Tag Archives: Cooperstown

Holloween Event At The Farmers’ Museum


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bump_night_slide“Things That Go Bump in the Night” at The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown is an “eerie tour” led by museum interpreters about the shadowy grounds to hear the many mysteries and ghostly happenings that have occurred in the museum’s historic village.

Afterward members of the Templeton Players bring a classic ghost story to life. These tours are held on three nights only: Saturday, October 18; Friday, October 24; and Saturday, October 25, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Continue reading

Exhibit Highlights Native American Basket Design


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29_NA_105The Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York, presents Plain and Fancy: Native American Splint Baskets, an exhibition of baskets spanning two centuries. The art of ash splint basketry is a beautiful synthesis of form and function. The exhibition opens Saturday, August 10, and runs through December 29, 2013.

The exhibition includes over 30 baskets from the 1800s to the present day. Ash splint basketry ranges in form and decoration from practical storage and market baskets to fanciful and exquisitely designed artworks. Basket makers incorporate numerous design elements, such as a variety of weaves: checker, wicker, twill, and hexagonal plaiting. Artists also use sweetgrass and curled splints to embellish their baskets. Other design elements include dyes, stains, and paint. Domes, triangles, dots, or leaves are hand-painted or stamped with a carved potato, turnip, cork, or piece of wood. Continue reading

Hudson River School: Nature and the American Vision


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Nature_Cropsey_page_webThe Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown is presenting an exhibition showcasing over forty-five important 19th century landscape paintings by Hudson River School artists.  The Hudson River School: Nature and the American Vision, organized by the New-York Historical Society, will run through September 29.

The exhibition is part of a collaborative project with The Glimmerglass Festival, Hyde Hall, and Olana State Historic Site, the home of Frederic Church.  Each organization features programming related to the Hudson River School throughout the summer. Continue reading

NYS History Conference Features William Seward Talk


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seward bookWalter Stahr, the author of Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man, speaks tomorrow June 7 in Cooperstown. His talk, the keynote address at the 2013 Conference on New York State History, begins at 7:30 pm in the Fenimore Art Museum Auditorium and is open to the public. The cost is $5.00.

William Seward, widely known for arranging the purchase of the Alaskan territory from Russia, was one of the most important Americans of the nineteenth century. He was a progressive governor of New York and an outspoken federal senator.  As secretary of state, he became Lincoln’s closest friend and adviser during the Civil War. He was also a target of the assassins who killed Lincoln. Continue reading

Conference on New York State History Taking Place June 6-8


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Cooperstown1Local historians and educators from across the state will gather in Cooperstown for the 2013 Conference on New York State History taking place June 6-8 at the Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum. The conference highlights the latest research on New York History and culture. The conference is open to the public.

Several features of this year’s conference are of interest the general public: The keynote address is by Walter Stahr, author of Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man, the evening of Friday, June 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Fenimore Art Museum auditorium. On Saturday, June 8, the annual Wendall Tripp Lecture offers “Another Leatherstocking Tale: Susan Fenimore Cooper, the Episcopal Church, and the Oneida Indians,” delivered by Laurence Hauptman of SUNY New Paltz. This lecture takes place at 12:30 p.m. in the Louis C. Jones Center of The Farmers’ Museum. Continue reading

Pick-Up Trucks Focus Of New Farmers’ Museum Exhibit


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1922_Model T_Richard Walker_8732The pickup truck is an icon of American values and virtues: it is honest, hard working, durable, and reliable. It is also the best-selling vehicle in the United States today.  The Pickup Truck: America’s Driving Force, an exhibit opening Saturday, May 25 at The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, New York, examines the fascinating story of this uniquely American favorite. The exhibition runs through October 31.

The exhibit follows the route of the pickup truck from its beginnings when demand for pickup trucks actually preceded their supply. Until 1900, passenger vehicles were modified by dealers and buyers to create cargo wagons – replacing horse-drawn farm wagons. Continue reading

Native Artisans at the Fenimore Art Museum


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The Fenimore Art Museum welcomes five Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) artists this summer to spend three days in the museum galleries and outdoors at our Native American interpretive site, Otsego: A Meeting Place. Engaging conversations with these artists offer a delightful, insightful way to learn about traditional Native American art skills that have been handed down for generations.

June 18-20: In addition to traditional pottery, Natasha Smoke Santiago, a self-taught artist, casts the bellies of pregnant women and then forms the casts into sculptural objects incorporating Haudenosaunee craft techniques. She will be creating pottery on site and sharing its relationship to Haudenosaunee tradition and stories.

