Tag Archives: Farmers’ Museum

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

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

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

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. 

Week-long Summer Youth Programs in Cooperstown


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The Farmers’ Museum and the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown offer children week-long programs this summer with a unique, hands-on way to experience the museums. Specially designed activities allow participants to see, touch, and do something out of the ordinary.

The museums are now taking reservations for three programs in June and July, which run Monday through Friday. Program sizes are limited, so reservations are required. Please call (607) 547-1461 to reserve your child’s spot. For more information, call or visit FarmersMuseum.org.

Down on the Farm: A Weeklong Experience
(The Farmers’ Museum)

For ages 5-6: June 25-29, 9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
For ages 7-8: July 23-27, 9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Spend a fun-filled week experiencing life on a historic farm! Participants take care of animals each morning, and have different adventures in the museum’s historic village each day. Maximum: 16 children. Fee: $175 ($150 NYSHA members)

Week at the Crossroads: A Weeklong Experience
(The Farmers’ Museum)

For ages 9-12: July 16-20, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Kids love this unique hands-on experience of farm and village life circa 1845. Delve into the routine of the 19th-century pharmacist, blacksmith, and farmer. Additional highlights include open-hearth cooking, daily craft activities and a nature walk. Maximum: 20 children. Fee: $250 ($200 NYSHA members)

Galleries Galore: A Weeklong Experience
(Fenimore Art Museum)

For ages 8-11: July 30-August 3, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Spend a week discovering all types of art, including our summer exhibitions featuring American Impressionism and photography. Participants are introduced to the fundamentals of art such as line, shape, color and perspective while experimenting with different artist mediums and styles. Participants create a still-life emphasizing use of light and color, and explore photography with Kevin Gray and his exhibition of tintypes, Reclaiming Gettysburg. This week-long experience culminates with a special exhibition of the students’ artworks and a reception for their parents, family, and friends. Maximum: 10 children. Fee: $250 ($200 NYSHA members)

The Farmers’ Museum Sugaring Off Sundays Slated


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The Farmers’ Museum will play host to a springtime tradition with Sugaring Off Sundays. Held every Sunday in March (March 4, 11, 18, and 25), the event features historic and contemporary sugaring demonstrations, children’s activities and more. A full pancake breakfast is offered from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with other activities scheduled 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In the Museum’s historic village, children find activities — not homework — at the Filer’s Corners Schoolhouse. Everyone learns about spring tonics and treatments in the More House, and the blacksmith is demonstrating his craft at the Peleg Field Blacksmith Shop. Visitors are invited to have a taste of jack wax, hot maple syrup poured over snow.

On March 18 only, Native American educator and storyteller Mike Tarbell tells stories from the Haudenosaunee tradition.

The Empire State Carousel, a favorite attraction at The Farmers’ Museum, will be open. Local maple products will also be for sale.

Admission to Sugaring Off Sundays is $8 for ages 13 and up; $4 for children age 7 to 12; and free for children 6 and under. Admission includes full breakfast. No reservations are required. Visit FarmersMuseum.org for more information. Sponsored in part by Bank of Cooperstown, Otsego County Maple Producers, Sysco, and Quandt’s Foodservice Distributors.

Photo: Blacksmith Steve Kellogg demonstrates age-old techniques to visitors during last year’s Sugaring Off Sundays event at The Farmers’ Museum. (Photo by Zach Winnie)

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.

33rd Annual Harvest Fest at Farmers’ Museum


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The Farmers’ Museum’s 33rd annual Harvest Festival will take place Saturday and Sunday, September 17 and 18 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with live music both days and new activities for children.

This popular fall event brings together a wide array of artisans, vendors, performers, and exhibitors to the Museum’s alluring 19th-century setting. Guests will enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides; craft activities for the entire family; artisan demonstrations; and an abundance of delicious foods from the season’s harvest including samples of McCadam/Cabot cheese, roasted corn, baked goods, ice cream, and more. You can even try out wood planes, hand drills, and other antique tools from their large collection.

This year, the Museum again welcomes members of the Southern Tier Alpaca Association. Owners and breeders will display their animals and participate in numerous activities throughout the weekend.

