Rensselaer County’s children have always been seen as “a valuable resource” during the county’s long history. It is often said that “our children are the future” and this concept has played an important role in the lives of the county’s children as the very idea of childhood has evolved over time to what we know today.
Our new Kids! Kids! Kids! exhibit examines the evolution of the concept of childhood as seen in the objects, images and ephemera that document this important stage of life from infancy to teenage years. Come see what you recognize from childhoods past. While you are here we invite you to think about your own childhood, as well as that of your parents and your own children, as you look at the “stuff” of many Rensselaer County childhoods now preserved here at the museum.
What are your favorite childhood memories? What have you saved that tells the story of your own unique childhood in some way? What childhood memento has been saved and passed on to other generations of your family and what is it about that object that says “childhood” to you today? Our new exhibit, When I was a Child – The Community Remembers Childhood, is now open through the end of the year. Enjoy the many items loaned for the show that will probably strike a chord of recognition and let us know what you have saved and what says “childhood” to you.
Over the past several years, members of the Half Moon Button Club and the Mohawk Button Club have spent several years researching, assessing and replacing acidic display boards and potentially damaging pipe cleaners holding this amazing collection of buttons in place. Thanks to this volunteer effort, RCHS is pleased to present the fall 2018 exhibit of a selection of Miss Ruth E. Howe’s collection. Miss Howe (1902-1982) became interested in collecting buttons after her retirement from nursing in the 1940's and she eventually amassed a collection of over 8,000 buttons, each of them a miniature work of art and history. She bequeathed her collection to RCHS along with the many button reference books she used as part of her collecting.
The button collection is rarely on display because of preservation issues, but will be available by appointment with the Curator for researchers and button enthusiasts after the exhibit is closed in December.
This exhibit is currently on display and may be viewed Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from noon - 5 pm.
Childhood Holiday Memories
Every year, The Rensselaer County Historical Society with the expert inspiration and decoration talents of The Van Rensselaer Garden Club together present the Annual Holiday Greens Show in the Hart-Cluett House. The lavish show is a Troy holiday tradition that transforms 12 rooms of the 1827 Federal-style Hart-Cluett House into a green winter wonderland. The Holiday Greens Show has been the community’s signature holiday event since 1956 and inspired Troy’s celebrated Victorian Stroll.
In the tradition of historic holiday celebration, members of the Van Rensselaer Garden Club incorporate fresh evergreen trees, greens and flowers to create an interactive experience that warms hearts, brightens eyes and fills the air with the fresh aromas of winter woods. As you wander through the house, you can sense the grandeur and elegance Troy held as one of America’s most prosperous cities in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Holiday Greens Show offers an enchanting historic atmosphere in which communities and families come together in the traditions of holiday joy and cheer.
The 2018 Greens Show runs from Thursday, November 29th through Sunday, December 2nd.
Open daily from noon - 5 pm.
In addition, Thursday night is a Free Community Night, from 5 pm - 8 pm. Enjoy crafts for Kids, a visit from Santa and much more!
New this year: Lamp Light Tours - Friday, November 30th, for Troy Night Out! Tours at 6 pm & 7 pm, by reservation only.
ALSO New this year: The 1827 Carriage House will be open with a special display of a Dickens Christmas Village that includes over 150 buildings, a train, hundreds of characters, trees and even Santa!
Free Community Night is Sponsored by:
The Children of the Hart Cluett House
26 children were born to the Hart and the two branches of the Cluett families. 22 of the children lived in the house. This tour will focus on growing up in the house, including the children’s education and their role in the community as they reached adulthood. Using information gleaned from oral histories, diaries and bills, we will regal you with stories about two parties that took place in the house, one in 1855 and the other in 1904. This tour will explore all three floors of the house.
Join us to hear two expert speakers and enjoy two gallery talks focused on the lives of children in Rensselaer County.
Margaret J. Story will speak on the history of Little Golden Books, still favorites after more than 75 years
Anne Vadney will speak on the history of Ginny Dolls
Gallery talks of our current exhibits after the presentations:
Kids! Kids! Kids! Growing Up in Rensselaer County
When I was a child: The Community Remembers Childhood
You are invited to bring your favorite Little Golden Book or Ginny Doll for “Show and Tell.”