July 17-19: Penelope S. Minner is a fourth-generation traditional artist making black ash splint baskets and cornhusk dolls. Working in the customary Seneca way, Penny uses no forms for basket shapes and sizes.

August 5-7: Karen Ann Hoffman creates beautiful decorative pieces following the traditions of Iroquois raised beadwork and embodying Iroquoisworldviews.

August 21-23: Ken Maracle creates beads from quahog shells and has been making reproduction wampum belts for more than 25 years. He also makes condolence canes, horn rattles, water drums, and traditional headdresses. He speaks the Cayuga language and is knowledgable about the history of wampum and his people.

August 30-September 1: Iroquois sculptor Vincent Bomberry carves images of Iroquois life in stone.

Artisans will be in the museum galleries and at Otsego: AMeeting Place from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. During the Artisan Series, visitors can explore the extraordinary Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of American Indian Art, a collection of over 800 objects representative of a broad geographic range of North American Indian cultures. Tours of Otsego: A Meeting Place and its Seneca Log House and Mohawk Bark House are also available.

Admission: adults and juniors (13-64) is $12.00; seniors (65+): $10.50; and free for children (12 and under). Admission is always free for NYSHA members, active military, and retired career military personnel. Members enjoy free admission all year.

For more information, visit FenimoreArtMuseum.org.

Major Exhibit of American Impressionsist Masters


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A rare grouping of paintings and sketches from American Impressionist masters will highlight the summer season at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York. American Impressionism: Paintings of Light and Life, on view May 26 – September 16, will showcase groundbreaking artists including Childe Hassam,William Merritt Chase, Mary Cassatt, Theodore Robinson, John Henry Twachtman, and others. These adaptors of the French Impressionist style revolutionized the American art scene in the late 19th century and ultimately paved the way to a uniquely American style of painting.

American Impressionism: Paintings of Light and Life features 26 paintings, dating from 1881 to 1942, representing nearly every noted American Impressionist from the period. “The paint, the color, and the light in these works separated them from anything that had been done in this country before,” said Museum President and CEO, Dr. Paul S. D’Ambrosio. “They can truly be called some of the first, modern American paintings.”

Impressionism was a painting style imported to America after the 1880s. The major catalyst was Paris-based art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel’s 1886 exhibition of French Impressionist paintings in New York. Comprising nearly 300 paintings by Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, and others, the exhibition marked the beginning of serious interest in Impressionist art on behalf not only of American collectors, but also American painters.

The artists represented in American Impressionism: Paintings of Light and Life were among the first generation of American painters to utilize the techniques of their French counterparts, such as a brighter palette and the use of broken brushwork. While using innovative techniques, they were traditional in their selection of subject matter, seeking out and painting colorful landscapes, beach scenes, urban views, and perspectives of small town life. The artists had a particular interest in the way light could be captured on canvas.

“The Impressionists believed there was a lot more going on with the play of light on various surfaces than people realized, and that’s what they wanted to express in their painting,” D’Ambrosio added.

These works are on loan from several sources, including The Arkell Museum (Canajoharie, NY), The Florence Griswold Museum (Old Lyme, CT), The Parrish Museum (Southampton, NY), and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY). The exhibition will also feature Bridge at Dolceacqua (1884) by Claude Monet (Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA), an excellent example of French Impressionism that inspired and influenced these American artists.

Illustration: Provincetown, 1900, by Childe Hassam (1859-1935), oil on canvas. Owned by the Arkell Museum Collection, Gift of Bartlett Arkell.

Cooperstown: Milo Stewart Photo Exhibit Opens


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The New York State Historical Association Research Library and The Cooperstown Graduate Program has announced the opening of a new exhibition celebrating the late Milo Stewart’s work, entitled Reflections of Home: Photography by Milo Stewart. The exhibition highlights Cooperstown landscapes and portraits taken by Mr. Stewart between 1965-1992. Split into three sections emphasizing Stewart’s eye for finding beauty in the ordinary, the exhibition includes quotations from his family and friends reflecting on his work as a teacher, friend, and artist. Reflections of Home opens May 16 and is free to the public.

Developed by second-year Cooperstown Graduate Program students Tramia Jackson, AshleyJahrling, Amanda Manahan, and Jenna Peterson, the exhibit is the culminating project of their Master of History Museum Studies coursework. Guided by Dr. Gretchen Sorin, the students produced the exhibition from concept to installation. “It has definitely been a learning experience,” says Jahrling. “But having the support of the program and the Stewart family has helped make this exhibit a wonderfully collaborative effort. We’re happy to share it with the greater Cooperstown community.”