Children will enjoy agricultural activities that include building a haystack; corn shelling and grinding; apple cider pressing demonstrations; ropemaking; apple bobbing; and 19th-century games in the schoolhouse. Not to mention the alpaca and canine agility courses.

Witness or take part in the excitement of an old-time pie eating contest – both Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 p.m., sponsored by the Fly Creek Cider Mill and Orchard.

Over 25 vendors and artisans will supply everything the season has to offer including beeswax candles, shaker oval boxes, early American tinware, baskets, Windsor chairs, and more – with demonstrations of soap making and woodworking.

Tap your toes the sounds of “Clemens Tradition,” an old time fiddle and classic country music group based in Osceola, New York, featuring the 2002 New York State Inductee to the North American Fiddler’s Hall of Fame and Museum – Jackie Hobbs and other special guests. They will perform in the Cornwallville Church, located in the center of the Museum’s historic village, each day at 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m. The shows are free with paid admission to the event.

See the winners from this year’s Junior Livestock Show as they make their way through the Museum’s historic village during the Parade of Champions – both days at 1:00 p.m.

To view a full listing of all the event’s activities, see our schedule online at FarmersMuseum.org/harvest.

Sponsored by KeyBank and McCadam/Cabot Cheese. Supported in part by the Southern Tier Alpaca Association and the Fly Creek Cider Mill and Orchard. This event is made possible withpublic funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.

Admission to the event: $12 adults (13+), $10.50 seniors (65+), $6 children(7-12), children 6 and under and members of the New York State Historical Association are free. For more information on any of our programs, visit FarmersMuseum.org/harvest.

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.

Farmers’ Museum Exhibit: New York’s Good Eats!


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Do the words “Buffalo Wings” make your mouth water or do you prefer Shredded Wheat? Either way, you can thank New York State for bringing you both of these foods and many others as well. A new exhibition at The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown tells the story of the foods that got their start in New York State. New York’s Good Eats! Our Fabulous Foods opens this Saturday, May 28th.

Several foods commonly eaten everyday across the nation were invented or first produced in New York State. Buffalo wings and potato chips are probably the most famous, but Thousand Island dressing was also created in the Empire State, and celery was first commercially farmed here. The exhibition will profile over a dozen foods – everything from Jell-O to Lifesavers to ice cream sundaes.

“New York has a rich agricultural and culinary history,” says Museum Curator Erin Richardson. “The whole family will enjoy learning about their favorite foods, discovering how they got their start, how they’ve changed, and the impact they have had.” In addition to fun food facts, New York’s Good Eats! will showcase important objects and artifacts, such as the oldest known tomato ketchup recipe, classic Jell-O molds, and an original packing crate for Shredded Wheat.

This new exhibition promises to be popular—not only because of the topic, but also because of how it is designed. “The Farmers’ Museum has developed an innovative, hands-on approach to engage visitors of all ages with this exhibition,” says Richardson. “From recipe sharing to an interactive family guide to trivia quizzes and coloring stations, there is something fun for everyone.”

New York’s Good Eats! Our Fabulous Foods opens Memorial Day Weekend on Saturday, May 28th in the Main Barn of The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. The exhibition will run through October 2012. It is sponsored in part by Price Chopper, The Tianederrah Foundation, WMHT, Savor New York, and The New York State Council on the Arts. Visit FarmersMuseum.org for more information.

Illustration: The Saratoga Specialties Company makes potato chips according to the original recipe used by George Crum. The chips are made by hand and packaged in replica Moon’s Lake House take-out boxes. Ccourtesy of Saratoga Specialties Company.

Grants for School Travel to Cooperstown Museums


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The Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, New York, have received a donation from KeyBank for $5,000. The gift was given to support travel grant opportunities that will cover transportation costs for fourth grade students, in Otsego County and the surrounding region, planning to visit the Museums. These grants will pay partial or total transportation costs depending on the school’s location and need.