For more information please call: 518-272-7232 x 14.
Registration suggested and begins at 9.30 am, walk-ins welcome.
For tickets, please see below:
Join us for a book signing and special one-day exhibit based on the new book, 'Upstate Girls, Unraveling Collar City' by documentarian Brenda Kenneally. Ms. Kenneally worked with RCHS staff as part of this project looking for a connection to past lives as she examined and revealed present day lives in a part of Troy that often is overlooked. Her amazing photographs, careful research and caring, non-judgmental approach to lives not often documented provide the reader/viewer with an important glimpse into a little known part of Troy and its community. As noted in the recent review by Amy Biancolli in the Times Union, (https://www.timesunion.com/living/article/Book-Upstate-Girls-portray-lives-of-challenge-13228754.php#photo-16166025) the book “tells a story of plain and complicated humanity, offering a frank lens on the lived reality of people barely making a go of it in a gritty urban patch of upstate…the book offers a window into the everyday battles of work, love and life where money is scarce and hardship is everywhere.”
**UPDATE** Due to the weather today, please meet at The Hill at Muza at 2 p.m. instead of the trail for this Rising Leaders Event. Share a beer, some info and have a chance to chat w Steven Strichman, City of Troy rep., about the D. G. Baltimore Prospect Park Trail & possibly Troy’s Waterfront as well.
Come join us (The Rising Leaders) for a nice autumn stroll on the Baltimore Trail hike on Saturday, October 27th at 2:00 p.m. We'll begin at the Lower Park entrance at 112th Hill Street between Adams and Jefferson and then will end at a local bar for some drinks. (Meet at the LOWER Park entrance at 112 Hill Street between Adams and Jefferson, North East of the Gas Holder building. Please note it is not the Congress Street/Route 2 Entrance)
The Hike Leader is Steven Strichman, City of Troy Commissioner of Planning.
The Hike will end at The Hill at Muza (www.thehillatmuza.com), 379 Congress Street at corner of 15th Street.
For more info, please visit:
Join Rensselaer County & Troy City Historian Kathy Sheehan for a walking tour that will highlight the many stores that catered to children, from infancy through their teenage years.
Troy was a dream if you were a kid. From model paints to school uniforms, all could be found in downtown Troy.
Adler’s Toy Store, Young Folks Shops, Cooper’s Shoe Store and the Attic Cellar are but a few of the stops on this hour-long tour through the downtown business district. Bring your stories for this nostalgic tour!
Illness and Death in the Hart-Cluett House
Using information gleaned from the Hart Papers and the Amanda Cluett diary we will tour the Hart-Cluett House from the perspective of 19th century medicine and burial practices that were used by the Harts and Cluetts. Discussion will include such topics as toxemia in childbirth, typhoid and yellow fever, quarantines, and burial practices. This is a tour that will cover all three floors of the house, the basement and first floor are handicapped accessible, the 2nd floor is not handicapped accessible.
The women of Troy were on the forefront of social change in the 19th 20th and the 21st century. From the earliest day homes to the YWCA this tour through the historic district will highlight the challenges and accomplishments these amazing women made throughout our history and the legacy that still loves on today.
This introduction to Troy history and architecture looks at how the city evolved from its initial founding in 1789 as a village to its 19th century heyday, decline in the 20th century and its re-birth in the 21st century. We will discuss the sites of many important events along with some of the people who made the name Troy famous around the world.
Bring your popcorn and candy for this fun tour of theaters in downtown Troy!
Sites include: Proctor's Theater, The Troy Theater, Kennedy Hall and The Troy Music Hall.
The Hart-Cluett Award
Each year the RCHS Gala honors an individual or a group with the Hart-Cluett Award. In 2018, the honor goes to...
Alane & Paul Hohenberg
Alane and Paul Hohenberg are a well of generosity to the community of Rensselaer County and beyond. Their civic commitment to improved quality of life in Troy has benefited thousands.
With over 40 years of fundraising and communications experience in the arts and historic preservation, Alane has served as Director of Development at RCHS, founded and headed the Board of Directors of the Troy Community Food Cooperative, run her own catering business and energetically served on the boards of multiple non-profit organizations in Albany and Troy.
