Historic Cherry Hill has reopened for public tours after a decade-long restoration project. 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.
The museum collection includes 70,000 artifacts and manuscripts, all of which were accumulated by the Cherry Hill household over the course of five generations and nearly 200 years.
Over the years, the weight of the collections, stored mostly in the attic, along with the wear and tear of time took a toll on the historic structure. The attic, which was intended to hold approximately 30 pounds per square foot was holding in excess of 200 pounds per square foot. Walls were buckling, plaster crumbling, and floorboards turning. Following the recommendation of structural engineers, the museum built the Frisbee Center for Collections & Research and moved the majority of the collections from the attic to the new storage space. With the “weight of history” removed, the museum was able to embark on a major restoration project to stabilize and restore the historic structure.
With grant funding and public support, the museum has stabilized the structure, upgraded mechanical systems, restored windows, repaired the roof, installed a fire detection system, and restored interior finishes.
Throughout the decade-long restoration, furnished rooms were dismantled, collections were off view, and public access was limited. Now, the board and staff of Historic Cherry Hill are thrilled to invite visitors to return to the beloved landmark, where Cherry Hill’s rooms once again overflow with Van Rensselaer treasures.
Tours will be offered on Fridays between 1 and 4 pm and Saturdays between 10 am and 4 pm. Tour are on the hour, and the last tour begins at 3 pm. Reservations are required. For more information or to register for a tour, visit the Historic Cherry Hill website.