Mission and History
About The Farmers’ Museum
Cultivating an understanding of the rural heritage that has shaped our land, communities and American culture.
By focusing on interpretive quality, authenticity and visible annual improvements, The Farmers’ Museum will strengthen its reputation as a highly desirable destination and regional resource (real and virtual) for adults, families, and school groups, and as a leader among outdoor history museums.
We are committed to improving visitor amenities and imparting consistency in programming and organizational performance. The staff will strive to make every interaction at the museum a positive and memorable experience.
The staff members of The Farmers’ Museum and Fenimore Art Museum combine their talents and energies in a friendly, engaging manner to achieve our missions. These core values guide and inspire how we define our relationships with each other and our stakeholders.
Nourishing mind, heart, and spirit.
Creating delightful and memorable experiences.
Interacting with openness, respect, and authenticity.
Connecting ideas and actions to those we serve.
Embracing different perspectives and reflecting the many cultures of New York.
Performing with creativity, resourcefulness, and leadership.
The Farmers’ Museum will be best served in the next several years by improving and strengthening our programs, operations, and financial position; further developing our marketing effectiveness and fundraising capacity; and looking closely at the Association’s longer-term ambitions. We must position ourselves to tackle selective capital needs and more ambitious projects by building a strong foundation, quantifying and prioritizing our needs, and developing the case for support.
Collections Management Policy
The Farmers’ Museum’s Collections Management Policy is a written document, approved by the Board of Trustees, which specifies the museum’s policies concerning all collections-related issues, including accessioning, documentation, storage, and disposition. The policy provides general guidelines that regulate the activities of the organization. It provides standards for exercising good judgment and is periodically revised to include new standards and best practices of the museum field.
Collections Management Policy (November 2019, pdf)
The site of The Farmers’ Museum has deep roots in New York State’s rural past. The land has been part of a working farm since 1813, when it was owned by James Fenimore Cooper. Judge Samuel Nelson, whose office is part of The Farmers’ Museum Village, bought the farm in 1829 and raised sheep. Fenimore Farm, as it came to be known, changed hands again in the 1870s, when it was acquired by the Clark family.
In 1918, Edward Severin Clark built a showcase complex at Fenimore Farm for his prize herd of cattle. The barn, creamery, and herdsman’s cottage designed by architect Frank Whiting in the Colonial Revival style and constructed of local stone still stand today and are an integral part of the museum. Today, they house museum offices, exhibition spaces, and public areas. The structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Farmers’ Museum opened its doors to the public in 1944. At that time, the museum had 5,000 tools and objects, including important collections amassed by the Otsego County Historical Society; William B. Sprague, founder of the Early American Industries Association; and the Wyckoff family, one of Brooklyn’s oldest farming families. Today the museum’s collections number more than 23,000 artifacts.
The Farmers’ Museum is a private, non-governmental educational organization. It is closely affiliated with its sister organization, Fenimore Art Museum.
From the President
I am happy to report that The Farmers’ Museum had a successful season with a full slate of events and programs in 2022, and we intend to build upon that success for an even more exciting year ahead! As always, your support and dedication have been an inspiration to us, and our commitment to the community and the region is stronger than ever! Thank you for making the museum a vital part of your lives as we continue to navigate our way out of some difficult times in the world.
This season, we have some changes in store. For the first time in its history at the museum, our Cardiff Giant is taking a trip! He has been requested for inclusion in a major new exhibition on hoaxes at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut. We expect the giant to be the centerpiece of this exhibition and are looking forward to him gaining many new admirers. He leaves us in August and will return next spring. In his place in the entry area of the Main Barn this year we are featuring a major new acquisition of a fully intact carpenter’s tool chest from the mid-nineteenth century, with all of the original saws, planes, adzes, chisels, and more of a carpenter from the Albany, New York area. It will be a fascinating look into the life and work of an important local craftsman from the 1800s!
We are back with our popular exhibition Growing Tomorrow’s Farmers in the Main Barn, an exhibit that celebrates the American family farm from the nineteenth century to the present and the vital effort to prepare a new generation of farmers for the future. And of course, our friendly and knowledgeable interpreters will staff several areas of the Main Barn as well as the buildings in the Historic Village.
In terms of programming, few institutions can equal The Farmers’ Museum! We have everything from daily craft demonstrations to children’s programs (our ever-popular Preschool Tuesday and Family Farm Fun!) to special events and live theater. Our special events, in particular, are beloved by the community and have been sorely missed during the pandemic. They will be back again over the course of the season, along with some big surprises in store that we will have to share with you later! Please stay tuned to our website and social media for updates.
We appreciate and rely on your continued loyalty and kind support. The Farmers’ Museum is such an important part of all of our lives, and we look forward, with hope, that this will be the best season yet!
Paul S. D’Ambrosio, Ph.D.
President & CEO
Board and Staff
Jane Forbes Clark, Chairman
J. Michael Moffat, Vice Chairman
Paul S. D’Ambrosio, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer
Joseph Siracusa, Vice President for Operations
Andrew R. Marietta, Secretary
Anthony Fasano, Treasurer
MEMBERS AND DIRECTORS
David T. Bliss
Jane Forbes Clark
Stephen M. Duff
Gates Helms Hawn
Hon. John F. Lambert
J. Michael Moffat
Kevin S. Moore
James K. Patrick
Jeffrey H. Pressman, MD
Brent Ridge, MD
Edward W. Stack
Henry F. C. Weil, MD
SENIOR MANAGEMENT TEAM
Dr. Paul S. D’Ambrosio, President and CEO
Joseph Siracusa, Vice President for Operations
Todd A. Kenyon, Director of Marketing and Communications
Chris Rossi, Director of Exhibitions
Danielle Henrici, Director of Education
Jeff Gardner, Senior Accountant and Department Coordinator