Milo Stewart discovered his love for photography while growing up in Buffalo, New York. After graduating from Buffalo State University and marrying his high school sweetheart, Ruth, he taught high school English and Social Studies and helped his students incorporate photography in their reports. In 1961, he joined the staff at NYSHA and The Farmers’ Museum as an education associate. He went on to become the Director of Education and later the Vice President of NYSHA and The Farmers’ Museum. Over the course of twenty years he taught generations of teachers, local historians, and Cooperstown Graduate Program students. At the request of the Director of the New York Council on the Arts, he took on an important project documenting architecture and historic Main Streets throughout New York. He published several exhibition catalogues including Temples of Justice: Historic Churches of New York and At Home and On the Road, a collection of photographs from his travels through New York and abroad.

The exhibition opens May 16, 2012. The public is invited to see the exhibit at the library free of charge. The library’s hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Saturday hours are currently 1 to 4 p.m.

Photo: Augur’s CornerCooperstown, New York, 1988 by Milo Stewart. 

Candlelight Evening at The Farmers’ Museum


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A special Candlelight Evening program will be held this Saturday, December 10, from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. at The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown. During Candlelight Evening the landscape of the museum takes on a magical appearance, decorated in greenery and illuminated by hundreds of candles.

Visitors can ride through the museum’s grounds in wagons pulled by draft horses adorned with full sets of harness bells. Complimentary wassail, warmed in kettles over open fires, is served throughout the afternoon and evening. Caroling is scheduled throughout the event. Saint Nicholas will be at the Filer’s Corners Schoolhouse from 4:30 to 5:00 p.m. and again from 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. Members of the Congregation of the Christ Episcopal Church will present “A Living Nativity,” with performances at 5:00, 5:20, 5:40 and 6:00 p.m. at the Morey Barn. (Seating is limited.)

There will be a book signing from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the Louis C. Jones Center featuring TV’s “Fabulous Beekman Boys.” Meet Josh and Brent and have them sign a copy of their new book: “The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook.” Copies will be on sale during the event.

An array of seasonal musical programs will take place at the Cornwallville Church, highlighted by the group GladTidings – featuring holiday music from centuries ago and also some recent favorites. Sandra Peevers, Erik House, and Diane Ducey will entertain with a variety of instruments including fiddle, guitar, banjo, mandolin, cittern, and concertina. Other performances include the Catskill Chamber Singers, the Catskill Choral Society Girls’ Choir, and the Northern Comforts Men’s Quartet. Ron Johnson will provide caroling in the More House.

Children can take part in holiday arts and crafts activities at the Filer’s Corners Schoolhouse from 3:00 to 4:15 p.m. and The Empire State Carousel will be open for rides throughout the event.

Warm up with a serving of chicken and biscuits, pulled pork, or BBQ vegetarian riblets along with gingerbread and hot beverages in the Louis C. Jones Center – located inside the Museum’s Main Barn. The Crossroads Café next to Bump Tavern will also be open for the evening.

Admission is $12 for adults; $10.50 for seniors; and $6.00 for children ages 7-12. Members and children under 6 years of age receive free admission. Visit FarmersMuseum.org/candlelight for a complete schedule of the evening’s activities.

A visit to the Museum this holiday season is not complete without a stop at The Farmers’ Museum Store and Todd’s General Store – where a large selection of handcrafted items from the museum are available as well as other seasonal favorites.

Candlelight Evening visitors should dress warmly and wear boots. Please visit our website for updated parking and shuttle information. Visit FarmersMuseum.org/candlelight or call (607) 547-1450.

‘Shall We Have Christmas?’ Farmers’ Museum Event


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Experience a new, annual event that intertwines local writings of Christmas past with 19th century holiday activities. “Shall We Have Christmas?” takes place Saturday, December 3, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown. This one-night-only event will leave visitors with a new perspective on how our upstate ancestors celebrated the holiday season and what they really thought of it.

The museum’s historic buildings will offer a a variety of festive activities including holiday gift-making in the More House; holiday foods in the Lippitt House; singing and socializing in Bump Tavern; greeting card printing in the printing office; remedies for winter ailments in the pharmacy; and decoration making in the church. In each building, visitors will hear or read a quote from a diarist or author, such as Susan Fenimore Cooper, that describes the details and happenings of an 1840s Christmas in central New York.

