Skating at Fenimore Art Museum

Dick Button is widely considered one of the premier male figure skaters of all time, and later enjoyed an illustrious broadcasting career. His legacy extends beyond competition and analysis into building a distinguished collection of paintings, prints, posters, sculptures, costumes, and folk art that honors the long history, evolving artistry, and cultural impact of skating. The Art of Figure Skating Through the Ages featured works from the Button Collection ranging from some of the earliest known skates to fine art masterworks. The pieces shed light on the pervasiveness of the sport in everyday life across various cultures and time periods, providing historical links and connections to American culture. As guest curator, Button lent his own distinctive voice and perspective on the artwork and the world of figure skating.

The exhibition was sponsored in part by New York State’s Empire State Development and the I Love NY Division of Tourism, Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council, The Clark Foundation, The Tianaderrah Foundation, Fenimore Asset Management, Inc., NYCM Insurance, Leatherstocking Region Federal Credit Union, and Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Mahon.

Member Reception/Book Signing with Dick Button

Member receptions are a beloved benefit of membership, with our members enjoying private events and experiences in the museum each year. In 2017, we began the season with a reception highlighting the unique exhibition, The Art of Figure Skating Through the Ages: The Dick Button Collection. The evening was a night to remember with Dick Button attending the event to sign copies of his book, Push Dick’s Button. To the delight of our members, in addition to signing the book, Dick also greeted guests, took photos and regaled our members with amazing stories about his life and collection. The reception was attended by over 300 members and welcomed the 2017 season with a bang!



Art on Ice Gala & Gala Donors

On July 14th, Dick Button returned to Cooperstown and was joined by figure skating legends Dorothy Hamill and JoJo Starbuck, who were guests of honor at the Art on Ice gala to benefit Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum. In addition to our celebrity guests of honor, professional skaters from Ice Dance International performed live on a balmy summer evening on a rink of glice, a synthetic ice surface. As always, the evening included a delicious meal and the excitement of live and silent auctions. A special moment of the evening saw guests pledge over $9,000 of support for school field trip scholarships to the museums for local students in need.

2017 Gala Donors:

Miss Jane Forbes Clark
Robert and Doris Fischer Malesardi
Ms. Jacqueline Badger Mars
The Table Rock Group at Morgan Stanley
Mr. and Mrs. Byron F. Thomas, Jr.

$2,500 – $4,999
Mr. Lou Allstadt and Ms. Melinda Hardin
Bank of Cooperstown
Mr. and Mrs. Marc Bresee
Fly Creek Cider Mill and Orchard
Robert and Nellie Gipson
Mr. and Mrs. Robert S. Hanft
Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Harris
Vera and Pepi Jelinek
Honorable and Mrs. M. Langhorne Keith
Mr. and Mrs. James L. Northrup
In Memory of Elinor Pollock
Dr. Jeffrey Pressman and Dr. Nancy Kollisch

$1,000 – $2,499
Mr. and Mrs. Andrew M. Blum
Dr. Paul S. and Anna T. D’Ambrosio
Mrs. Karen M. Elting
Mr. Keith J. Fulmer and Dr. Terry T. Fulmer
Mr. and Mrs. Steven D. Glazer
Mr. and Mrs. Charles T. Hage
Dr. and Mrs. Lewis L. Hamilton
Mr. and Mrs. Gates Helms Hawn
Allison and W. Keyes Hill-Edgar
Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Holbrook
Mr. Gunleif Jacobsen and Mr. Thomas Jacobsen
Ms. Elizabeth Ketterson and Mr. Robert Graepel
Mr. and Mrs. J. Michael Moffat
Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Older
Paperkite Creative Communications
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas O. Putnam
Royal Chrysler Royal Hyundai of Oneonta – Steve & MJ Harris
Mrs. Patricia Smith
Mr. and Mrs. Edward W. Stack
Mr. and Mrs. John B. Stetson
Strategic Financial Services
Mr. and Mrs. Hugh K. Webster

$500 – $999
Mr. David Beightol and Mrs. Ann Beightol
Brewery Ommegang
Dr. and Mrs. Douglas E. Evelyn
Mr. and Mrs. Stephen M. Gotwald
Mr. William C. Green and Ms. Susan Green
Michon Halio
Dr. and Mrs. William Hopper
Mr. and Mrs. Tim Horvath
Ms. Michelle Kennedy and Dr. Nicholas Hellenthal
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Mahon
Morris Tent Rentals
Mr. Robert Nelson and Mr. Van B. Ramsey
James and Stephanie Patrick
Senator and Mrs. James Seward
Mr. and Mrs. Alexander J. Shields
Mr. John Stephens and Mrs. Kimberly Stephenson
Sheila Stone
Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Thompson
Dawn and Alfred Tinger
Dr. and Mrs. Wharton
Francesca Zambello and Faith Gay

