Virtual Farm

The Farmers’ Museum is typically a very hands-on experience offering many in-person programs throughout the year for preschoolers, those interested in artisan crafts,  and history enthusiasts. So, in 2020 in addition to being open we also had an array of virtual programs to recreate that experience at home. June through December we offered Virtual Preschool Tuesday on Tuesday mornings with a variety of staff taking kids through visiting with the animals and learning about them, doing a craft, learning about a piece of history, and so much more. Videos were shared for viewers to learn about cheese making, making bandboxes, weaving, making bread, and quilling, among other activities that happen at The Farm. On July 4th, The Templeton Players presented American Voices, a collection featuring new performances of classic speeches and oratory from throughout a broad spectrum of American history. This program, exclusively featuring local/regional performers, presented foundational American texts by Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Susan B. Anthony, alongside revolutionary contemporary pieces by Martin Luther King Jr., Maya Angelou, Carl Sagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and more! The performance was viewed nearly 2,000 times across both Facebook and YouTube. The Virtual Farm programs were all offered free of charge to the public and are available to view on our website.

Distance Learning

The Distance Learning Program had newly heightened production and support in 2020 to help alleviate the burdens placed on our local students, parents, and school districts during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Museum realized its unique ability to contribute educational programs, and because of the financial support from the community, these programs were offered free of charge. The concept is to provide lessons using our resources for teachers and parents to use. While some segments of these distance learning programs may be pre-recorded, teachers may opt for a Museum education professional to introduce the lesson and guide the class through the various exercises and tours, just as if the class were meeting in person. Via this program, Educators will always be on-hand and available to answer questions and to assist in any way the teacher desires. Additionally, we are developing Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) credit programs for the lessons so that teachers can receive state-mandated professional development credits. The Distance Learning program is well underway and is already proving to be a useful tool for teachers and parents across the state. The Distance Learning Program titled “Hamilton’s Final Act: Enemies and Allies” is in use by area social studies classes, and the “Simple Machines” and Pete Souza programming became available in the fall. Other examples of Distance Learning programs being created include “The Empire State Carousel: Another Way to Learn New York History,” “Tradesman’s Tool Chest,” “The Math and Art of Quilting,” and “Nature’s Pharmacy,” among several others.


“Beware of Influenza” Virtual Exhibition

This year The Farm had a virtual medical exhibit titled “Beware of Influenza” about the history of treating disease in Upstate New York. This exhibition was created in 2020 and reviews 19th-century medicine and the Spanish Flu pandemic as it unfolded in Cooperstown. The exhibition was available online and shared on our Facebook page. View the virtual exhibition here.






The Farmers’ Museum Collection Highlights & Acquisitions


51 digital images in the One Farm, One Decade portfolio, gift of Dana Matthews.

Lap robe with image of stag’s head, late 19th century, gift of Margaret Bornick.

Horse-drawn ice saw, late 19th century, gift of Alexander Moyer.

Book, An Agricultural Legacy: Farm Outbuildings of Central New York, 1991, by Gilbert T. Vincent, with slides of photos from the book by Richard Walker, gift of Richard Walker.

Pair of blue and white coverlets, 1837 and 1841; cast iron mortar and pestle, late 18th/early 19th century, gift of Dr. Helga Evans.

Approximately 40 digital images of youths with their animals at county fairs, gift of Wesley Bernard.

Empire sofa and secretary desk, 1830-1850, gift of Sheila Stille.

Scale carving of a beaver carousel figure, ca. 2000, gift of Michael Quigley.

A collection of photographic prints of locations in rural New York State, Museum purchase.

A collection of 145 photographic prints, 1 glass plate negative, 1 tintype,  225 real photo postcards, and 2 family albums of various sizes and locations in rural New York State, Museum purchase.


Any Documentary Collection object considered for deaccession must meet at least one of the following criteria set forth by the New York State Board of Regents Rule 3.276:

  • The object is inconsistent with the mission of the responsible institution as set forth in that institution’s mission statement and scope of collections.
  • The object has failed to retain its identity.
  • The object is redundant.
  • The item’s conservation or preservation needs are beyond the responsible institution’s capacity to provide.
  • The object is deaccessioned to accomplish refinement of collections.
  • It has been established that the item is inauthentic.
  • The responsible institution is repatriating the object or returning it to its original owner.
  • The responsible institution is returning the object to its donor or the donor’s heirs or assigns to fulfill donor restrictions relating to the item which the institution is no longer able to meet.
  • The object presents a hazard to other people or collection objects.
  • The item has been lost or stolen and has not been recovered.

