From the President
The activities and accomplishments of The Farmers’ Museum shows that the museum has few equals as a community resource. In 2011, we served more than 71,000 people on our site, and many thousands more off-site and online. But the numbers do not tell the whole story. This past year was marked by creativity and innovation in the many ways in which our dedicated staff brought the museum’s unique experience to the public.
The museum’s collection played a central role in 2011 with a marquee exhibition, “New York’s Good Eats,” that showcased New York’s agricultural and culinary heritage and underscored the relationship between farming and food. Meanwhile, the Plowline collecting initiative has greatly expanded our ability to document and present the history of rural life and agriculture in the state by continuing to bring together compelling historical images of farms and villages across New York. This collection has been a pilot program for making our content more accessible online, and is a very popular browsing site for people from around the world. Lastly, our Empire State Carousel celebrated its 5th anniversary at the museum with a beautiful new book describing its creation and the menagerie of animals and scenes that give it life. The carousel itself continues to evolve, with the addition of a “new” horse, “Cooper the Colt,” which actually was one of the original horses on the carousel’s mechanism in the 1940s.
The programs and special events at The Farmers’ Museum continued to draw thousands of visitors looking for a fun and exciting way to step back in time. The museum launched new, innovative programs to provide immersive experiences for school groups, thus imparting vital information about food and farming to a new generation. In addition, we reached out to classrooms around the state through our participation in the Head Start program. Of course, our signature events, Harvest Festival and Candlelight Evening, are so much a part of the rhythm of the seasons in Central New York that they drew large audiences despite the challenges posed by the extreme weather and disastrous flooding our region experienced in late summer.
We also have been finding new ways to improve the visitor experience at the museum by providing amenities where people need and want them. Our new Crossroads Café opened in the summer next to Bump Tavern, and gave visitors the opportunity to stop and refresh themselves in the middle of their visit. As one person put it, visitors can now relax with a snack and enjoy the “living painting” that is the Historic Village.
As always, we owe so much to our talented staff members who work hard to make the museum successful. And the entire staff owes a large debt of gratitude to our supporters and visitors for making the museum such a vital part of their lives.