Gifts to $500
Mr. and Mrs. Scott Allen
Mr. and Mrs. Mark Anderson
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas M. Barry
Dr. and Mrs. Robert E. Booth, Jr.
Matthew Brundage
Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Church
Mr. and Mrs. Randy Crissman
Mr. and Mrs. Gaylord Dillingham
Mr. Arnold Drogen
Mr. and Mrs. Avram Edidin
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Graig-Tiso
Patrick Hickey
Mr. and Mrs. Philip R. Holz
Brad Horn
Mr. Arnold Jungkind
The Honorable and Mrs. Jeffrey Katz
Mrs. Suzanne Kingsley
Dr. Bruce Kramer and Dr. Laura Kilty
Dr. and Mrs. August Leinhart
Tim and Alison Lord
Mr. Kenneth Madore
Dr. Bertine McKenna and Mr. Patrick McKenna
Ms. Paula H. Newman
Mr. and Mrs. Carl N. Olsson
Dr. and Mrs. Donald A. Raddatz
Dr. and Mrs. William Richtsmeier
Mr. John Ryland and Ms. Karen Craig Ryland
Mr. Roland Sanchez and Ms. Mary Gadomski
Mr. and Mrs. Richard Scurry
Mr. Pierce S. Sioussat and Mrs. Abigail Ross Sioussat
Mr. and Mrs. Bruno Talevi
Ms. Kerrie Tandle
Ruth Thomas
Ms. Ellen R. Tillapaugh and Mr. Gary M. Kuch
Ms. Lucy Townsend
Drs. Jay G. Williams and Hermine Williams



Education & Programming Highlights

Fenimore On Ice

To complement the feature exhibition, The Art of Figure Skating Through the Ages: The Dick Button Collection, the museum welcomed figure skating royalty Dick Button, Dorothy Hamill, and JoJo Starbuck to “Fenimore on Ice” on July 15th.  Attended by nearly 200 enthusiastic guests and moderated by Doug Webster, Artistic Director of Ice Dance International, the symposium was a fascinating, humorous and touching conversation that highlighted the figure skaters’ careers and medal-winning performances.

Preceding the symposium, Ice Dance International performed a Tableaux Vivant, open to all museum visitors, in which ice dancers performed choreographed routines on artificial ice in costumes inspired by the French Belle Époque. Hundreds of figure skating fans and families were tickled to see world-class figure skating right here in Cooperstown – and in the middle of July!

These programs had a significant impact on our community on the most basic level: Residents of the region were thrilled by the entertaining educational offerings, allowing us to deepen bonds with our patrons and making the Fenimore more accessible for families seeking fun and excitement. Of course, “Fenimore on Ice” also opened us up to an entirely new audience, exposing first-time visitors to all of the exceptional things we offer at the museums and in our beautiful village.


Thaw at The Met

A select group of masterpieces was on exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. American Indian Art from the Fenimore Art Museum: The Thaw Collection, May 9 – October 8, 2017, featured 38 works of art from the Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Collection of American Indian Art. The collection has long been recognized as a national treasure and this exhibition gave the Fenimore an opportunity to share these significant works with a much larger, metropolitan audience. The exhibit, in Mr. Thaw’s 90th year, celebrated their role as benefactors to many New York City arts institutions, including the Morgan Library and Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he was an Honorary Trustee.

The exhibition was reviewed by Roberta Smith for the New York Times, September 8, 2017.

“This stunning little exhibition at the Met provides an intense, possibly life-altering immersion in the profound artistry of Native Americans, both before and after they had contact with Europeans…Simply put: Everything is a high point.”

The exhibit was accompanied by the 520-page catalogue raisonné of the collection, Art of the North American Indians: The Thaw Collection at the Fenimore Art Museum, 2nd edition.


2017 Member Trip

The adored trip program was reinitiated with a group of 30 members traveling on September 20, 2017, to see the Thaw Collection in its glory at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The feature exhibition was: American Indian Art from the Fenimore Art Museum: The Thaw Collection. This exhibition highlighted 38 masterworks from the Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Collection of American Indian Art at Fenimore Art Museum. It featured landmark creations in a range of media by gifted artists across North America—from the Arctic to the Southwest and the Eastern Woodlands to the Pacific Northwest—and encompassed close to 1,200 years of artistic tradition and innovation.

We were accompanied by Eva Fognell, who gave a captivating talk specifically about the pieces chosen for this exhibition following the informative tour given by The Met docent, Judith Ostrowitz. We received lovely comments about the day and it was an ideal way to celebrate the Thaw Collection. We look forward to continuing these trips and on June 22, 2018, a bus of 52 members will travel to visit Olana State Historic Site and Thomas Cole National Historic Site inspired by our current Thomas Cole exhibition. This trip looks to be as fascinating as our last adventure. We are eager to continue this wonderful program and hope many MORE members consider traveling with us as we take to the road to celebrate art and fellowship!

