If shopping on Black Friday isn't your thing, then a trip to Cooperstown on Friday or Saturday might be a better way to spend your time.
The Farmers' Museum and the Fenimore Art Museum will be open both days from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and a visit to the Farmers' Museum will be without the usual $12 admission fee. A donation, however, is requested.
"We're offering families an escape from the ordinary," said Todd Kenyon,director of marketing for the Farmers' Museum and the Fenimore Art Museum, two not-for-profit institutions that share the same administrative staff. "We're an option for families who are gathering for the holidays to get outdoors and experience something memorable together."
Visitors will have the opportunity to stroll the Historic Village at the Farmers' Museum and enjoy a 19th century Thanksgiving at the Lippett Farmhouse and the Middlefield Print Shop, or take a ride on the Empire State Carousel.
"This weekend is known as the first holiday shopping weekend, but there are many that don't want to deal with that craziness and may enjoy experiencing something a bit more relaxing," said Kenyon. "We think they might enjoy stepping back into a simpler time, and you can do that in our Historic Village.
"Also, we wanted to keep the event affordable for families, so this year we're offering admission by donation," added Kenyon. "Visitors may donate whatever dollar amount they may wish."
While you still have to pay the admission fee at the Fenimore Art Museum, Kenyon says the exhibits are well worth it. And if you can't make it this weekend, you do have until the end of the year before the place closes for the first three months of 2018.
Kenyon said the museum has attracted quite a crowd in 2017 so far, particularly "The Art of Figure Skating through the Ages: The Dick Button Collection." Button was a two-time Olympic champion and five-time world champion in figure skating, and also became a well-known television analyst in the 1960s during Olympic broadcasts.
"We did quite well this year," said Kenyon. "Attendance has been up over our yearly averages, and the Button Collection is much more than photos. The artwork in the exhibition is quite varied, including oil paintings, costumes worn by famous skaters in the Olympics, ice skates, show posteres, folk art, 17th-century Dutch tiles. There's also Dick's Olympic medals and so much more."
Kenyon said the Button exhibit attracted more than just figure skating fans.
"The exhibit has something for everyone," he said. "Visitation definitely included people who have a background in skating, but most are just art lovers and repeat patrons of our museum."
Along with 2017's temporary exhibits, the Fenimore also has its regular ongoing exhibits, including the Thaw Collection of American Indian Art, which only recently returned from being on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Kenyon said the museum will announce its 2018 season, starting April 1, within the next few weeks.
The Fenimore Art Museum has been on the banks of Lake Otsego in Cooperstown since 1939. Much of its fine art collection was donated by Stephen Carlton Clark, while the museum also has plenty of material relating to James Fenimore Cooper, the 19th-century author of "The Last of the Mohicans."
The Farmers Musuem opened its doors to the public in 1944, and at the time included the collections of the Otsego County Historical Society, William B. Sprague, founder of the Early American Industries Association, and the Wyckoff family, one of Brooklyn's oldest farming families.
Here is what still is on exhibit at the Fenimore Art Museum through Dec. 31:
"The Art of Figure Skating through the Ages: The Dick Button Collection."
"Our Strength is our People: The Humanist Photographs of Lewis Hine."
"American Folk Art: Seven Decades of Collecting."
"Edward Curtis Among the Kwakiutl."
"Hamilton's Final Act."
"Between Observation and Imagination: Paintings by Tracy Helgeson."
"Still and Solemn Chambers: Recent Paintings by Frank Farmer."