrote to his brother Jan Baptist regarding some wines he had received from him: “To let you know how the wine has kept, I will say in the first place that the three hogsheads of highland wine were very choice, but that the Lagon wine was a little strong and sharp, so that I sold them mixed together, for when thus blended they form as delicious a drink of wine as one could wish. The wine Court […] I thought was a rarity and I planned to keep it for myself, but as some of the friends did like the taste of it, I [sold] it…”

Image: The Wine Glass, by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1658-1660

Happy  !Image: Old Lady Feeding Porridge to a Cat, attributed to David Rijckaert III, 17th century
02/17/2024

Happy !

Image: Old Lady Feeding Porridge to a Cat, attributed to David Rijckaert III, 17th century

The first signs of spring are beginning to pop up on Crailo's grounds! 🌱
02/17/2024

The first signs of spring are beginning to pop up on Crailo's grounds! 🌱

Happy  !Image: Still life with flowers, goblet, and dainties, by Clara Peeters, c. 1611
02/16/2024

Happy !

Image: Still life with flowers, goblet, and dainties, by Clara Peeters, c. 1611

February is   and we will be highlighting stories of Black people from 17th century New Netherland to help tell  .In Jul...
02/15/2024

February is and we will be highlighting stories of Black people from 17th century New Netherland to help tell .

In July of 1644, a woman named Elary Crol arrived in New Amsterdam aboard a ship called the Blauwen Haen. Elary was also called Elara or Hillary or Helena, and even sometimes referred to as “Swartinne”, which means “lovely dark woman”. Her surname, written alternatively as Crioole, Creole, or Criolyo, indicates she was of mixed African, European, and possibly Indigenous ancestry. She had been enslaved in Brazil by a Portuguese man named Juan Antonio, before being purchased by Dutch Captain Jan de Vries.

De Vries had come to New Netherland from Curacao, along with 150 soldiers in his command, to fight for the Dutch settlers in their war against the Lenape Native Americans. While initially relieved to receive the reinforcements, Director Willem Kieft’s attitude towards De Vries turned cold when the Captain defied social conventions of New Netherland. De Vries was white and his status as Captain garnered respect amongst the Dutch settlers, yet he befriended free and enslaved Blacks, as well as Native Americans, and openly criticized Kieft and his policies.

But to most New Netherlanders, the most shocking thing about De Vries was probably his relationship with Elary. The pair had two children together; their first son, Jochem, died in infancy, but their second son, Jan de Vries II, survived to adulthood. De Vries treated Elary as his wife, and while no record of their marriage has been found, the baptismal records for their children indicate that these were not illegitimate births, thus the pair appears to have been considered legally married.

While in*******al relationships were not unheard of in New Netherland, it was rare for this to occur openly, and even more rare for such a pairing to be legally recognized. According to Kieft, de Vries was “[cultivating] the friendship and society of some dangerous persons, enemies of the Company’s welfare” and generally “leading a scandalous life, highly dangerous in this infant republic”. Kieft and his allies tried to punish De Vries by going after Elary, claiming that she had been purchased illegally and was therefore the rightful property of the Company. Luckily, De Vries had kept her paperwork in order, and their lawsuit was unsuccessful.

In 1647, only a month after their second son was baptized, De Vries died at sea. He had been sailing to the Netherlands aboard The Princess Amelia, which had sunk off the coast of Wales. It had been carrying the now ex-Director Kieft along with a number of men planning to testify against him regarding his disastrous leadership of the colony.

De Vries did not leave a will, but did empower two of his friends to take care of Elary and several other free Black people in his employ while he was away. The newly widowed Elary found support and friendship among the Black community on Manhattan. She later remarried to Lovijse van Angola, a Black man who had been born in the colony to enslaved parents. The two had triplets; Lucretia, Elisabeth, and Anthony Lovijse. A few decades later, Lovijse had apparently passed away, as Elary married her third husband, Pieter Tamboer van Kampen in 1682 while living at the Bowery in Eastern Manhattan. Pieter was also Black, and had been enslaved by the Dutch West India company before receiving a land grant in 1647.

While Elary’s date of birth and date of death are unknown, a conservative estimate says she lived at least 54 years, with 38 of those years being spent in New Netherland. At least two of her children lived to adulthood and found spouses among the Black community of Manhattan, and Elary lived long enough to see at least two of her grandchildren.