Professor Emeritus in Economics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Paul authored many books and remains highly regarded in his field. In addition, he has served for many years on boards such as The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region, the Troy Public Library Foundation and the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. Alane and Paul are recognized for their generous support of many Capital Region civic and cultural organizations.
In 2003, with a keen interest in the well-being of downtown Troy, Alane and Paul purchased a significant 1825 brick townhouse, built as a modest example of a merchant’s house, on Second Street across from the Hart-Cluett House. Reaffirming their commitment to Troy they did extensive period research and restored this fine home. Alane and Paul are good neighbors and proud active residents of downtown Troy.
*Gala Tickets Update*
As of 8/31/18, we are SOLD OUT for this year's Gala! Thank you, everyone!! We will see you on the 20th!
20th Century Architecture in Troy's Historic District
This tour will focus on the many wonderful 20th century structures including Frears Dept. Store, the Caldwell Apartment building and the Hendrick Hudson Hotel, and Proctor's Theater.
In accordance with RCHS Bylaws, current members in good standing are invited to our 91st Annual Meeting. If your membership is not current and/or you wish to become a new member, please know that we invite you to join RCHS by clicking here:
Or, you may join RCHS Monday evening at the check-in table!
We will vote on a Resolution for four By-Law updates, recap the past year, honor retiring board members & elect new board members.
Following a brief meeting, we will open our new exhibit,
When I Was A Child: The Community Remembers Childhood
Light refreshments will be served.
RSVP's encouraged by calling (518) 272-7232 x 11, or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
**Please note** If you are a current (2018) member and are on our e-newsletter mailing list, you should have received this invitation via Constant Contact already. If you have not received your invite, we may not have your current email address. We have 'snail-mailed' hard copies to our members who do not have email addresses. If you wish to receive this notice in the future via snail-mail, please provide us with your current, correct mailing address!
Explore the sites associated with Samuel Wilson, aka Uncle Sam. In 1961 President John F. Kennedy declared that Troy was the official home of Uncle Sam, and that Samuel Wilson was the progenitor of our nation's symbol. As we explore the historic district we will explore this fascinating story of the man and the legend. Sites include Samuel Wilson's home and site of the meat packing plant that made him famous during the War of 1812, as well as the Uncle Sam statue and related sites associated with Uncle Sam!
Celebrate the Track's Dark Tuesday at RCHS!
If you feel inspired, wear your Track Hat to the Party on Tuesday! Need a Track Hat? Visit Truly Rhe's, and mention our Deck Party to get 10% off of a fascinator hat! Truly Rhe's is located at One Broadway, Monument Square, Troy, NY.
Hats NOT required, and ALL are welcome to join us for our August Deck Party on Tuesday, August 21st, from 5 pm - 7.30 pm.
Good food, libations + friends = good times!!!
P.S. Did somebody say RAFFLE PRIZES?!
Being that it is almost time for the children of Rensselaer County to go back to school, we are partnering with Unity House of Troy, NY for this deck party and are asking attendees to please bring a new school supply item such as: backpacks, pens & pencils, markers, crayons, composition notebooks, etc. Anyone who brings new school supplies for the children of The Unity House, will receive a FREE Raffle Ticket at this Deck Party!
In honor of the recent acquisition of the watercolor portrait of Peter Baltimore, join us for a tour highlighting the sites associated with the many contributions made by the Baltimore Family to the City of Troy.
Peter, his wife Caroline, and his father Samuel were involved in abolitionist, church and other philanthropic causes in Troy. Peter’s son Garnet Douglass Baltimore, the first black graduate of RPI is responsible for the design of many of the neighborhoods in Troy as well as Prospect Park.
This is a new tour!
Research for his book, Tinker to Evers to Chance: The Chicago Cubs and the Dawn of Modern America done at Historical Society.
TROY N.Y., June 8, 2018 - The Rensselaer County Historical Society (RCHS) announced today that acclaimed journalist and baseball historian David Rapp, author of Tinker to Evers to Chance: The Chicago Cubs and the Dawn of Modern America, will be giving a talk during the upcoming June Troy Night Out about his new book and the research for it he did at RCHS.