The programs are currently available for the fourth grade only. For Otsego County fourth grade students, both bussing and admissions can be covered by this grant. For students outside of Otsego County, NYSHA is offering matching grants to PTOs or schools who are providing most of the costs of the field trips.

“We know that school budgets are tighter than ever, and we thank KeyBank for their part in supporting this much needed program to bring students to our museums,” said John Buchinger, Associate Director of Education at the New York State Historical Association and The Farmers’ Museum.

Summer Kids Program at Farmers Museum


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The Farmers’ Museum, one of the nation’s premier rural history museums, is currently recruiting for this summer’s Young Interpreter program. Boys and girls between the ages of 12 to 14, as of May 1st, are invited to apply by May 15th.

Young Interpreters have the opportunity to work in various selected sites throughout The Farmers’ Museum including: Peleg Field Blacksmith Shop, Lippitt Farmhouse, Dr. Thrall’s Pharmacy, The Middlefield Printing Office, Todd’s General Store, the Children’s Barnyard, or developing spinning and weaving skills. “This program is so popular because the boys and girls who participate enjoy working one-on-one with our experienced staff to learn new and unique skills,” says program manager Gwen Miner. “Plus, the leadership and presentation skills they gain over the summer are life-long benefits.”

A limited number of students will be accepted for the program; the application process is competitive. To apply, submit by May 15th a one to two page letter expressing your interest and reasons for wanting to be a Young Interpreter, as well as, an explanation of which apprenticeship you would like and why. Mail to: Young Interpreter Program, The Farmers’ Museum, P.O. Box 30, Cooperstown, NY 13326. Letters of reference are not necessary.

A committee of museum staff will review the applications. Applicants will be chosen based on their commitment and interest, maturity, willingness to learn, and ease with the public.

Young interpreters are expected to work one day a week for a period of eight weeks, beginning the last week in June and ending the last week in August. Students applying for the Young Interpreter Program must have parental permission and transportation to the Museum during the course of the program.

The program takes place at The Farmers’ Museum, a premier rural history museum established in 1943. The Museum presents the trades and crafts common to ordinary people of rural 19th-century New York State in its historic village and farmstead.

Farmers’ Museum Spring Workshops Begin


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Beginning April 9, The Farmers’ Museum will offer a series of spring workshops on topics ranging from making the freshest butter to blacksmithing. These fun, hands-on workshops will not only give you opportunities to learn new, novel skills, but will also feature current trendy hobbies—like heirloom gardening and raising chickens.

Discount pricing for NYSHA members. All workshops are held at The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown. Registration is required. For more information and reservations, please call Sara Evenson at (607) 547-1461. Find more information at FarmersMuseum.org.

2011 Spring Schedule

Gardening with Heirloom Vegetables

April 9, 10 am – 2 pm / Fee: $40 non-members; $35 NYSHA members

Learn about heirloom variety vegetables and how to grow them in your own gardens. You will help set up a hot frame in one of the museum’s gardens and plant it with heirloom seeds. You’ll also take a visit to the Lippitt Farmhouse to see and learn about differentmethods of vegetable storage. Other topics, including seed propagating and cloning, will also be covered during the workshop.

Happy Healthy Hen House

April 16, 9 am – 1 pm / Fee: $40 non-members; $35 NYSHA members

This half-day workshop will introduce participants to techniques and information about the care and housing of chickens. Learn both about historic and contemporary methods of breed selection, nutrition, housing, management and general care for raising your own backyard flock. Come prepared to work in The Farmers’ Museum’s barnyard.

Introduction to Blacksmithing

April 16-17, 9 am – 4 pm / Fee: $150 non-members; $140 NYSHA members

This class covers the core skills of blacksmithing. Try out blacksmithing for the first time, or expand your existing skills under the supervision of our master blacksmith. Practice managing a coal fire and forging skills such as drawing out, bending, twisting, and punching. Projects include making decorative hooks, fireplace tools, nails, and hanging brackets. No previous experience is necessary. (Fee includes materials and information packet.)

