Grow: An Exhibit to Get You Gardening

Grow: An Exhibit to Get You Gardening opened in the front half of the Main Barn gallery in 2017. Also on display in 2018, this engaging exhibition explores gardening from the basics to the intensive, providing useful tools for both beginner and seasoned gardeners. Visitors learn about how they can garden—from how to start and care for a garden to harvesting crops. How-to topics include design techniques, seed saving, container gardens, and composting. The health and environmental benefits of gardening are explored as well as community gardening opportunities and regional resources. Images of local gardeners and their gardens, community and school gardens, and The Farmers’ Museum create a visual background for the story.

The exhibition was sponsored in part by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield and Bank of Cooperstown.




In August 2017, The Farmers’ Museum presented an inaugural special event, Hopsego; a celebration of the history of hop growing in Otsego County and ways that hop traditions have re-entered our lives today. The hop-centered, family-focused event was attended by nearly 800 eager visitors and brought out families, life-long learners, hop and beer enthusiasts, and aspiring hop-growers for an immersive day of activity. Young and seasoned patrons alike took part in activities steeped in hop flowers and bines. They created and wore hop boutonnieres, set poles in the yard, picked hop cones and sewed hop pillows that harkened back to an earlier time in our history. Museum Interpreters designed engaging demonstrations based on historic methods and objects including mixing hop tinctures, forging a hops trier, and cooking food traditional to migrant hop-pickers. A “pop-up” exhibit highlighted an array of hop-related objects and photography; and an early 20th-century silent film documented the creation of a hop yard with handmade tools. Specialists, Bob Allers and Bob McCann, plied their talents in traditional cooperage and contemporary pottery techniques to create beer-related storage and drinking vessels en plein-air. The day culminated with a beer tasting event featuring local craft breweries including Cooperstown Brewing Company, Council Rock Brewery, Brewery Ommegang and Red Shed Brewery to a crowd of eager testers. This successful day provided an all-encompassing experience teaching visitors how the hop flower and bine rooted our region, formed family traditions and brought us full circle to the hop yards and craft brewers of today.




Originally built in 1946, the carousel has been in constant operation at the museum for 10 years. Last year, at times over the course of the season, the ride would require more frequent maintenance to ensure reliable operation. In the fall, an independent expert in the field thoroughly assessed all mechanical components and potential wear to the carousel.

Over the winter, under the guidance of the consultant and New York State Inspector, all main components and wear items were disassembled and repaired or replaced as required to improve the reliability, safety and daily operation of the ride. The stability of the individual animals was improved by replacing worn crankshafts and bushings with new roller bearing mounting systems, making for a smoother ride. Hangers for the carved figures were also replaced with updated pole hangers to prevent animals from slipping from the mounting system.

All repairs were performed under the guidance and assistance of the consultant, with final approval from the New York State Inspector.


Main Barn Parking Lot Rehabilitation

The Main Barn parking lot rehabilitation project commenced in the fall of 2016 and was completed in May of 2017. The projects’ priorities focused on safety concerns, ADA accessibility, and aesthetics while also improving vehicle access and traffic flow. A pickup/drop off area for buses and a loading/unloading zone for deliveries were also designated. Crumbling sidewalks were replaced by new walkways and the nighttime illumination of the parking lot and walkways was improved through the use of energy efficient LED lamppost lighting.

Improvements in ADA accessibility were addressed through additional designated parking spaces, accessible curbs and walkways, and an access ramp into the museum shop. Aesthetic improvements focused on visitors’ first impression of The Farmers’ Museum. The entrance drive was formalized with attractive stone columns, curbing, landscaping, lighting and lampposts marked by colorful banners. To improve vehicle and pedestrian safety, entrance and exit drives and pedestrian crosswalks were clearly marked and a central plaza accommodates the arrival of school children and other large groups.


The Farmers’ Museum Collection Highlights & Acquisitions

In 2017, Trish Norman continued her two-year-long Curatorial Fellowship focusing on the museum’s medical collection. During this time, Trish inventoried, catalogued and documented approximately 2,000 objects. She also assessed the collection for refinement, identifying the objects of excellent quality, historical significance and/or interpretive value. She began the planning and implementation stages for an exhibition bridging historic medical collections and practices that have been deemed as risky and measures that have been taken to reduce adverse risk. The exhibit will be installed in 2018 in the Doctor’s Office at The Farmers’ Museum. The Fellowship program is supported by a grant from The Tianaderrah Foundation.

The museum was pleased to purchase a collection of New York State-made milking machines from local collector Mike Gleason. Gleason assembled the collection over 30 years and often brought them to Tractor Fest for display. We acquired 8 machines, most invented in, and all manufactured in New York State, including a Hinman (Oneida), Simplicity (St. Johnsville), and Burrell (Little Falls), all from the early 20thcentury. Given the scope of the dairy industry in New York, this is an excellent addition to the collection.

