This museum depicts colonial New Netherland history in the upper Hudson Valley. Generations of the Rensselaer family have remodeled the home, each adding individual style. Johannes, son of Hendrick, 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 again 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 the state for development as a museum.
Visitors today will find that Crailo 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.