Help Bring Peter Home!

Mr. Baltimore, 19th Century Portrait of African-American Gentleman, American School," Mr. Baltimore of Troy NY." Artist Yet Unknown, Watercolor on paperboard.

Mr. Baltimore, 19th Century Portrait of African-American Gentleman, American School," Mr. Baltimore of Troy NY." Artist Yet Unknown, Watercolor on paperboard.

RCHS has been offered a rare second chance to acquire an exceptional circa late 1840s watercolor portrait of Peter F. Baltimore (1829-1913), prominent member of an important free black family who came to Troy in the late 18th–early 19th century. They were key members of the community, particularly working in the area of abolition. Peter was a barber who traveled to NY City with Rev. Henry Highland Garnet as an early anti-slavery proponent. His barber shop on First Street was a documented part of the local Underground Railroad system. RCHS uses his unique story in school programming, tours, and other presentations to make connections to our shared national history and to “recognize every face and every story.” Peter’s only son was Garnet Douglass Baltimore, RPI’s first black graduate, who became a civil engineer and designed Troy’s Prospect Park among many other important projects. 

RCHS has until April 24, 2018 to raise the funds to meet the negotiated asking price of $15,000 for the framed portrait. The original price was $19,500, but the owner has agreed to the lower amount as the piece will be part of a public collection. This portrait is a rare and important piece of Troy and Rensselaer County history.  Please consider a special gift to Help Bring Peter Home!


New Year, New Exhibit Opening for February TNO!

RCHS is very excited to announce the opening of our very first exhibit of the year:

The Art of Childhood - Selected Works from the RCHS Portrait Collection.

Strip for Newsletter Childrens Portraits.png

Exhibit Open February 23 to August 22, 2018

Formal portraits of children have a special place in the lives of the families they belong to and over the years these images become tangible evidence of times gone by.  The RCHS collection has a wonderful variety of images of children from babies and toddlers to teenagers on the edge of adulthood. 

This exhibit brings many of these works out of storage and places them together, many for the first time, allowing the viewer to see both individual faces and the changing face of childhood through time.  This exhibit is a companion to the main gallery exhibit, A Valuable Resource: Growing Up in Rensselaer County.

Last minute shopping?!

Do you have last minute holiday shopping to do?

The RCHS Holiday Gift Shop is only open for 2 more days before Christmas! We're here tomorrow (Thursday) from noon - 5 pm, and Friday as well... also from noon - 5 pm. (You may also come to shop by appointment, just give Melissa a call at: 518.272.7232 x 11!)

Here are some of the RCHS staff's favorite gift shop picks...

unicorn use.jpg

Melissa, Administrative Assistant:

24 kt gold plated (over brass) Unicorn Ornament.

uncle sam egg.jpg

Susan, Membership & Events Officer:

*Exclusively at RCHS!*

Uncle Sam Ornaments - hand painted Toleware by RM Prout.

snowflake ornament use.jpg

Karin, Executive Director:

24 kt gold plated (over brass) Snowflake Ornament.


Stacy, Curator:

Beautifully hand-knit stockings.

nativity use.jpg

Kathy, Historian/Registrar:

24 kt gold plated (over brass) Nativity Scene ornament.

You can also find some of our gift baskets at Artcentric in town!

ARTCENTRIC gift baskets for RCHS.png

The RCHS Holiday Gift Shop has something for everyone! Please shop small, shop local, and know that anything you purchase from RCHS supports our programs!


Happy Holidays to you and yours!!


RCHS is happy to share news that we were awarded an REDC Award from NYS of $361,620 to help us secure the exterior of the Hart-Cluett Historic House Museum (HCH).

rchs exterior.JPG

2018 will be an especially busy year for us as we continue our regular education programs, gallery work plus research services AND also undertake major preservation and restoration projects in HCH. These funds, which we must match in cash at 25%, will empower us to fully restore the 52 original HCH windows from 1827 and 1837, do much needed electrical updates, some roof repairs and a few other key bricks and mortar projects.

We are thrilled!

This project is Phase One of a larger multi-year $1,000,000 critical needs list to bring all three of our connected buildings up to best standards for preservation, expanded programming, energy efficiency, HVAC modernization etc.

THANK YOU to all NY State REDC decision makers and the many officials & key business leaders who submitted letters in support of our application.

Another Happy Cluett Birthday!

A fun celebration was held today in honor of Jane Cluett Hansen’s birthday! Jane is the granddaughter of Albert and Caroline Ide Cluett.  She has been volunteering here at RCHS every Friday for the last 28 years. In this 1934 Christmas photo taken in the dining room, Jane is the little girl with the blond curly hair being held by her father, Girvin Cluett.

Happy Birthday Jane!

Resized 1962-423-284 Cluett family xmas dinner 1934 2.jpg
Cropped HBD JANE 12-15-17.jpg
Cropped HBD JANE 2 12-15-17.png

Thank you!

THANK YOU - first and foremost - to members of The Van Rensselaer Garden Club, for a wildly successful Holiday Greens Show again this year! 

Many thanks as well to our generous Community Night sponsors: Duncan and Cahill, Inc., & Stewart's Shops, and to our many donors including All Star Wine & Spirits, Bella Napoli Bakery, The Halfmoon Button Club, RCHS Board Members and The Mirror Lake Inn.

And last but definitely not least our heartfelt thanks to all of our dedicated volunteers!! 

Thanks to you all for making this holiday tradition possible!

Photos by Steven Talbot (Thanks for the beautiful photos, Steve!)

Ring along with RCHS - Wednesday at Noon!


For the annual Holiday Shopping Season Kick-Off, the Downtown Troy BID, RCHS and other local organizations will fill the air with cheer, by ringing historic bells on site, and throughout the city of Troy.

Troy was home to the Meneely Foundry from 1826-1952, which cast many world-class large bells. Over 65,000 bells were made and can be found at universities throughout the Northeast US and in churches as far as Guatemala and Taiwan.

Bring a bell to ring, (Wednesday, 11/22, at Noon), and celebrate by shopping locally this holiday season!

Keep an ear out for bells all over Troy!