Journey Through Rural New York History at The Farmers Museum

The entrance of the Farm Museum

In the picturesque town of Cooperstown NY, the Farmers’ Museum is a popular attraction offering insight into 19th-century rural life. Overlooking Otsego Lake, the museum consists of more than two dozen authentic historical buildings, including a tavern, a farmstead and a blacksmith’s shop. Not only does it offer interactive exhibits, live demonstrations and workshops, but it also features a children’s barnyard. Did I mention cute farm animals?

What to Expect at The Farmers Museum

A highlight of the museum is the Empire State Carousel. This hand-crafted merry-go-round was built on a vintage 1947 Alan Herschell carousel mechanism and is a tribute to New York State’s rich cultural and environmental history. The carousel is the result of a massive community effort, spearheaded by carver Gerry Holzman and involving over 1,000 volunteers from across the state. The entire process took more than two decades to complete and features 25 hand-carved animals that represent New York’s agricultural and natural resources. Visitors to the museum can ride the carousel. We did, twice! Because of course we did.

The museum is located on a property that has been a working farm since the early 19th century. Originally owned by James Fenimore Cooper, famous for writing “The Last of the Mohicans,” the farm later changed hands to become Fenimore Farm under the ownership of the Clark family. Several structures, designed by architect Frank Whiting in the Colonial Revival style, were built in 1918 by Edward Severin Clark and are now a part of the museum complex.

Since its inauguration in 1944, the museum has amassed a staggering collection of more than 23,000 artifacts. Initially starting with just 5,000 tools and objects, it has expanded to include valuable collections from the Otsego County Historical Society, the Early American Industries Association and the Wyckoff family, one of Brooklyn’s oldest farming families.

The Farmers Museum is not just a walk through history; it’s an interactive experience that offers both education and entertainment for visitors of all ages.

Know Before You Go

Getting there: 5775 NY-80, Cooperstown, NY 
Hours: seasonal hours, check the website below for opening hours
Website: Farmers Museum

Make a full day of it by also visiting, also in Cooperstown: