Preserving – Engaging – Educating
Fenimore Art Museum is dedicated to welcoming and connecting people to our shared cultural heritage through exhibitions and programs that engage, delight and inspire.


Fenimore Art Museum originated as the New York State Historical Association, founded in 1899 by New Yorkers who were interested in promoting greater knowledge of the early history of the state. They hoped to encourage original research, to educate general audiences by means of lectures and publications, to mark places of historic interest with tablets or signs, and to start a library and museum to hold manuscripts, paintings and objects associated with the history of the state.

In 1939, Stephen Carlton Clark, offered the organization a new home int he village of Cooperstown. Clark, an avid collector, took an active interest in expanding the holdings of the Association and in 1944 donated Fenimore House, one of his family’s properties, to be used as a new headquarters and museum. The impressive neo-Georgian structure was built in 1930s on the site of James Fenimore Cooper’s early 19th century farmhouse on the shore of Otsego Lake, Coopers Glimmerglass.

Fenimore House was large enough to have both extensive exhibition galleries as well as an office and library space. The collections and programs continued to expand and a separate library building was constructed in 1968. In 1995 a new 18,000 square foot wing was added to the Fenimore House to accommodate the Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection which is one of the nations premier collections of American Indian Art. In 1999 in recognition of our world class collections, we renamed the Fenimore House to Fenimore Art Museum.

Fenimore Art Museum is closely  affiliated with its sister organization, The Farmers’ Museum.


Fenimore Art Museum is now open for the 2019 season, and what a season we have in store for you! From illustrations of children’s book author Mo Willems, to Rock & Roll photographs, to our prized collection of letters between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, the Fenimore truly has something for everyone.

The season is highlighted by the exhibition Herb Ritts: The Rock Portraits, organized by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in association with the Herb Ritts Foundation, featuring photographs of rock & roll icons including David Bowie, U2, Cher, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Madonna and many more. This exhibit is sure to wow both art and music lovers (on view April 2-September 2). Also combining the love of art and music, the Fenimore will present the exhibition Perfect Harmony: The Musical Art & Life of William Sidney Mount from May 25-September 8. Mount’s passion for both art and music will be featured in this exhibit which includes oil paintings, pencil drawings, musical instruments, and related objects.

In the Spring, from April 2-May 15, beloved children’s book characters Elephant Gerald and Piggie from the award-winning early reader series, Elephant & Piggie, are making a stop at the Fenimore to star in the exhibition Elephant & Piggie in We Are Art! This exhibition features a selection of author Mo Willems’s original illustrations from all 25 Elephant & Piggie books as well as a special area to sit and read some of your favorites.

In the Fall, the museum will highlight the photographs of photography pioneer Duane Michals in the exhibit Duane Michals: The Portraitist, the first comprehensive overview of portraits by one of the medium’s most influential artists (on view September 14-November 10).

Our Hamilton’s Final Act: Enemies and Allies exhibition continues for another year in 2019 in conjunction with a brand new publication from the Fenimore, Your Obedient Servant: The Letters of Alexander Hamilton & Aaron Burr, authored by Douglas Ambrose, Ph.D. This fully-illustrated book focuses on the museum’s collection of thirty-five letters exchanged between Hamilton, Burr and their seconds leading up to their fatal duel on July 11, 1804. Ten of the most significant letters are presented in pictorial form for the first time, alongside their transcriptions. These ten letters are also on view in the 2019 Hamilton’s Final Act exhibition at the Fenimore and provide a fascinating glimpse into the lives and thought processes of Hamilton and Burr as they wrote a correspondence that would culminate in the death of one of America’s founding fathers.

In addition to exciting exhibitions, Fenimore Art Museum will also present many engaging, educating, and fun programs to accompany them. Our popular Food for Thought lecture series returns for another season. This season’s workshop offerings include painting classes, the art of papercutting, photography excursions, a create-your-own holiday card workshop, and much more. This year, the Fenimore will also be showing a series of films to correspond with our Herb Ritts and Duane Michals exhibitions. Please visit our calendar for a complete list of movies and times.

2019 will be an exciting year at Fenimore Art Museum and we can’t wait to see you here in Cooperstown!

The museum is open April 2 through December 31. Spring hours (April 2–May 6): 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday (closed Mondays). Summer hours (beginning May 7): open daily 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Fall hours (beginning October 15–December 31): 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday (closed Mondays, Thanksgiving and Christmas).

This exhibition season is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

For more information on Fenimore Art Museum’s 2019 season, please visit our exhibition page.

For more information on upcoming programming, please visit our website calendar.

Email Dr. Paul D’Ambrosio



Jeffrey H. Pressman, MD, Chairman
Thomas O. Putnam, Vice Chairman
Paul S. D’Ambrosio, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer
Joseph Siracusa, Vice President for Operations
Alexander Charlton, Secretary
Richard C. Vanison, Treasurer
Stephen M. Duff, Assistant Treasurer


Stephen M. Duff
Douglas E. Evelyn
Kathleen Flanagan
Nellie Gipson
Robert S. Hanft
Josef E. Jelinek
Charles B. Kieler
Doris Fischer Malesardi
Thomas Morgan
Anne G. Older
Jeffrey H. Pressman, MD
Thomas O. Putnam
Joanne Shenandoah
Richard Vanison
Henry F. C. Weil



Dr. Paul S. D’Ambrosio, President and CEO
Joseph Siracusa, Vice President for Operations
Barbara Fischer, Senior Director for Human Resources and Accounting
Todd A. Kenyon, Director of Marketing and Communications
Chris Rossi, Director of Exhibitions
John Ferguson, Director of Education


Find our latest annual report here.


fenimore art staircase


For the safety of our collections and our visitors, we ask that you please check the following items in the coin-operated lockers in the Visitors’ Room:

• Video recorders
• Briefcases
• Backpacks
• Shopping Bags
• Oversized Purses
• Umbrellas
• Baseball Bats and similar athletic equipment (seriously, this is Cooperstown!)

Non-flash photography is permitted only in select galleries; please check with the admissions desk, security, or refer to your visitors guide.  Videotaping is not permitted.

Service animals are welcome but need to wear their service identification jacket or vest.

Pets and non-service animals are not permitted in the museum or on museum grounds.

Smoking, food, and beverages are not permitted in the galleries.

Fenimore Art Museum and our affiliate, The Farmers’ Museum, offer a wide range of career opportunities for persons with a variety of experiences, skills and educational backgrounds. Working here is exciting, challenging and rewarding. 

To apply, send a completed Employment Application to Human Resources, PO Box 800, Cooperstown, NY 13326. (Note: Some job postings specify a different application process.)

Full Time
New York State History Day Coordinator

Part Time


Museum Teacher

Seasonal Part-Time


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Thursday 10 AM - 4 PM



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