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

Dear Friends,

The Farmers’ Museum opens for the 2020 season on April 1! This year boasts the same caliber of exhibitions and programming that draw us back to this magical place each season. Our special events returning include, the 73rd Annual Junior Livestock Show, Hopsego, Harvest Festival, Thanksgiving at the Farm, Tractor Fest, Candlelight Evening and much, much more. The Templeton Players will be back with new performances, and the Empire State Carousel is ready for you and your family to enjoy a ride. Throughout the season, our interpreters will have new hands-on activities for adults and children alike on a daily basis, and we will host periodic workshops focusing on traditional crafts.

In its second year, the Main Barn our exhibition, Brew: New York’s Craft Beer Revival highlights hop growing and brewing between 1840 and the present. Today, New York State has more than 400 craft breweries. The exhibition features objects and images highlighting the history of New York State brewing, hops, and barley up to the present day where brewers and experts share their own personal stories and processes. This exhibition is vibrant and engaging and is not to be missed!

Before our official opening for the season, Sundays in March we will be offering Sugaring Off Sundays at The Farmers’ Museum. The weekly event begins March 1 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and will continue each Sunday through March 29. It’s a great opportunity to get out of the house with family and friends and witness the first signs of spring at the Farm. We do historic maple sugaring demonstrations and there are fun activities for kids and adults scheduled from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. A full pancake breakfast including scrambled eggs, sausage, and home fries is served—please join us!

In 2020, we have a very exciting schedule planned for The Farmers’ Museum, so please make a point to visit us in Cooperstown this year!

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


Sincerely yours,

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
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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