Diorama of a nineteenth-century room, 20th century.

Pine cradle, 19th century.

Plowline: Images of Rural New York Collection






In 2020 Plowline has grown to over 17,500 images.

Two collections purchased this year include 460 mounted photos, snapshots, and real photo postcards, two tintypes, a glass plate negative, four cased ambrotypes, and two farm family photo albums depicting rural life in small New York towns.

Photographer Dana Matthews donated her portfolio One Farm, One Decade, a digital collection of 51 images of the Lucky Dog Organic Farm in Hamden, New York, providing an artistic glimpse into farm labor.

Local photographer, Richard Walker, donated a collection of 220 color slides taken for the Gilbert T. Vincent book, An Agricultural Legacy: Farm Outbuildings of Central New York; A Guide to Identifying and Dating Farm Outbuildings. Mr. Walker also donated a copy of the book itself, now housed in the Research Library Special Collections room.

Finally, we received a second donation from photographer Wesley Bernard. This digital collection, entitled Blue Ribbon, is a portfolio of 40 images of young farmers who have won competitive exhibitions of livestock and farm products at county fairs in Upstate New York.

Work has continued through 2020 to ensure a smooth transition into a new and improved data system, that will include an accessible website presence.

Contact the Plowline curator to request to view, reproduce, or otherwise use the images, at j.griffiths@farmersmuseum.org or by calling 607-547-1449.  

2020 Summer Gala Review – Distance Learning Appeal

The 2020 Summer Gala to benefit The Farmers’ Museum and Fenimore Art Museum was reimagined to be an appeal to benefit the Museums’ new Distance Learning programming. A mailing, that was designed by our Gala Committee and Marketing Department, was sent out at the end of June to those who have attended the Gala in the last five years. The appeal raised about $23,870 in net revenue for each museum.

The Distance Learning program is well underway and is already proving to be a useful tool for teachers and parents across the state. Currently the Distance Learning Program titled Hamilton’s Final Act: Enemies and Allies is in use by area social studies classes, and the Simple Machines and Pete Souza programming will be available in the fall. Other examples of Distance Learning programs being created include The Empire State Carousel: Another Way to Learn New York History, Tradesman’s Tool Chest, The Math and Art of Quilting, and Nature’s Pharmacy, among several others. We greatly appreciate the dedication of our 2020 Gala Committee: Jane Forbes Clark, Shelley Graham, Cory Moffat, Carrie Thompson and Lucy Townsend who were seamlessly able to change direction amidst all of the uncertainties in the Spring and develop an effective new approach. Please save the date for the 2021 Gala scheduled to take place on Friday, August 13, 2021 which will be themed around the Fenimore’s Keith Haring exhibition!

2020 Gala Donors

Alice Busch Gronewaldt Foundation
Allstadt Hardin Foundation
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas M. Barry
Marc and Elaine Bresee
Miss Jane Forbes Clark
Dr. Paul S. and Anna T. D’Ambrosio
Ms. Margaret Donahue
Mrs. Karen M. Elting
Dr. and Mrs. Douglas E. Evelyn
Mr. and Mrs. Stephen M. Gotwald
Thomas and Shelley Graham
Dr. and Mrs. Lewis L. Hamilton
Mr. and Mrs. Robert S. Hanft
Mr. and Mrs. Gates Helms Hawn
Dr. Margaret M. Healy
Allison and W. Keyes Hill-Edgar
Dr. Michael Hodgman and Ms. Meg Kiernan
The Honorable and Mrs. M. Langhorne Keith
J&S Patrick Family Foundation, Inc.
Mr. and Mrs. Todd Kenyon
Mr. Charles B. Kieler
Dr. Bruce Kramer and Dr. Laura Kilty
Dr. Reginald Knight and Mrs. Shelley Knight
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Mahon
Malesardi Family Foundation
Mr. and Mrs. Andrew R. Marietta
Joseph and Martha Membrino
Mr. and Mrs. Ryan Miosek
Mr. and Mrs. J. Michael Moffat
Mr. Tom Morgan and Ms. Erna J. Morgan McReynolds
Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Older
Mr. Robert Nelson and Mr. Van B. Ramsey
Paperkite Creative, LLC
Dr. Jeffrey Pressman and Dr. Nancy Kollisch
Mr. and Mrs. John Sanford
Mrs. Veronica Gil Seaver
Ms. Cozata Solloway and Mr. Michael Shipman
Mr. and Mrs. Edward W. Stack
Strategic Financial Services
Ms. Lucy Townsend
Ms. Catherine Tuttle
Francesca Zambello and Faith Gay