In our modern world, we have fewer and fewer opportunities to connect with our rural past. With more people living in urban areas than ever before, how many of us have seen a baby lamb that was just born days ago? Or someone harvesting crops the “old fashioned” way?
You can see all that and more at The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown!
The Farmers' Museum is a living history or open air museum. It features several authentic historical buildings representing an 1840s town in upstate New York. Although most of the historic buildings have been moved to the site in the recent past, the land has been a working farm since 1813 when renowned American author James Fenimore Cooper owned the property.
Edward Severin Clark built a complex to showcase his prized cattle in 1918. The creamery, barn and herdsman’s cottage are all part of the museum today and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Famers’ Museum opened to the public in 1944 with a mission to educate the public about America’s rural heritage. Over the years the museum acquired more historic buildings to re-create a typical 1840s town.
Today visitors can view open hearth cooking demonstrations at the Lippitt Farm House, experience a historical “rest stop” at Bump Tavern, and imagine an early 19th century worship service at the Cornwallville Church. Other buildings include a general store, school, blacksmith shop, and historic homes. The site is also a working farm with many live animals.
The museum recently acquired the Empire State Carousel, featuring native New York state carousel animals that visitors can ride for a small charge. A seasonal Country Fair exhibit surrounds the carousel, bringing the traditional fair experience alive for visitors. The Main Barn features changing exhibitions featuring the museum’s vast collection.
The Farmers’ Museum’s seasonal hours are complicated, so visit their website to be sure they are open when you’re planning your visit. Also check for upcoming annual events and festivals.