Image: detail from Venus at her Toilet , by Peter Paul Rubens, c. 1613-1614

“Remember me while reading this over, just as I, while writing this, and always, think of [you]”. This is just one of ma...
02/14/2024

“Remember me while reading this over, just as I, while writing this, and always, think of [you]”. This is just one of many endearments written by Kiliaen van Rensselaer in 1615 to his soon-to-be first wife Hillegonde van Bijler. For this year we would like to share some excerpts from the love letters of the First Patroon of Rensselaerswyck.

The Dutch at the time believed that marriage should be based in companionship, but this marriage would also have been a sound business decision. Most merchants would want to increase their wealth, and one way to do so was to keep business in the family; thus marrying one’s cousin was not uncommon. Not only would Hillegonde bring a significant dowry to her marriage, but her recently deceased guardian Wolfert van Bijler, had been a mentor and business partner to Kiliaen. Wolfert was also an uncle to both of them.

When writing to Hillegonde, Kiliaen lists many practical reasons for their pairing. Kiliaen lists their mutual “religion and faith”, their being blessed in “resources and goods”, and the assumed approval of their deceased uncle were reasons they would make successful partners.

His reasons for their marrying are not solely pragmatic. He also credits the ”pleasure and joy in [her] person” and writes with a great amount of affection. At one point he writes, “[I] immediately annul and undo the common saying ”far out of sight, far out of the heart,”…as far as I am concerned, this does not apply to me, and on your end, I trust that your honor, at least in [your] prayers for the traveling people will think of me too…I wished that [you] were longing as much for my arrival as I am longing for my homecoming, and that your honor accept this letter with as much fondness as I dedicated to it”.

29-year-old Kiliaen married 17-year-old Hillegonde during the summer of 1616. They were married until Hillegonde’s death 10 years later after the birth of their third child, Maria, who also passed away shortly thereafter.

Further reading: Explorers, Fortunes, and Love Letters: A Window on New Netherland Ed. Martha Dickinson Shattuck
Kiliaen Van Rensselaer (1586-1643): Designing a New World by Janny Venema

Image: Portrait of a Young Married Couple, Jacob Jordaens, c. 1615-1620

Happy  ! Image: Curiosity, Gerard ter Borch, c. 1660-1662
02/13/2024

Happy !

Image: Curiosity, Gerard ter Borch, c. 1660-1662

Happy  !Image: Game and Vegetable Sellers, after Theodoor Rombouts, 17th century
02/12/2024

Happy !

Image: Game and Vegetable Sellers, after Theodoor Rombouts, 17th century

Today is  ! Did you know that the Dutch are often credited with the invention of the telescope? In 1608 a German-Dutch s...
02/11/2024

Today is ! Did you know that the Dutch are often credited with the invention of the telescope?

In 1608 a German-Dutch spectacle-maker, Hans Lipperhey, submitted the earliest known patent for a telescope he had built. Lipperhey was not awarded the patent as the concept of a telescope was a familiar one across Europe. However, the telescope or Dutch glass was recognized as being a invaluable tool for military and navigational use. Despite his patent request being turned down, Lipperhey was generously paid by the Dutch government for his device. Lipperhey’s device was further improved by Galileo Galilei in 1609.

Despite its unclear origins this invention continues to be an impactful and far-reaching tool. Various types of telescopes were used throughout the 17th century, including in New Netherland. One inventory of a ship seized by New Netherland authorities in 1654 even lists two nightglasses- a type of specialized telescope for low-light conditions!

Image: Portrait of Hans Lipperhey, Pierre Borel, 1655

Happy  !Image: Kitchen Piece, by Floris van Schooten, early 17th century
02/10/2024

Happy !

Image: Kitchen Piece, by Floris van Schooten, early 17th century

February is   and we will be highlighting stories of Black people from 17th century New Netherland to help tell  .In 165...
02/09/2024

February is and we will be highlighting stories of Black people from 17th century New Netherland to help tell .

In 1657, a “tall, quick fellow” named Andries was purchased by Jan Baptist van Rensselaer for a price of 50 beaver pelts. He had been enslaved by the family of Lucas Rodenburg, Vice Director of the Dutch colony at Curaçao, for about a decade before being brought to New Netherland.

