From the President
The Fenimore Art Museum enjoyed a continued upswing in visitation in 2011, surpassing even its banner year in 2010. The quality and range of the exhibitions that the museum presented were particularly noteworthy. In 2011, the museum delved into twentieth-century American art by mounting the summer exhibitions “A Window into Edward Hopper” along with the traveling exhibition “Prendergast to Pollock: American Modernism from the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute,” and audiences responded with great enthusiasm. The Hopper exhibition represented a key collaboration with the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, as it complemented their performance of the Hopper-based opera “Later the Same Evening.” The museum’s autumn season sparkled as well with “Inspired Traditions: Selections from the Jane Katcher Collection of Americana,” which featured one of the best private folk art collections in the country. Lastly, our permanent collection stood out in “Unfolding Stories: Culture and tradition in American Quilts,” which together with the Katcher Collection exhibition rounded out the balance between Modernism and classic Americana.
It was also a significant year for American Indian art and culture here at the museum. In May we launched our new interpretive site on the lakeside lawn, “Otsego: A Meeting Place.” Consisting of the Iroquois log cabin on loan from The Farmers’ Museum, the Bark House we constructed on the lakeshore some years ago, a pond with native reeds, and a Three Sisters garden, the site now offers visitors a chance to learn about a century of Iroquois life from the mid-18th to the mid-19th centuries. As expected, school visitation in the spring was robust, particularly among fourth grade students who study the Iroquois as part of the state curriculum. A great highlight of 2011 was, of course, the national tour of the incomparable Thaw Collection, which traveled to three major art museums and was seen by more than 100,000 people. At every stop, the collection was hailed as a national treasure not to be missed.
Our programs and events reached many thousands of people in 2011. Traditional favorites like National History Day in New York State and the Conference on New York State History were as strong as ever, while our relative newcomers, Art by the Lake and the Americana Symposium, established themselves with robust attendance and rave reviews.
There is no way to overstate the importance of the support and enthusiasm of our generous donors, members, volunteers, and visitors. Their presence at all of our offerings makes all the hard work done by our dedicated staff worthwhile.