Here, Susan Fenimore Cooper expresses her thoughts in an entry from Rural Hours published in 1850:

“The festival is very generally remembered now in this country, though more of asocial than a religious holiday, by all those who are opposed to such observances on principle. In large towns it is almost universally kept. In the villages, however, but few shops are closed, and only one or two of the half dozen places of worship are opened for service. Still, everybody recollectsthat it is Christmas; presents are made in all families; the children go from house to house wishing Merry Christmas; and probably few who call themselves Christians allow the day to pass without giving a thought to the sacred event it commemorates, as they wish their friends a “Merry Christmas.”

There will also be horse-drawn wagon rides throughout the evening. Admission: $10 adults, $9 seniors (age 65 and over), $5.50 children age 7-12, free for children 6 andunder and for members of the New York State Historical Association. Visit FarmersMuseum.org for more information.

Upstate NY in the Civil War: Upton’s Regulars


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In 1861, New Yorkers responded to President Lincoln’s call to service by volunteering in droves to defend an imperiled Union. Drawn from the farms and towns of Otsego and Herkimer counties, the 121st New York State Volunteer Infantry Regiment served with the Sixth Corps in the Army of the Potomac throughout the Civil War. In the first comprehensive history of the regiment in nearly ninety years, Salvatore Cilella chronicles their epic story.

Led for much of the war by Emory Upton, the 121st deployed nearly 1,900 men into battle, from over 1,000 at call-up to the 330 who were finally mustered out of its war-depleted unit. Its soldiers participated in 25 major engagements, from Antietam to Sailor’s Creek, won six Medals of Honor, took several battle flags, led the charge at Spotsylvania, and captured Custis Lee at Sailor’s Creek. Cilella now tells their story, viewing the war through upstate New Yorkers’ eyes not only to depict three grueling years of fighting but also to reveal their distinctive attitudes regarding slavery, war goals, politics, and the families they left behind.

Cilella mines the letters, diaries, memoirs, and speeches of more than 120 soldiers and officers to weave a compelling narrative that traces the 121st from enlistment through the horrors of battle and back to civilian life. Their words recount the experience of combat, but also rail against Washington bureaucrats and commanding generals.

Cilella also features portraits of the regiment’s three commanders: original recruiter Richard Franchot; West Pointer Upton, by whose name the 121st came to be known; and Otsego County native Egbert Olcott. Readers will especially gain new insights into the charismatic Upton, who took command at the age of 23 and became one of the army’s most admired regimental leaders.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

8th Contemporary Iroquois Art Biennial Opening


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The Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York will host the 8th Contemporary Iroquois Art Biennial: 4 Artists Under 30 – opening Saturday, August 27. The exhibition will feature the work of four young women from the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois, Confederacy: Lauren Jimerson (Seneca); Awenheeyoh Powless (Onondaga); Leah Shenandoah (Oneida); and Natasha Smoke Santiago (Mohawk). The exhibition was organized by guest curator G. Peter Jemison and will be on view through December 31, 2011.

These four young women are influenced by their heritage as Haudenosaunee but have also sought unique ways to express their individual vision – incorporating music, three dimensional objects, castings, as well as traditional methods to bring their work to life.

Awenheeyoh Powless, a recent graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology, has incorporated Iroquois music and traditional dance steps to create paintings with her feet on un-stretched canvas – using foot movements to apply the acrylic colors.

Leah Shenandoah, another recent graduate of RIT, has focused on three dimensional objects that are across between sculpture and painting. The objects are made of stretched fabric on a wire frame to which paint has been applied as a stain. They are exhibited hung from the gallery’s ceiling in a grouping.

Lauren Jimerson, currently in her final year at RIT, uses pastel on paper to create portraiture.

Natasha Smoke Santiago, a self-taught artist who has been actively exhibiting her art since she was a teenager, casts the bellies of pregnant women and then forms the casts into sculptural objects incorporating traditional Haudenosaunee craft techniques. The bellies are turned into pottery or elaborate baskets with materials resembling splints.

Image: Pastel on paper by Haudenosaunee artist Lauren Jimerson.

New Native American Area Opens at Fenimore


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The Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, has officially unveiled “Otsego: A Meeting Place” – its latest addition to the Native American Interpretive Area and Trail.

Located on north side of the Fenimore’s expansive back lawn, the new area consists of the recently relocated Seneca Log House, a “Three Sisters Garden,” a pond, and other features pertaining to a settlement of this type in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.