Jan Baptist and his brother Jeremias soon realized that Andries had excellent skills when it came to horses; “[Andries] has this winter taken care of the horses alone and has done it so well that during my time the horses have never looked so fine[.]” They also found that Andries was stubborn, and they sometimes had to argue with him or punish him for not cooperating with their orders.

Jan Baptist eventually returned to Holland, leaving his brother Jeremias with instructions to sell Andries. But before a transaction could take place, Jan Baptist changed his mind, and wrote to Jeremias ordering him to send Andries to him in Holland instead, as he had just purchased a new horse suffering from worms, and could think of no one better than Andries to take care of the animal. Jeremias refused: ”it would be nothing but foolishness to try to have him serve you in a free country, as he would be too proud to do that.” Instead, he sent his brother 54 beavers to buy Andries for himself. It is currently unknown what became of Andries after this.

Image: Groom and Horse before Welbeck Abbey, by Lucas Vorsterman II, c. 1657

It’s  . Did you know that in the 17th century, a Dutch bride-to-be might receive not just a ring, but a pair of gloves f...
02/08/2024

It’s . Did you know that in the 17th century, a Dutch bride-to-be might receive not just a ring, but a pair of gloves from her suitor?

Wedding gloves were sometimes ornate and heavily decorated accessories that would be gifted to a woman from her future husband. They would be worn on their wedding day and removed at the end of the ceremony, when the newly married couple would shake hands to seal their union.

Wedding gloves were sometimes depicted in their marriage portraits, another tradition that became popular in the seventeenth century. The portraits shown here show a couple in their finest clothing including a pair of beautifully embroidered and highly embellished gloves held in the hand of newly married Aletta Hanemans.

Images:
Portrait of Aletta Hanemans, Frans Hals, 1625
Portrait of Jacob Olycan, Frans Hals, 1625
Interior of Saint Laurence’s Church in Rotterdam, Anthonie de Lorme, 1669

It’s   today. Did you know that roses are the official state flower of New York State, and the official national flower ...
02/07/2024

It’s today. Did you know that roses are the official state flower of New York State, and the official national flower of the United States? It’s true!

Some species of rose are indigenous to North America, such as the Carolina rose and the Virginia rose, while others were introduced within the last few centuries. 17th century New Netherland colonist Adriaen van der Donck shared that, “the flowers taken [to New Netherland] by the Hollanders include white and red roses of various types”.

Image: Floral Still Life, by Jan Davidsz de Heem, c. 1640

When Crailo was restored in the 1930's, the existing windows were replaced with these diamond patterned leaded panes rem...
02/06/2024

When Crailo was restored in the 1930's, the existing windows were replaced with these diamond patterned leaded panes reminiscent of a colonial style which was popular in the 17th and 18th centuries. However, the diamond pattern was mostly associated with English architecture. Being the home of a wealthy Dutch family, Crailo probably originally featured rectangular patterned window panes according to the Dutch style. While our windows might not be the most accurate feature at Crailo, we still think they look lovely!

Families have been sharing business and personal advice for centuries! For proof, just look to the correspondence of Jer...
02/05/2024

Families have been sharing business and personal advice for centuries! For proof, just look to the correspondence of Jeremias van Rensselaer. Jeremias (1631-1674) often wrote to his mother, Anna van Wely (1601-1670), in the Netherlands to discuss family events, share inventories, or even just to replace shirts that were permanently “borrowed” by his siblings! In February of 1659, Anna van Wely shared her thoughts on her sons recent difficulties, which included some blunt criticism:

“Further, I see from your letter of June 3d that you have much bad luck both with the merchandise and with your cattle, for which I am sorry. I wish that it were otherwise and the best advice I can give is that you question yourself and examine whether it is not your own fault and whether, perhaps, you are not serving God as you should. I understand from your brother that he has urged you several times to become a member of God’s church, but that he has not been able to induce you to do so, because you wish to have a freer rein and to indulge in greater dissipation in this corrupt world, which grieves me exceedingly. […] Therefore, let the fear of the Lord be planted in your heart, for that is the beginning of all wisdom, and as you now occupy the place of the patroon, you have the utmost need of wisdom and good judgment. Therefore, see to it that you conduct yourself honorably among the people and not indulge in excessive eating and drinking, in order that you may earn praise and a good reputation.”