Intermediate Blacksmithing

May 5-6, 9 am – 4 pm / Fee: $150 non-members; $140 NYSHA members

This class requires students who already have core blacksmithingskills. Work with more complex forging projects. Skills practiced include hot punching, mortise and tennon joints, forge welding, and reproduction of historic ironwork. Students should have taken Blacksmithing 1 or have prior permission of the instructor. (Fee includes materials and information packet.)

Spring Beekeeping

May 7, 9 am – 1 pm / Fee: $40 non-members; $35 NYSHA members

Are you interested in learning about the ancient art and science of beekeeping? This hands-on workshop will introduce you to the fundamentals of keeping bees. We will discuss the different ways to get started as a beekeeper and prepare you for the tasks involved. You will also learnsome of the history and folklore of beekeeping.

In the Medicine Cabinet

May 14, 10 am – 1 pm / Fee: $40 non-members; $35 NYSHA members

This workshop will cover growing, harvesting, and wild crafting of about fifteen herbs. In addition, instruction will be given for producing medical preparations from the various herbs. Preparations will include oils (hot and cold infused), ointments, compresses, tinctures, infusions, and decoctions.

Intermediate Blacksmithing

May 21-22, 9 am – 4 pm / Fee: $150 non-members; $140 NYSHA members

This class requires students who already have core blacksmithingskills. Work with more complex forging projects. Skills practiced include hot punching, mortise and tennon joints, forge welding, and reproduction of historic ironwork. Students should have taken Blacksmithing 1 or have prior permission of the instructor. (Fee includes materials and information packet.)

Introduction to Blacksmithing

June 9-10, 9 am – 4 pm / Fee: $150 non-members; $140 NYSHA members

This class covers the core skills of blacksmithing. Try out blacksmithing for the first time, or expand your existing skills under the supervision of our master blacksmith. Practice managing a coal fire and forging skills such as drawing out, bending, twisting, and punching. Projects include making decorative hooks, fireplace tools, nails, and hanging brackets. No previous experience is necessary. (Fee includes materials and information packet.)

Udder to Butter

June 11, 8 am – 12 pm / Fee: $40 non-members; $35 NYSHA members

Join the farm staff in a unique opportunity to participate in the process of transforming milk into butter. We will start in the barn where you will try your hand at milking the cow and end in the kitchen enjoying our freshly made butter on toast. Participants will separate cream and churn butter using historic and contemporary methods.

This post is brought to you by Cheap Flights to New York.

New President of Farmers’ Museum, NYSHA


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The election of Dr. Paul D’Ambrosio as President of The Farmers’ Museum/New York State Historical Association was announced yesterday by Jane Forbes Clark, Chairman of The Farmers’ Museum, Inc. and Dr. Douglas E. Evelyn, Chairman of The New York State Historical Association, effective April 1, 2011.

Dr. D’Ambrosio succeeds D. Stephen Elliott as President and C.E.O. Mr. Elliott, who served nearly six years as President, has been appointed Director and Chief Executive Officer of The Minnesota Historical Society.

In a joint statement, Jane Forbes Clark and Douglas Evelyn said, “although we are sorry that Steve Elliott is leaving Cooperstown after six very productive years, we have a most capable successor in Paul D’Ambrosio. Paul’s leadership, experience and creativity have been on ample display at The Farmers’ Museum and The Fenimore Art Museum, and we are fortunate to have such a worthy and skilled museum professional within our ranks to promote to our highest administrative position.”

Mr. Elliott stated that “it has been an honor to work with the very capable and dedicated staffs of the New York State Historical Association and The Farmers’ Museum and I look forward to applying what I have learned from my colleagues in Cooperstown to my forthcoming work with another of America’s premier history institutions.”

Paul D’Ambrosio has been associated with The Farmers’ Museum, The New York State Historical Association and its Fenimore Art Museum for 26 years. He has been Vice President and Chief Curator since 1998 and has been responsible for organizing and traveling exhibits, acquisitions, publications, research, academic study and the care of objects. Dr. D’Ambrosio has also taken the lead role in the adoption of the many new forms of social media at the Museums, thereby making their collections and programs open and accessible (see his blog). In addition, he is an Adjunct Professor of Museum Studies at the Cooperstown Graduate Program, a Member of the American Folk Art Society and has served as a Museum Panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts.

