It was a very busy, exciting year for the Education Department! School program attendance hit an all-time high in 2015. Guided tours and workshops were attended by 8,316 students, a significant increase over the 6,841 students that participated in 2014. Museum Quest, a series of staffed drop-in learning stations at both museums that helps students explore our collections through standards-based activities in math, science, social studies, and language, also saw a significant increase in attendance with 5,279 students compared to 4,627 in 2014. Summer youth group attendance was similarly strong compared to 2014; nearly doubling to 704 participants.
Throughout the year, a concerted effort was made to closely study the impact and overall success of our programs. In doing so, we were able to make important strategic changes. We continued to offer programs that speak directly to the Common Core curriculum, which allows classroom teachers to easily integrate our educational programs into their classroom plans. In the spring, our CROP programming was re-structured away from an online, distance learning module to a more hands-on, in-person program featuring class visits by Museum Teachers and Master Interpreters as part of a new outreach initiative. Utilizing trainings and frequent communication, we strengthened our relationships with schools and educational institutions. We also forged new partnerships with The Brookwood School, Cooperstown CARES, and Springbrook and are proud to serve children with special needs.
Things that Go Bump In the Night
The Farmers’ Museum’s annual ghost tour program, Things That Go Bump in the Night, has been a favorite Halloween event in Cooperstown for years. The Master Interpreters share their frightening, ghostly encounters at the museum with hushed audiences during a lantern-lit walk of the Historic Village. This year, all of the tours sold out before the first night.
In 2014, we enhanced the tour by adding a bone-chilling theatrical performance of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-tale Heart by Michael Henrici, a Dramatic Interpreter at The Farmers’ Museum. In 2015, Things That Go Bump in the Night featured three different performances by Henrici of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories: The Raven, The Tell-tale Heart, and The Cask of Amontillado. The reviews ranged from “terrifying” to “awesome” to “utterly brilliant.” To punctuate the experience, Henrici (also a magician) performed a theatrical séance inspired by the Fox Sisters, who first introduced the séance in Central New York during the mid-19th century. Tables were levitated, bells rang themselves, messages written by invisible hands were received, and hair was raised!
2015 Agriculture Conference
A Celebration of Our Agricultural Community: Agritourism and the Business of Farming
The Farmers’ Museum’s second annual free agricultural conference was held on November 14th. With a thematic focus on Agritourism and the Business of Farming, we continued our commitment to making education accessible by providing informational resources, networking opportunities, practical skills, and inspiration to the farming community in Central New York. For many farms around the world, agritourism – which can include everything from staying at a farm B&B to working the fields to picking fruit to slopping hogs – has become extremely profitable, supporting farmers and making agriculture itself sustainable. Recognizing the potential of this form of niche tourism to have a positive impact on struggling farms in our region, this was a topic begging to be explored, poised to create opportunities for economic development. From its inception, A Celebration of Our Agricultural Community was intended to enable farmers to do better business. An unexpected effect has been participation by deeply engaged, mindful consumers. In 2016, the conference will continue with a focus on Climate Change and Its Impact on Farming in Central New York.
Other Notable Programming at The Farmers’ Museum
Spring Craft Workshops
Memorial Day Weekend Plant Sale
Step Back in Time Weekends
July 4th Celebration
Blacksmithing Intensive Workshop
Autumn Craft Workshops
Thanksgiving at the Farm
A Christmas Carol – A theatrical production