Image: View of Oudezijds Voorburgwal with the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam, by Jan van der Heyden, c. 1670
Portrait of a Woman, by Frans Hals, c 1640

February 4th is  ! Soups and stews were popular ways to prepare food in the 17th century. This recipe for stewed chicken...
02/04/2024

February 4th is ! Soups and stews were popular ways to prepare food in the 17th century. This recipe for stewed chicken comes from a 1683 Dutch cookbook called “The Sensible Cook”, translated by Peter G. Rose:

“To stew a Hen with Greens:
Take a good Hen which has been cleaned well, boil it with some pieces of Mutton and a little Salt. When it is half done add in a stewing pan some sausages or small meatballs, also a good handful of Endive, Salad greens, and Cellery also Asparagus. Especially do not forget the Butter.”

Image: A Mother Feeding Porridge to her Child, Quiringh Gerritsz. van Brekelenkam, 1653 - 1655

Happy  !Image: Peasant Interior with an Old Flute Player, by Louis Le Nain, c. 1642
02/03/2024

Happy !

Image: Peasant Interior with an Old Flute Player, by Louis Le Nain, c. 1642

Today is  ! For the most part, this holiday is only celebrated in North America, but did you know that it actually has E...
02/02/2024

Today is ! For the most part, this holiday is only celebrated in North America, but did you know that it actually has European origins?

The holiday developed from a Christian holiday called Candlemas which takes place on February 2nd and commemorates the presentation of Jesus at the Temple. According to folk tradition in some regions of Europe, one could predict the length of winter on Candlemas by observing the behavior of hibernating mammals. Usually they would look to badgers, though sometimes hedgehogs, bears, or foxes were observed instead. If the creature emerged from its den to find a sunny day and cast a shadow, it would predict a longer winter.

By the end of the 17th century, German immigrants had begun settling in Pennsylvania, and brought the weather-predicting traditions with them. With badgers relatively scarce, they picked a far more abundant local animal, the groundhog, to look to for insight. By the mid 19th century the Groundhog Day tradition was solidified in Pennsylvania, and began to be celebrated in other parts of North America.

Image: Photo by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren, 2019, via wikimedia

Today is  ! Some of the most popular candies in the 17th century were comfits. In the Netherlands, they were also called...
02/01/2024

Today is ! Some of the most popular candies in the 17th century were comfits. In the Netherlands, they were also called kapittelstokken (literally “chapter stick”, in reference to sticks which were used as bookmarks when reading the Bible). These candies were made by glazing small nuts, fruits, seeds, or spices in a hard sugar coating. Popular types included anise, caraway, and ginger.

Image: Still Life with Bread and Sweetmeats, by Georg Flegel, c. 1633-1636

Happy  ! The chocolate plant, Theobroma cacao, has been consumed as a beverage called xocōlātl for thousands of years by...
01/31/2024

Happy ! The chocolate plant, Theobroma cacao, has been consumed as a beverage called xocōlātl for thousands of years by the Maya and Aztec people of Central America. When Spanish colonizers learned about this drink in the 16th century, they eagerly began to export it back to Europe as a luxurious delicacy. The drink became even more decadent with the addition of ingredients like sugar and milk, and it became so popular by the 17th century that chocolate houses opened in many areas of Europe to distribute the drink. Since then people have developed countless ways to enjoy chocolate- but drinking it in the form of hot chocolate remains a very popular treat!

Image: A Lady And A Child Drinking Chocolate, Together With A Black Maidservant, attributed to French School, c. 1700

For this artifact spotlight we’re focusing on one of the most iconic architectural features at Crailo: our gunports. Cra...
01/30/2024

For this artifact spotlight we’re focusing on one of the most iconic architectural features at Crailo: our gunports.

Crailo (sometimes known as Fort Crailo) was never a military fort, but rather a fortified home. Several gunports were added to the structure by Johannes van Rensselaer (also called John van Rensselaer, 1708-1783) in the 1740’s when the region was threatened by raids during the French and Indian Wars. French troops and their Native allies had already attacked several settlements near Albany. One such raid happened on May 12 of 1746, at the home of Barent van Iveren only a mile and a half northeast of Crailo; several people were killed, including Barent, his brother Jacob, his brother-in-law Martinus van Alstyne, and a man enslaved by Johannes. A second enslaved man was missing after the attack.