2017 Collections Acquisitions

Tintype photograph of log pulling in Otsego County, NY. Plowline: Images of Rural New York. F0009.2017(67)

Photographic print. Onion Farming in Goshen, NY by A.G. Wheeler, ca. 1910. Museum Purchase.

Photographic print. Eight women in a factory setting preparing mushrooms for canning in Hudson, NY, 1958. Museum Purchase.

Real photo postcards and photographic prints. Fifty-four objects including cider making, apple harvesting, canned goods and produce shop, Leonard Dakin prints of Cherry Valley. Museum Purchase.

Photographic print. Brooklyn Creamery photograph with a horse & carriage, ca. 1900-1910 in Cazenovia, NY. Museum Purchase.

Real photo postcards, glass plate negatives and photographic prints. Eighty-nine objects of farms in Remsen and Jeffersonville, NY, ca. 1870-1910; the Howell Milk Station at Elm Valley, NY; and photographs of a wagon works. Museum Purchase.

Carte-de-visite. Portrait of a salesman with a wooden crate of canning jars, ca. 1865. Museum Purchase.

Glass plate negatives. Twenty-one negatives of scenes in and around the village of Franklin, Delaware County, NY by amateur photographer Arthur Austin created in the late 19th century to the early 1930s. Museum Purchase.

Cabinet Card. Photograph of a teenage girl cleaning a milk can by E. L. Clark of Skaneateles, NY, ca. early 20th century. Museum Purchase.

Photographic prints and negatives. Seventy-two objects including three tintypes from a home in Cooperstown, and photos of farms in the town of Otsego, Cobleskill, Morris, and Oneonta area and fair photographs. Museum Purchase.

Photographic prints. Three images of Fred Simmelisk and Ray Renskere at their farms in Clymer and Forestville, NY, ca. 1900-1920. Museum Purchase.

Cabinet Card. Workers and family members on the Farrell farm in Ripley, Chautauqua County, NY posing with grape harvest. All people are identified on the back. Museum Purchase.

Milking machines, advertising, and manuals. Milking machines manufactured in New York State, early 20th century with owner manuals and signage. Sixteen items total. Museum Purchase.

Textiles. Boy’s outfit worn by Noel Elijah Jackson (1870-1942), 1874; and unworn dress, 1880s, both from Barneveld, NY (two items). Gift of Carol Yocum, in Memory of Eleanor Weise.

Photographic prints, negatives, and advertising sign. One hundred and forty-four images including flax processing, cherry picking, barn burning, the creamery industry and more. Photographers include J. Winton Lemen and Northern Survey Company. A large collage from the Milk Bottling Company in Fulton, NY including a photograph of the factory and dozens of milk caps mounted on a board. Museum Purchase.

Photographic print. Photograph of George Holcomb at Stephentown in Rensselaer County, NY, ca. 1925. Museum Purchase.

Photographic prints, real photo postcards and glass plate negatives. One hundred and ninety-four images including family photo albums, a panorama of Afton, NY, a general store from Rouses Point, NY and postcards documenting early tractors, cheese and butter plants. Museum Purchase.

Broadcast Seeder. Backpack style by PEARCES IMPROVED manufactured by Goodell Company, Antrim, NH. Gift of Leon Yaples.

Photographic print. Image of several teens in a vehicle by Lewis Hine, 1927. Museum Purchase.



Plowline: Images of Rural New York Collection

As Plowline entered its seventh year as a purpose-driven, mission-focused collection, the museum paid particular attention to documenting additional ancillary businesses central to the survival and expansion of agriculture. At the turn of the 20th century, agricultural advances exploded with entrepreneurs and aspiring engineers developing equipment at an astounding rate. Small businesses cropped up from town to town throughout New York State, soon to be bought up by enterprising, larger companies. The museum continues to focus on the families who advanced their small rural dairy farms creating a subtle progression toward the future by purchasing the latest equipment available while converting traditional horse-drawn equipment to tractor-drawn. To highlight the collection, the Curator of Photography wrote a series of three articles for the Franklin Register illustrating photographs recording the regional hop history; Arthur Austin, a Franklin-based amateur photographer (ca. 1900-1930) who recorded the homes and farms surrounding this small town; and the Charles Winters’ Collection which highlights 1980s farm families of Delaware and Otsego County. Through the ongoing generous support of the Gipson Family, this collection continues to grow, now with approximately 16,000 photographic objects. Each image traces the history of our ancestors through their measureless toils, challenges and successes resulting in the evolution of the agricultural history of New York State.