The Seneca Log House is a single-family log house typical for most reservation Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) families during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Adjacent to the house is a “Three Sisters Garden” with corn, beans, and squash. Medicinal plants are grown in their natural environment in the surrounding woodlands.

Museum admission, which includes entry to “Otsego: A Meeting Place,” is $12 for adults and $10.50 for seniors. Children (age 12 and under), members of the New York State Historical Association, as well as active and retired career military personnel always receive free admission. Visit FenimoreArtMuseum.org for more information and full schedule.

Photo: Otsego: A Meeting Place.

4th of July Weekend at The Farmers’ Museum


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The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown will mark Independence Day with a special two-day celebration Sunday and Monday, July 3rd and 4th from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Each day there will be free ice cream for the first 500 paid visitors (sponsored by Huffs Ice Cream) and $2.00 off admission for everyone. Kids 6 and under, NYSHA Members, as well as active and retired career military personnel are always free.

On Sunday July 3, there will be an afternoon of American favorites including ballpark hot dogs and jazz. There will be a hot dog competition starting at 11:00 a.m. Actual ballpark franks (with all the fixings) from baseball stadiums around the country will be on sale. Featured franks include Yankee Dog, Fenway Frank, Pirate’s Hot Italian, Brewer’s Brat and more.

At 3:00 p.m., the Cooperstown Summer Music Festival presents the National Jazz Museum in Harlem All-Stars. Visitors can swing to classic jazz sounds including the works of Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman bands. Concert tickets: $15/student; $25 adult. Visit CooperstownMusicFest.org for more information.

On Monday, July 4th, visitors will experience a traditional Fourth of July with an old-fashioned family carnival, with 19th-century competitions like sack races, a rolling pin toss, and a skillet toss for adults. ($5 per person includes free skillet, contestants must pre-register). A pie eating contest will be sponsored by the Fly Creek Cider Mill and Orchard at 2:00 p.m. (Limited to the first 30 entries – contestants must pre-register). Militia Musters will be heard from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and the Declaration of Independence will be read at 1:00 pm.

Ongoing demonstrations include blacksmithing, printing, open hearth cooking, and more. As always, you can tour the museum on a horse-drawn wagon, ride The Empire State Carousel, and visit the baby animals at the Children’s Barnyard. Special highlight activities take place at select times. Visit FarmersMuseum.org for a full schedule and information or pick up a program when you arrive.

Admission to the Independence Celebration is $10 for adults, $8.50 for seniors, $4 for juniors (age 7-12). Children (age 6 and under), members of the New York State Historical Association, as well as active and retired careermilitary personnel always receive free admission.

American Modernism at Fenimore Museum


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Some of the best of American Modernist art will be featured at the Fenimore Art Museum this summer in Prendergast to Pollock: American Modernism from the Munson-Williams Proctor Arts Institute. This exhibition, which opened last week, showcases 35 key works from every major artist from the first half of the 20th century, including Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko.

Organized by subject matter, the exhibition displays the radical transformation of art in the early 20th-century. In an innovative interpretation, three thematic sections—landscapes, figure studies, and still lifes—will reference 19th-century traditions that the artworks were built upon.

Exhibition labels will refer Museum visitors to other galleries in the Museum where they can view examples of these precedents. Museum President and CEO, Dr. Paul S. D’Ambrosio, explains: “These three subject areas of the exhibition reflect the 19th-century pieces in the Permanent Collection of the Fenimore Art Museum. The interpretation itself will help bridge the gap between traditionalism and modernism, allowing the exhibition to resonate with fans of both styles.”

While some celebrated 20th-century painters built upon 19th-century artistic traditions, others consciously sought to rebel against those same traditions. It began with the Ashcan school protesting against elitism by being more inclusive with their subject matter. As the American Modernism movement grew, Abstract Expressionism liberated color and form from the description of objects, creating the revolutionary artwork featured in the fourth and final section of the exhibition.

This sea of change brought the center of the art world to New York City, shifting away from the traditional capitol of Paris. Prendergast to Pollock uniquely represents the art of this era.

This traveling exhibition was organized by the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts institute Museum of Art, Utica, New York. The national tour sponsor for the exhibition is the MetLife Foundation. The Henry Luce Foundation provided funding for the conservation of artworks in the exhibition.

For more information visit the Fenimore Art Museum’s website.

Illustration: Jackson Pollock. Number 34, 1949, 1949. Enamel on paper mounted on masonite. 22 x 30-1/2 in. Edward W. Root Bequest. Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Utica, NY.