Open today, September 25, until 5:00 p.m.
Harvest Fest and Hops on Tap
40th Annual HARVEST FESTIVAL
Saturday and Sunday, September 15-16 • 10:00am-5:00pm
General admission tickets: $12 (adults 13-64), $10.50 (seniors 65+), and $6 (junior 7-12). Museum members, active and retired career military personnel, and kids (6 and under) are free. Purchase tickets in advance on Eventbrite.com or at the door on the day of the event.
SPECIAL! This weekend only! Get two great museums plus Harvest Festival for one low price! For only $3 more, purchase a 2-way admission ticket with Fenimore Art Museum and save $5 off the regular adult price. And remember, kids 12 and under are always free at Fenimore. No other discounts apply.
HOPS ON TAP
- Daily interpretation
- Hoppy Trails Tours (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 11am through September 30)
- Tasting: Butternuts Beer and Ale (Saturday, September 15 from 12:00-2:00pm during Harvest Fest)
- Tasting: Muddy River Farm Brewery (Saturday, September 22 from 12:00-2:00pm)
The Cooperstown area was at the nation’s epicenter for hops production in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. By 1849, New York State led the nation in hop production, and by 1855 the region was raising over 3 million pounds annually. The major producing counties were Otsego (Cooperstown), Oneida, Madison, Schoharie, and Montgomery. The Otsego County hop was considered the best in America and the equal of any in the world. With the resurgence of craft-brewing in New York State, the region is slowly finding its way back to its roots.
The Farmers’ Museum and Historic Village has been a part of Cooperstown’s history for 75 years and is one of the oldest living history museums in the country. Overlooking Otsego Lake, just one mile outside of the village on State Route 80, the museum was established on land that has been part of a working farm since the 1790s. As a longtime purveyor of New York State history and culture, the museum is the ideal location to discover the many facets of hops production and craft brewing in the region. Daily programming and special events related to hops and craft brewing offer a glimpse into the region’s connection with beer production – past and present.
In our circa 1790s tavern, visitors are greeted by a friendly innkeeper who shares the history of hops. Interpreters discuss the processes of growing, harvesting, drying, pressing, and baling hops, as well as malting, brewing and other uses for this unique crop. You’ll also hear about the social impact of hops in the region.
Visitors will find interactive features throughout our Historic Village. Converse with farmers at our 19th-century farmstead and observe them at work in the field as they plant, harvest, and prepare hops for use and sale. Find more activities at the Pope Hop House, the Field Blacksmith Shop, and Dr. Thrall’s Pharmacy – or take our “Hoppy Trails” guided tour (Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 11:00am). For guests more interested in the end product, Bump Tavern will be the hub for beer tastings (check above for schedule). If all this makes you thirsty, just take a short walk across the street to Fenimore Art Museum and its Fenimore Café. Enjoy a craft brew and some light fare on the majestic terrace overlooking beautiful Otsego Lake.
The Main Barn turns 100 years old this season! It serves as the museum's exhibition center. This year, the museum is proud to present Barns: Cathedrals of the Countryside and Grow: An Exhibit to Get You Gardening.
Barns: Cathedrals of the Countryside
Dairy barns, with their soaring roof lines and towering silos, punctuate the rural landscape. Upstate New York’s agricultural buildings have long served as landmarks due to their size and visibility. Nowhere is this monumentality more noteworthy than on gentleman’s estates, such as Edward Severin Clark’s Fenimore Farm. Architects designed barns such as this, built 100 years ago, to be practical: to house cows, provide storage for hay, grain, and silage, and model advances in sanitation to ensure pure milk. But they also hoped to create rural landmarks that would model new and visually striking ways to meet basic farming needs.
Curated by Cynthia G. Falk–professor at the Cooperstown Graduate Program, a master’s degree program in museum studies sponsored by SUNY Oneonta. Dr. Falk is the author of the books Barns of New York: Rural Architecture of the Empire State and Architecture and Artifacts of the Pennsylvania Germans: Constructing Identity in Early America, and served as the co-editor of Buildings & Landscapes, the journal of the Vernacular Architecture Forum from 2012 to 2017.