2017 Gala Highlights

On July 14th, Dick Button returned to Cooperstown and was joined by figure skating legends Dorothy Hamill and JoJo Starbuck, who were guests of honor at the Art on Ice gala to benefit Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum. In addition to our celebrity guests of honor, professional skaters from Ice Dance International performed live on a balmy summer evening on a rink of glice, a synthetic ice surface. As always, the evening included a delicious meal and the excitement of live and silent auctions. A special moment of the evening saw guests pledge over $9,000 of support for school field trip scholarships to the museums for local students in need.


2017 Gala Donors:

Miss Jane Forbes Clark
Robert and Doris Fischer Malesardi
Ms. Jacqueline Badger Mars
The Table Rock Group at Morgan Stanley
Mr. and Mrs. Byron F. Thomas, Jr.

$2,500 – $4,999
Mr. Lou Allstadt and Ms. Melinda Hardin
Bank of Cooperstown
Mr. and Mrs. Marc Bresee
Fly Creek Cider Mill and Orchard
Robert and Nellie Gipson
Mr. and Mrs. Robert S. Hanft
Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Harris
Vera and Pepi Jelinek
Honorable and Mrs. M. Langhorne Keith
Mr. and Mrs. James L. Northrup
In Memory of Elinor Pollock
Dr. Jeffrey Pressman and Dr. Nancy Kollisch


$1,000 – $2,499
Mr. and Mrs. Andrew M. Blum
Dr. Paul S. and Anna T. D’Ambrosio
Mrs. Karen M. Elting
Mr. Keith J. Fulmer and Dr. Terry T. Fulmer
Mr. and Mrs. Steven D. Glazer
Mr. and Mrs. Charles T. Hage
Dr. and Mrs. Lewis L. Hamilton
Mr. and Mrs. Gates Helms Hawn
Allison and W. Keyes Hill-Edgar
Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Holbrook
Mr. Gunleif Jacobsen and Mr. Thomas Jacobsen
Ms. Elizabeth Ketterson and Mr. Robert Graepel
Mr. and Mrs. J. Michael Moffat
Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Older
Paperkite Creative Communications
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas O. Putnam
Royal Chrysler Royal Hyundai of Oneonta – Steve & MJ Harris
Mrs. Patricia Smith
Mr. and Mrs. Edward W. Stack
Mr. and Mrs. John B. Stetson
Strategic Financial Services
Mr. and Mrs. Hugh K. Webster

$500 – $999
Mr. David Beightol and Mrs. Ann Beightol
Brewery Ommegang
Dr. and Mrs. Douglas E. Evelyn
Mr. and Mrs. Stephen M. Gotwald
Mr. William C. Green and Ms. Susan Green
Michon Halio
Dr. and Mrs. William Hopper
Mr. and Mrs. Tim Horvath
Ms. Michelle Kennedy and Dr. Nicholas Hellenthal
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Mahon
Morris Tent Rentals
Mr. Robert Nelson and Mr. Van B. Ramsey
James and Stephanie Patrick
Senator and Mrs. James Seward
Mr. and Mrs. Alexander J. Shields
Mr. John Stephens and Mrs. Kimberly Stephenson
Sheila Stone
Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Thompson
Dawn and Alfred Tinger
Dr. and Mrs. Wharton
Francesca Zambello and Faith Gay

Gifts to $500
Mr. and Mrs. Scott Allen
Mr. and Mrs. Mark Anderson
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas M. Barry
Dr. and Mrs. Robert E. Booth, Jr.
Matthew Brundage
Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Church
Mr. and Mrs. Randy Crissman
Mr. and Mrs. Gaylord Dillingham
Mr. Arnold Drogen
Mr. and Mrs. Avram Edidin
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Graig-Tiso
Patrick Hickey
Mr. and Mrs. Philip R. Holz
Brad Horn
Mr. Arnold Jungkind
The Honorable and Mrs. Jeffrey Katz
Dr. Bruce Kramer and Dr. Laura Kilty
Mrs. Suzanne Kingsley
Dr. and Mrs. August Leinhart
Tim and Alison Lord
Mr. Kenneth Madore
Dr. Bertine McKenna and Mr. Patrick McKenna
Ms. Paula H. Newman
Mr. and Mrs. Carl N. Olsson
Dr. and Mrs. Donald A. Raddatz
Dr. and Mrs. William Richtsmeier
Mr. John Ryland and Ms. Karen Craig Ryland
Mr. Roland Sanchez and Ms. Mary Gadomski
Mr. and Mrs. Richard Scurry
Mr. Pierce S. Sioussat and Mrs. Abigail Ross Sioussat
Mr. and Mrs. Bruno Talevi
Ms. Kerrie Tandle
Ruth Thomas
Ms. Ellen R. Tillapaugh and Mr. Gary M. Kuch
Ms. Lucy Townsend
Drs. Jay G. Williams and Hermine Williams