Library Highlights

Increases in programming and access to archives were readily seen during 2017, including the debut of a new activity for the Museum Quest school program focusing on map-reading. After only a few weeks in use, the program engaged nearly 200 children at the library. A collaboration with the Cooperstown Graduate Program introduced local elementary school students to the library to research local people. The students’ work was showcased at “Museum Night” at Cooperstown Elementary School. In March, thirty curious visitors took advantage of the open house hosted on March 26th. Few of those visitors had ever been to the building or used its collections. Two workshops on teaching with primary sources were conducted for SUNY Oneonta students seeking degrees in education. These students used the library collections to learn how to incorporate original documents, photographs, maps and other materials into curriculum development. The Manuscript and Special Collections card catalog was relocated to the ground level with access near the front desk. The New Woman, the manuscript of a speech delivered by Belva Lockwood, first woman to run for President in 1874, was delivered on loan to the New York State Museum where it became part of Votes for Women, an exhibition chronicling female suffrage in New York State. The manuscript was also featured in the accompanying exhibition catalog.

2017 Library Donations:

The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation
The Tianaderrah Foundation

$1,000 – $9,000
Bentley Holden Fund
Mr. and Mrs. Gates Helms Hawn

$100 – $999
Anonymous (1)
Mr. and Mrs. Randy Crissman
Ms. Mary Ann Oliver

Gifts to $99
Anonymous (5)
Mr. and Mrs. Dominick Caldiero
Mrs. Leigh Eckmair
Ms. Ruth E. Hotaling
Mr. and Mrs. John Korb
Mr. and Mrs. Paul LaPierre
Mrs. Betty Robinson
Ms. Amy Stack
Mr. and Mrs. Albert Weiss


2017 Collections Highlights & Acquisitions

The ca. 1895 dress was worn by Louise Hall Gross, of Springfield Center, NY in 1895 and again by her granddaughter Janet Gray in 1944. Gift also includes wedding photographs of both women. Gift of Janet Gray.

It is always a priority to maintain our collections objects to the best of the museums’ capabilities. This year saw many objects conserved including Lake Party at Three Mile Point, Otsego Lake, New York by Louis Remy Mignot; Native American Basket Seller by Cornelius David Kreighoff; Justice’s Court in the Backwoods by Thompkins Harrison Matteson; Eunice Day and Mr. Day by John Brewster Jr.; and Justice Nelson and Mrs. Nelson by Samuel F. B. Morse. These key paintings in the collections are now more readily available for viewing and study and represent pieces at the core of our collections and mission.

The museum participated in the New York State Museum’s exhibition celebrating the anniversary of the Erie Canal by lending several related objects including a commemorative medal, the Whig Political Banner, the DeWitt Clinton bronze by Browere and more. Another exhibition at the New York State Museum provided a chronical of Women’s Suffrage in our state. The contribution of “The New Woman,” a manuscript speech by Belva Lockwood, expanded the scope of this exhibition to include the first female attorney and first woman to campaign for President in 1884. This exhibition opened on September 17, 2017, and will remain on view until September 19, 2019. Of note is a loan of the Haudenosaunee Tomahawk Pipe to the Museum of the American Revolution on view from April 2017 to July 2018.

In the Library, a notable accomplishment included the completion of a digital access project of the Belva Ann Lockwood papers funded by the South Central Regional Library Council. A native of Niagara County, New York, Lockwood championed equal rights for women and was the first female attorney to be admitted to the Supreme Court bar.


2017 Collections Acquisitions

Pillow cover. White lace pillow cover by an unidentified Ojibwa artist who was likely taught by Sybil Carter on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota in the early 20th century, ca 1910. Gift of Jesse Karp.

Wedding dress. The ca. 1895 dress was worn by Louise Hall Gross, of Springfield Center, NY in 1895 and again by her granddaughter Janet Gray in 1944. Gift also includes wedding photographs of both women. Gift of Janet Gray.

Bowers/Lee family material. Collection includes a portrait, Anne Crommelin Bowers Lee, ca. 1850, by unidentified artist, as well as silver, china, and glassware all ca. 1810-1890 of the Bowers family of Lakelands, Cooperstown, NY. Gift of Brooke and Elizabeth Pearson, in memory of Edythe Stewart Gwynne Pearson.

Cooperstown Women’s Club archive. Material includes meeting minutes & scrapbooks, various 20th & 21st-century dates. Gift of Susan Miosek on behalf of the Cooperstown Women’s Club.

Cooper Family Heirlooms. The collection includes furniture, paintings, sculpture, cartographic material, and bound volumes with Cooper Family provenance. Gift of the Cooper Family.

Miniature Portraits. Portraits of Jacob Morris and Mary Cox Morris attributed to Peale (1741-1827). Museum purchase with funds contributed by Gemma Hall in memory of Lewis Hall.

Photograph. One image of the Cooper graves at Christ Church and a second of the Cooper Monument at Lakewood Cemetery dated August 1896. Gift of Thomas Stock.

Letters. Jacob Morris letters (49 items), Corcoran Gallery Exhibition Catalog and five framed and unframed paintings including Study for Turning the Leaf by William Sidney Mount. Gift of Gemma Hall.

Book. Commonplace book of Hannah Pomeroy Cooper, 1820s. One volume. Library Purchase.

Travel diary. Unidentified individual, Otsego County 1838. One volume. Library Purchase.

Sheet music. Archive from Miss Spaford’s Seminary in Cooperstown, ca. 1839. Library Purchase.

Trade publications. Includes eight volumes with photos and recipes, 20thCentury. Gift of Mary Haun.