About Us

Mission and History

About Us


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.

Strategic Plan

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.

Annual Reports

2018 Annual Report

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 (July 2013)


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

The Farmers’ Museum is now open for the 2019 season! This year boasts the same caliber of exhibitions and programming that you know and love along with some new surprises. Our special events return including, the 72nd Annual Junior Livestock Show, Hopsego, Harvest Festival, Thanksgiving at the Farm, Tractor Fest, Candlelight Evening and more. The Templeton Players, The Farmers’ Museum’s theatrical troupe is back with historical vignettes and a brand new show celebrating the 150th anniversary of our beloved Cardiff Giant! Come take a spin on “the museum you can ride on,” the Empire State Carousel, which has served as a destination for the young and young-at-heart since it first arrived on our campus. As always, our knowledgeable Interpreters are ready to give you demonstrations, provide hands-on activities, and host workshops focused on traditional crafts and trades.

We are excited to present a new exhibition in the Main Barn, opening May 11, 2019. Brew: New York’s Craft Beer Revival features objects, images, and text highlighting the history of brewing, hops and barley in New York State up to the present day.

2019 promises to be a very exciting year at The Farmers’ Museum and we look forward to seeing you here in Cooperstown!

For more information on upcoming programming, please visit: https://www.farmersmuseum.org/calendar

Email Dr. Paul D’Ambrosio

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
Alexander Charlton, Secretary
Richard C. Vanison, Treasurer

David T. Bliss
Jane Forbes Clark
Stephen M. Duff
Gates Helms Hawn
Josh Kilmer-Purcell
Hon. John F. Lambert
J. Michael Moffat
Kevin S. Moore
Brent Ridge, MD
Edward W. Stack
Douglas Thompson
Henry F. C. Weil, MD

Dr. Paul S. D’Ambrosio, President and CEO
Joseph Siracusa, Vice President for Operations
Barbara Fischer, Senior Director for Human Resources and Accounting
Todd A. Kenyon, Director of Marketing and Communications
Chris Rossi, Director of Exhibitions
John Ferguson, Director of Education

Planning a future visit?

The seasons of the year are marked at our museum with celebrations that echo the spirit and traditions of rural New York State. Don’t miss our demonstrations and cute and cuddly animals. Pick the best time to visit!

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