Grow: An Exhibit to Get You Gardening
Gardening is healthy, easy to do, and offers great nutritional, physical, and mental benefits. Whether in your backyard, in containers on your deck, or in a community garden, you can learn how to cultivate fresh vegetables. Are you thinking about planting a backyard garden? Large landowner or apartment dweller, GROW: An Exhibition to Get You Gardening is framed with ideas and advice on how you can start growing!
Sponsored by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield and Bank of Cooperstown.
The Empire State Carousel is a beautiful example of a traditional country fair ride. Called “the museum you can ride.” it has 25 hand-carved animals representing the agricultural and natural resources found in New York State, and chariot rides of a scallop shell (the State shellfish), an Erie Canal Boat, and an original Lover’s Tub. Other carved elements, such as folklore panels, depict Uncle Sam and Deerslayer, and portrait panels of such notable figures as Susan B. Anthony, Teddy Roosevelt, Grandma Moses and Jackie Robinson enhance the rounding boards.
There are eight foot curved murals whose paintings depict moments in New York history from the arrival of the Half Moon to the construction of Levittown. The hand carved frames around the mirrors depict 11 different regions of New York, and there are carved place names from all over the State. Even the sweeps of the carousel feature over 300 feet of hand stencils of the bluebird, rose, apple, sugar maple leaf and state map!
First conceived in 1982, it opened at The Farmers’ Museum on Memorial Day 2006 and represents voluntary artistic contributions by over 1,000 New Yorkers. Housed in a twelve-sided building, the Empire State Carousel is open during museum hours.
The Cardiff Giant, a ten-foot-long gypsum figure known as “America’s Greatest Hoax” has been on exhibit since the 1940s at The Farmers’ Museum. The Cardiff Giant traces the story of this “petrified man,” which was the centerpiece of a moneymaking scheme by a businessman from Binghamton, New York. The Cardiff Giant was created and displayed in the 19th century, and public reaction to it reflected the scientific and religious beliefs of the time.
George Hull, a cigar-maker and get-rich-quick artist, came up with the idea to create the Giant during a business trip to Iowa. Hull, an atheist, argued with a revivalist minister about a biblical passage. The phrase “There were giants in the earth in those days” (Genesis 6:4), sparked Hull’s imagination and led to an involved plot that eventually made him a fortune.
In 1868, Hull went to Ft. Dodge, Iowa, and ordered a five-ton block of gypsum to create, he explained, a piece of patriotic statuary. The block was delivered to a stonecutter, Edward Burghardt, in Chicago, who, having been sworn to silence, created the Giant. The figure was then secretly shipped to the village of Cardiff, just south of Syracuse, where it was placed in a pit and covered. In 1869, the man on whose farm Hull had hidden the Giant hired two workmen to dig a well. He ordered then to dig it in the spot where the Giant had been buried, and the workmen thus directed soon made their startling discovery.
Word of the unearthing of a petrified man spread quickly around the countryside. People came from miles around to see the Giant, which was identified as an example of an ancient race mentioned in Genesis by some believers. “Found” in the heart of New York’s Burnt Over District, the Giant benefited from the religious fervor sweeping the area. Scientific experts offered another theory on the Giant’s origin. Dr. John F. Boynton, scientific lecturer, declared that the Giant was a statue created by a Jesuit priest during the early 17th century to awe local Indian tribes. State Geologist James Hall was also convinced that the Giant was an ancient statue. A third group said it was a hoax, but this in no way diminished its popularity.
In 1947, the Giant was sold to The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown. He is now on display inside the main barn of the museum.
The 19th-century Historic Village is comprised of buildings gathered from rural communities around New York state and painstakingly relocated and restored, piece by piece. Each building provides an intimate view of commercial and domestic practices common to rural life in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
The Lippitt Farmstead is a living example of how a farm would have operated in the mid-19th-century. Seasons are celebrated at the farm with the changing scene and changing occupations: cultivation and harvesting of hops, the area’s most valuable crop of the period; nurturing of young farm animals; shearing the sheep and combing, spinning and weaving the wool. Children will delight in petting or feeding the young animals in the Children’s Barnyard. The farm is welcoming, friendly and hearty, a tribute to the pioneering spirit that shaped the American countryside.
This collection of buildings that includes two barns and six other outbuildings, animal sheds, a smoke house, and the Lippitt family farmhouse reflects the design of houses in Joseph Lippitt’s native Rhode Island. The house dates from 1800 and was built in Hinman Hollow, N.Y.