I have been meaning to come back to Cooperstown for a long time to visit the Fenimore Art Museum [5798 NY-80, Cooperstown, NY 13326] and finally got the chance recently!
Hours change throughout the year, and note that the museum is actually closed January-March. This was my last stop on a busy day throughout the region, but we made it an hour before closing time. I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to see everything, and to be sure an hour was barely enough time, but I did receive half price admission on account of the time restraint. Normally adults are $12, so I think I caught a great deal. Years back I had a wonderful time visiting the Farmers Museum and ever since there was a lingering curiosity about a totem pole across the street.
The museum hosts the Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of American Indian Art – it is really unique and intriguing exhibit. There were many diverse objects from first nation peoples from across the continent. Exquisite jewelry and headdresses, along with objects I have never seen before such as war records.
This painting tells a story about warrior’s achievements and can be worn as a robe – this particular record accounts battles between Sioux and Crow. Exhibits are constantly rotating, but on my visit I found something more than simply relics of the past, something I found very touching and important were pictures of modern day Native Americans and the stories they have to tell.
This museum is not solely dedicated to Native art, there is also an extensive exhibit on Folk Art (‘artworks made by ordinary people to satisfy a need for personal expression or serve a practical function’) – a personal favorite variety.
I love the stories, vibrant colors, and the personal element affixed to these peerless pieces. For those caught up in the Hamilton crazy – currently the museum hosts 34 original letters between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.
On permanent exhibit there is a room which sticks to its local roots. You’re in Cooperstown at the Fenimore Art Museum…so of course there should be something about the infamous author James Fenimore Cooper.
After much time spent viewing the galleries, I was happy to explore the museum’s lovely backyard. Take the tree lined path to shore of Ostego Lake.
You’ll find many treasures out this way – a castle across the lake, information and relics about the Iroquois way of life, and maybe some wildlife!
I was more impressed by the displays of this museum than I expected to be. There are many attractions in Cooperstown, but if you are a fan of the arts – make time to visit!