About The Farmers’ Museum – History and Mission

History

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.

Mission

Cultivating an understanding of the rural heritage that has shaped our land, communities and American culture.

Vision

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.

Values

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.

Enriching
Nourishing mind, heart, and spirit.
Enjoyable
Creating delightful and memorable experiences.
Honest
Interacting with openness, respect, and authenticity.
Audience-focused
Connecting ideas and actions to those we serve.
Inclusive
Embracing different perspectives and reflecting the many cultures of New York.
Innovative
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

2021 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 (November 2019, pdf)

History

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,

I am happy to report that The Farmers’ Museum had a successful season with a full slate of events and programs in 2023, and we intend to build upon that success for an even more exciting year ahead! Our 2024 season is off to a great start, thanks to the hard work and dedication of the staff and Board.

Late last season, The Farmers’ Museum,  launched the Glimmer Nights holiday light show. It was an extravaganza that attracted many more people than we typically have in November and December and was enjoyed by all! We plan on making Glimmer Nights even bigger and better this year, with new light features, free Carousel rides, visits to Todd’s General Store and Bump Tavern, which will be open for business, and, of course, the now-famous hot chocolate at the Crossroads Café! Do not miss Glimmer Nights this holiday season!

This year, the Farm offers a major new exhibit, The Buzz about Pollinators, along with rides on our much-loved Carousel, engagement with our Interpreters throughout the Historic Village, visits to our working farm and animals, and a chance to enjoy live drama by the Templeton Players. Along the way, our popular special events will be back—Harvest Festival in September and Tractor Fest in October. Last, we are bringing back our ten-year holiday tradition, A Christmas Carol!

As you can see, there is plenty for you and your families to enjoy at The Farmers’ Museum in 2024.  I look forward to seeing you during our wonderful season. We appreciate and rely on your continued loyalty and kind support. The 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!

Sincerely yours,


Paul S. D’Ambrosio, Ph.D.

President & CEO

Board and Staff

OFFICERS
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
Josh Kilmer-Purcell
Hon. John F. Lambert
J. Michael Moffat
Kevin S. Moore
James K. Patrick
Jeffrey H. Pressman, MD
Brent Ridge, MD
Edward W. Stack
Douglas Thompson
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

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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