Crailo is the museum of the Colonial Dutch in the Hudson River Valley. Originally a part of the vast landholding called the Manor or Patroonship of Rensselaerswyck, the Crailo farm was named after the Van Rensselaer's estate in the Netherlands, variously spelled Crayloo or Cralo in the 17th century, and meaning "crows' wood" in Dutch.
Crailo was built in the early 18th century by Hendrick Van Rensselaer, grandson of the First Patroon. Hendrick died in 1740 and his eldest son, Johannes, inherited Crailo. He remodeled the house and added an east wing in the Georgian style, reflecting the increasing influence of the English on the Albany-area Dutch.In the late 18th century, Crailo was remodeled in the Federal style. It served as a boys' boarding school in the 1840s and later as a church rectory. Each new venture brought more changes to the structure. In 1924 Crailo was donated to New York State for development as a museum.Crailo today tells the story of the early Dutch inhabitants of the upper Hudson Valley through exhibits highlighting archeological finds from the Albany Fort Orange excavations, special programs, and guided tours of the museum.
Outreach programs to schools and hearthside cooking programs are available by reservation.
Congratulations Crailo, WINNER of the 2010 CINE Special Jury Award for the film: "Keeping Order: A Fort Orange Court Record"
A Dishonorable Trade: Human Trafficking in the Dutch Atlantic World: A temporary exhibit that explores the African slave trade under the Dutch in the seventeenth century. Currently open by appointment during the winter season. Regular season hours: Mid May – October 31, Wednesday – Sunday, 11:00 am – 5:00pm.
Did You Know? The Dutch West India Company shipped wheat and salt fish from the Hudson River Valley to Dutch holdings in the western Caribbean to feed enslaved people so that most of the land at those colonial outposts could be devoted to the cultivation of valuable sugar cane. Learn more: Visit collections and exhibitions.
Mid-May through End of October:
Open Wednesdays-Sundays, 11am-5pm.
Offered on the hour. The first tour is offered 11:00AM, the last tour at 4:00PM.
Historic sites charge a vehicle use fee and/or admittance fee at various times and locations throughout the year. A list of fees is available below. For program fees or to verify information, please contact the site directly.
A Dishonorable Trade: Human Trafficking in the Dutch Atlantic World
Currently open by appointment during the winter season. Regular season hours: Mid May – October 31, Wednesday – Sunday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Photo Credit: Detail of a 17th century Dutch Colonial Map
Sugar Works and Plantation, Pernabuco, Brazil
John Bleau c.1640
Courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library, Brown University
This temporary exhibit on the Dutch slave trade in the seventeenth century highlights both the Dutch trade network in the Atlantic and the effect this commercial enterprise had on the lives of Africans who became forced laborers in foreign lands. One exhibit space is devoted to the trade and another to the people who were enslaved. The exhibit explores the interconnectedness of the African, Caribbean, South American, North American and European trade networks of the Dutch West India Company and highlights the activity between Curacao and New Netherland. New Amsterdam and the van Rensselaer family are another focus of the exhibit.
Research and the development of the exhibit was spearheaded by an important grant from the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Abolition and Resistance and an immersive study session at the Yale Public History Institute of Yale University during the summer of 2013. Three Crailo staff members worked with Yale History professors, Gilder Lehrman Center staff, the American History Workshop staff, The Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture staff, and experts in the interpretation of the history of slavery and civil rights. Artists, curators and educators of art museums offered creative ways to interpret the history of people whose own words and objects are often missing from the historical record. Two Yale University graduate students also assisted in researching the exhibit. We are grateful for the opportunity to have worked with these talented people and for their contributions to both the exhibit and the subsequent interpretation we use at the museum to engage people in this little known, but important history.
Look for many special programs in connection with this exhibit in 2016! The exhibit will be available for loan in 2017.
Crailo Wins 2010 CINE Eagle Award & Special Jury Prize!
An idea generated by the staff at Crailo State Historic Site—to combine a 350 year old local court record and Dutch genre painting and bring them to life--has been recognized by the National CINE Film Awards! In early 2009, Argentine Productions was chosen to produce the 2 – 3 minute film for Crailo's 2009 permanent installation, A Sweet and Alien Land: Colony of the Dutch in the Hudson River Valley. The production, which took place near Pittsburgh, Pa. in a very cold studio, included two Dutch Americans, actors from local colleges, and a couple volunteers. Site staff were on hand to advise on 17th century Dutch mannerisms and costuming. While there were many tricky obstacles to overcome with the 17th century script, the most challenging aspect of the filming was the struggle to replicate the exact poses of the six actors to those of the characters within the painting.
Just before the holidays, Crailo's 2 minute and 48 second film, Keeping Order: A Fort Orange Court Record had won a prestigious CINE Golden Eagle Award. Shortly after the film recieved a second honor, the CINE Golden Eagle Special Jury Prize for Best in Arts and Exhibits—the top award of all films in this category for 2009. The film can be seen in its entirety at the museum. See a preview of the film.
An old fashioned agricultural festival devoted to all aspects of harvest time in the colonial era Hudson Valley. Harvest Faire offers seventeenth and eighteenth century music, historical reenactors, vendors, Native American and colonial demonstrations, games and activities. Harvest Faire is part of the Hudson River Ramble. Free to attend, nominal fee to enter the museum.
Discovery Days highlight a certain aspect of Crailo's history or exhibit for a fun afternoon of learning, crafts, and scavenger hunt tours of the museum exhibits. Check our websites for more details on this event as they become available.
Each November the Friends of Fort Crailo host their annual meeting and lecture. Open to the public. Free.
Meet Sinterklaas, the Dutch St. Nicholas, who will be stopping by to see if you've been good or bad this year! Crailo's Marketplace Museum Shop will be offering unique gifts for the holidays. There will be crafts for the kids, refreshments and cooking demonstrations by the fire. The museum will be open for self-guided tours. Free!
Museum open house with costumed interpreters and open hearth cooking demonstrations in the cellar kitchen. Join in the Dutch celebration of the end of the holiday season. Combo tickets with Schuyler Mansions Salutations of the Season will be available.