A nationally recognized expert of American Folk Art, Dr. D’Ambrosio is the author of Ralph Fasanella’s America, numerous exhibition catalogs and articles, and co-author of Folk Art’s Many Faces. He holds a B.A. from SUNY Cortland, an M.A. from SUNY Oneonta’s Cooperstown Graduate Program and a Ph.D. from Boston University. Dr. D’Ambrosio, his wife Anna and their family reside in New Hartford, New York.

The Farmers’ Museum, founded in 1943, is an educational organization devoted to presenting the lives of ordinary people and the agricultural and trade processes of rural 19th century New York State; it is one of the oldest and most popular continuously operating outdoor museums in the United States. Founded in 1899, The New York State Historical Association preserves and exhibits objects and documents significant to New York history and American culture. The Association is home to The Fenimore Art Museum that features collections of American folk art, 19th century American fine art, and the acclaimed Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of American Indian Art.

Photo: Paul D’Ambrosio with students form the Cooperstown Graduate Program.

Plowline: Images of Rural NY Project Launched


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In 1960, New York State was home to 88,000 active farms; today that number has decreased to roughly 36,000 farms – a decline of nearly 60% in 40 years. In response, The Farmers’ Museum in historic Cooperstown, NY is assembling an exciting collection of original photography to chronicle and preserve the changes in agricultural practice, rural life, and farming families of New York State from the 19th century through the present.

With the generous support of the Gipson Family, Plowline: Images of Rural New York is a resource not only for the scholarly community but also for the public to learn more about the rural heritage of New York State. Cooperstown photographer and museum visitor Andy Baugnet comments, “We cannot turn back the hands of time. However, the Plowline collection will allow us to view the past and experience how agriculture left its mark on New York State’s economic and cultural landscapes.”

Plowline presents beautiful black and white 1950s photographs of New York farm scenes such as harvesting the fall bounty, maple sugaring and horse-pulling. The collection also includes important aerial photographs of regional communities, including the construction of the New York State Thruway. Over 100 lantern slides from Cornell University’s Dairy Department, which instructed dairy farmers in the 1920s about how to operate an efficient farm, are featured in the collection. In addition, Plowline highlights snapshots chronicling an Orange County farm family’s life over a 30 year period. Finally, contemporary works by New York photographer Daniel Handel document the current farming revival in Upstate New York.

In 1942, The Farmers’ Museum’s founders set out to collect objects of American farm and rural communities and to display those in a method accessible to all interested. To enhance their accessibility, the photographs collected through Plowline will all be posted online. In addition, powered by Omeka, a free and open source platform developed by The Center for the Future of History Museums, the Plowline website has integrated Web 2.0 technology. “Thus,” says curator Erin Crissman Richardson, “the website encourages user participation and allows visitors to comment on records if they know something about the history of an object or what is happening in a particular photograph. Visitors can also share items with friends via Facebook, Twitter and other social media.”

Plowline, as a collecting initiative, will be continually adding photographs and will become a significant portion of the annual additions to The Farmers’ Museum collection. “We anticipate that Plowline will be the foremost resource of images of the 19th, 20th and 21st century rural imagery,” explains Vice President for Education Garet Livermore

Hear Tales of Hauntings at The Farmers’ Museum


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During the most haunting time of the fall season, The Farmers’ Museum invites visitors to experience “Things That Go Bump In The Night.” Join museum interpreters as they lead you about the shadowy grounds and recount the many mysteries and ghostly happenings that have occurred within the buildings making up the Museum’s historic village. These tours will be held on three nights only: Saturday, October 23; Friday, October 29; and Saturday, October 30, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Museum guides will lead visitors through the darkened 19th-century village by lantern, stopping at various buildings throughout, including the Blacksmith’s Shop and Bump Tavern, weaving ghostly tales adapted from the Louis C. Jones’ classic, Things That Go Bump In the Night, a timeless record of haunted history and restless spirits in New York State. Participants will hear stories associated with the museum’s buildings as in the tale of a young ghost sighted by staff and guests in Bump Tavern and the mysterious early morning strikes on the blacksmith’s anvil.