Tinker to Evers to Chance examines the pivotal moment in American sports history when baseball became the game that we know today. Each man in this historic double-play combo came from a different corner of the country, in the late nineteenth century and brought a distinctive local culture with him: Johnny Evers from the Irish-American hothouse of South Troy, New York; Tinker from the urban parklands of Kansas City, Missouri; Chance from the verdant fields of California’s Central Valley. The stories of these early baseball stars shed unexpected light not only on the evolution of baseball and on the enthusiasm of its players and fans all across America, but also on the broader convulsions transforming the U.S. into a confident, new, industrial society.
“We are thrilled to have David Rapp return to RCHS to share his stories of writing this book and using our research library to explore the history of Johnny Evers and the story of Troy in the late 19th century,” said Karin Krasevac-Lenz, Executive Director of RCHS.
“I'm excited by the prospect of coming back to Troy, where my journey on this project began, and where I encountered such welcoming and helpful people,” Said Rapp. “I'm very grateful for all the insights and guidance the Historical Society provided.”
David Rapp has been a political journalist and publishing executive in Washington, D.C. for more than 30 years. He is the former Editors of Congressional Quarterly and Roll Call, as well as the author of How The U.S Got into Agriculture – and Why It Can’t Get Out. He got his start covering Indiana High School sports in his hometown of Evansville, Indiana for the Evansville Press, Rapp then attended Vanderbilt University on the Grantland Rice Scholarship for young sportswriters.
The Troy Night Out event will be the regional debut of Rapp’s presentation on this material.
David will give a brief talk during TNO (on June 29th) here at RCHS about his research from 6 pm - 6.30 pm & again from 7 pm - 7.30 pm.
As always, RCHS admission is FREE for TNO!
About the Rensselaer County Historical Society
The Rensselaer Historical Society is a dynamic not-for-profit educational organization established in 1927 to connect local history and heritage with contemporary life. RCHS is a diverse community of people with a common intellectual engagement in the ideals, skills, and artifacts that form the roots of the region. Together, the society creates spaces, hosts evens, and promotes ideas that cultivate a longstanding tradition of shared storytelling in Rensselaer County.
Troy was a hotbed of abolitionist activity in the 19th century. Join us for a walking tour which will highlight the sights associated with African American community in the first half of the 19th century. Featured are sites associated with the Troy Female African Benevolent Society and the rescue of escaped slave Charles Nalle.
From Boot Scrapes to Cast Iron Store Fronts: Troy’s Ornamental Ironwork.
You pass it all the time, now take a closer look at the beautiful wrought and cast iron railings, facades and decorative elements that grace the townhouses and commercial buildings in the historic district!
Bring your popcorn and candy for this fun tour of theaters in downtown Troy!
Sites include: Proctor's Theater, The Troy Theater, Kennedy Hall and The Troy Music Hall.
The Rensselaer County Historical Society (RCHS) is holding a “Welcome Peter Home!” free, community-wide reception on May 30th, to welcome home a rare portrait of one of Troy’s most prominent mid-19th century citizens. The reception is open to the public and will be held 7 to 8:30 p.m. at RCHS, located at 57 Second Street, Troy.
RCHS recently acquired the historic watercolor portrait of Peter F. Baltimore which dates from the 1840s. Baltimore was a prominent member of an important free black family who came to Troy in the late 18th-early 19th century. Baltimore’s family worked as key members of the community, particularly in the area of abolition. Peter himself worked as a barber and his barber shop was a documented part of the local Underground Railroad system.
RCHS raised over $15,000 from the community to purchase the framed watercolor portrait of Peter Baltimore. Over 170 donors participated in this successful effort to “Bring Peter Home!” The original asking price for the piece was $19,500 however the owner agreed to lower the amount as the portrait will be part of a public collection and is a rare and important piece of Troy and Rensselaer County’s History.
Come join us to celebrate Peter’s return to Troy!
Please RSVP to Melissa: email@example.com, or call: 518.272.7232 x 11
RCHS will be closed from Saturday, May 26th until Monday, May 28th, so that our staff may be with their family members to honor the Memorial Day Holiday. Please visit us when we re-open for regular business hours on Thursday, May 31st!
~ RCHS Staff