Fenimore Art Museum, located on the shores of Otsego Lake—James Fenimore Cooper’s “Glimmerglass”—in historic Cooperstown, New York, features a wide-ranging collection of American art including folk art; important American 18th- and 19th-century landscape, genre, and portrait paintings; more than 125,000 historic photographs representing the technical developments made in photography and providing extensive visual documentation of the region’s unique history; and the renowned Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of American Indian Art comprised of nearly 900 art objects representative of a broad geographic range of North American Indian cultures, from the Northwest Coast, Eastern Woodlands, Plains, Southwest, Great Lakes, and Prairie regions. Visit FenimoreArt.org.
Fenimore Art Museum is a museum of American art.
It is named for the property on which it stands, land once owned by the novelist James Fenimore Cooper. The Museum occupies a 1933 mansion built by Edward Severin Clark, an heir to the Singer Manufacturing Company fortune. Following his death the building was given to the Museum by his brother, philanthropist and art collector Stephen Carlton Clark, who also gave much of the fine art and folk art collections. Stephen later turned his brother’s farm complex across the road into The Farmers’ Museum, which to this day shares much of its staff with Fenimore Art Museum.
For a museum of its size, Fenimore Art Museum tells a remarkable range of American stories.
- Its fine art collection illustrates everyday life in early America and chronicles the development of the young nation.
- Its folk art collection shows the work of self-taught Americans who were inspired to create and who probably never thought their work would be in an art museum: traveling portrait painters, quilters, ship carvers, sign painters, students in female academies, and people from many different backgrounds and all walks of life.
- The photography collection illustrates the entire history of photography in the United States, from early daguerreotypes to contemporary photographers.
- The Cooper family collection shows the unique qualities of Cooperstown and Otsego Lake as seen in the writings of America’s first novelist, James Fenimore Cooper.
- The American Indian Art collection shows the masterful artistry of Native peoples from across North America from prehistory to the present.
- Special exhibitions and programs held regularly at the museum introduce visitors to a wide range of artworks and stories from our own as well as other museums and collections.
- Our members and visitors give us valuable ideas and feedback to guide us in future programming.
Fenimore Art Museum, and the stories it tells, aspires to provide an engaging experience leading to a renewed or enhanced appreciation of American art, history, and culture, and the many and varied people who comprise the American story.