Evidently the incident drove Johannes to increase his home’s security. Days after the attack on Van Iveren, he hired 11 soldiers from the militia to act as armed guards. It is likely that these soldiers were the ones who installed the gunports, also called “loopholes”. They are carved from non-native sandstone, each measuring thirteen by thirteen inches. There is also archeological evidence of a palisade having been built around the property. It is unclear whether guns were ever actually fired from Crailo’s gunports, but the features certainly served as a visual deterrent to potential threats, indicating that the home was protected and that the protectors were armed.

Over the following centuries, several of the gunports were removed when additions and other changes were made to the house. Today, five of the gunports can still be seen from the outside of the structure, and the interior side of a gunport can be seen from the inside of the house in one of our exhibit spaces.

Today is  ! If a 17th century tavernkeeper wanted a game to impress (and confuse) their guests, they might invest in a p...
01/29/2024

Today is ! If a 17th century tavernkeeper wanted a game to impress (and confuse) their guests, they might invest in a puzzle jug. These strange vessels presented quite a challenge to the average tavern goer- how was one to drink from the perforated jug without spilling a drop of the beverage inside? Anyone who tried to pour the drink would end up with a lap full of beer.

Puzzle jugs were crafted by highly skilled potters. Many variations on the form existed -some of them very elaborate- and each vessel might have a unique solution. Usually the secret was to cover a particular hole which allowed the drink to be sucked through a certain opening like a straw.

Did you know that January is  ? Both of these veggies were commonly found in the gardens of New Netherland's colonists.I...
01/28/2024

Did you know that January is ? Both of these veggies were commonly found in the gardens of New Netherland's colonists.

Image: Still Life with Asparagus and Artichoke, by Adriaen Coorte, c. 1693-1695

Happy  !Image: Children Playing with a cat, by Jan Miense Molenaer, c. 1628
01/27/2024

Happy !

Image: Children Playing with a cat, by Jan Miense Molenaer, c. 1628

Today is  . Just like today, in the 17th century picking the right partner was an important decision. Most colonists got...
01/26/2024

Today is . Just like today, in the 17th century picking the right partner was an important decision. Most colonists got married in their early twenties, and a good match would be someone with a good head for business and other skills that could benefit the household. With luck, one’s spouse would be a beloved companion for many years to come.

Image: Portrait of Jan Rijcksen and his Wife G***t Jans, by Rembrandt, c. 1633

Today is  ! How well does your outfit match?Image: Two Jesters Mocking Each Other in a Landscape , by Pieter Breughel I,...
01/25/2024

Today is ! How well does your outfit match?

Image: Two Jesters Mocking Each Other in a Landscape , by Pieter Breughel I, c. 1620s

Happy  ! 😂Images: Woman tuning a Lute, by Gerard van Honthorst, c.  1624Laughing Musician with a Violin Under his Arm, b...
01/25/2024

Happy ! 😂

Images: Woman tuning a Lute, by Gerard van Honthorst, c. 1624
Laughing Musician with a Violin Under his Arm, by Gerard van Honthorst, c. 1624

It's   today so we thought we'd take a look at some handwritten documents from the 17th century New Netherland colony. R...
01/23/2024

It's today so we thought we'd take a look at some handwritten documents from the 17th century New Netherland colony. Receipts, records, and letters to and from the colony were written with beautiful script. Legibility of important documents was key, but few could resist adding some decorative flourishes. If you would like to see more, make sure to check out the New York State Archives collection of Dutch documents!

Images:
Patent of Kiliaen van Renselaer for a tract of land on the west side of the North river, c. 1630/31, New York State Archives
Daily Register of Provisions from the Ship Den Bloesemcoming Out of New England, March 4, 1660, New York State Archives
Ordinance for the recovery of wages by Indians, September 28, 1648, New York State Archives

Address

9 1/2 Riverside Avenue
Rensselaer, NY
12144

Opening Hours

Wednesday 11am - 5pm
Thursday 11am - 5pm
Friday 11am - 5pm
Saturday 11am - 5pm
Sunday 11am - 5pm

Telephone

(518) 463-8738

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