These hour-long tours will be held every half-hour between 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Reservations are required. Admission is $10 per person (ages 3 and up). Please call Meg Preston at (607) 547-1452.

53rd Annual October Conference for Teachers


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The 2010 October Conference for Teachers will present an evening performance by historical balladeer Linda Russell on Thursday, October 21 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. She will perform From Parlor and Porch: Music of 19th Century New York at The Farmers’ Museum. This event is free and open to the public.

Ms. Russell’s performance kicks off the 53rd Annual October Conference for Teachers being held October 21 & 22. The Conference is an annual professional development opportunity focused on current issues, topics, concerns, and practices in social studies education. Each year the Conference, a program sponsored by the New York State Historical Association, attracts several hundred educators to the campuses of Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum during the fall season. This year, the Conference begins on Thursday evening, October 21, with a reception and Ms. Russell’s performance, and continues on Friday, October 22, with a series or workshops and presentations offered by teachers and museum professionals.

Balladeer Linda Russell explores the music of 19th century New York through canal songs, lumberjack ballads, parlor tunes, minstrel melodies and hymns. With hammered and mountain dulcimers, guitar, pennywhistle and lumberjack, Ms. Russell illuminates the lives of the folks of the 1800’s as seen in the popular songs that they sang.

Linda Russell is a historian, singer and actor who explores America’s past through music. Having served for many years as a balladeer for the National Park Service at Federal Hall on Wall Street, the site of George Washington’s inauguration, Ms. Russell takes her performances to historic sites, schools and festivals around the country. Appearances have included Lincoln Center-Out of Doors, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Carnegie Hall Folk Festival. She has recorded 8 albums of traditional American music.

The concert is free and open to the general public. For more information on the Conference or the evening performance, please call Tobi Voigt at (607) 547 1534. To see the full schedule of Conference events visit nysha.org.

Photo: Historical balladeer Linda Russell.

Tractor Fest at The Farmers’ Museum This Weekend


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The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown will hold what it hopes will be an annual Tractor Fest on Saturday and Sunday, October 9 and 10, from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Tractor Fest will offer visitors an opportunity to see classic tractors from John Deere, Ford, and other manufacturers – representing the growth of farming technology from the 1920s until today. The Museum provides an ideal setting where visitors can learn about the world of tractors and how they powered America’s farms.

Families will find Tractor Fest to be an appealing weekend destination. Kids, ages 7 and under, can compete for prizes in a Kiddie Pedal Tractor Pull contest on both Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. There will be wagon rides around the Museum’s Historic Village – pulled by a Ford Golden Jubilee Tractor on Saturday and Sunday morning from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon. See a “hit and miss” engine powering a grinding wheel and Mr. Whipple operating his steam engine near the Blacksmith Shop. There will also be thrashing demonstrations, rides provided by Cooperstown Carriage Rides, The Empire State Carousel, craft demonstrations and more.

Discover classic and modern tractors throughout the Museum’s grounds. Springfield Tractor will display compact tractors with backhoe & front-end loaders and Cazenovia Equipment will demonstrate satellite controlled farm tractors.

For those with a deeper historical interest in tractors, Syracuse University history professor, Milton Sernett, will give a talk titled How the Ford Tractor Changed the American Family Farm: 1920 – 1940, on Saturday, October 9 at 12:30 p.m. in the Cornwallville Church located on the grounds of the Museum. This lecture is free and open to the public. It is made possible through Speakers in the Humanities, a program of the New York Council for the Humanities. Speakers in the Humanities lectures are made possible with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the New York State Legislature, and through funds from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

Tractor Fest is sponsored in part by Northern Eagle Beverage. Admission to the event: $12 adults (13+), $10.50 seniors (65+), $6 children (7-12), children 6 and under and members of the New York State Historical Association are free. Admission to the lecture is free. Food and beverages will be available throughout the day. Please visit our website at FarmersMuseum.org/tractorfest for more information and a full schedule of events.

Photo by Frank Forte.