Cooperstown, New York
Street Address
5838 State Route 80
Cooperstown, NY 13326
Mailing Address
5838 State Route 80
Cooperstown, NY 13326
Museum Type(s)
Gretchen Sullivan Sorin, Director
phone: 607-547-2586

The Cooperstown Graduate Program -
Giving students the tools to make a difference

The Cooperstown Graduate Program (CGP) is the premiere program for the training of museum professionals in the United States. It is a unique public-private partnership between the State University of New York College at Oneonta, the degree granting institution, and the New York State Historical Association (NYSHA), the museum laboratory. Courses are taught by historians, art historians and managers with expertise in museum work. Many course are taught on the museum campus.

CGP offers an intensive two-year course of study leading to a Master of Arts degree in Museum Studies. Graduates of the Cooperstown Graduate Program are known for their ability to work with community members, to interpret and exhibit objects, and manage museums and collections.

The focus of the Program is public service-helping museum visitors make the connections between past and present, vital to our understanding of ourselves as individuals and as Americans. We believe that museums should be squarely at the center of community life, not on its periphery, and we give students the tools to make a difference.


Celebrating 40 Years 1964-2004

In the 1960s Louis C. Jones, then Director of the New York State Historical Association in Cooperstown, New York lamented the lack of training for individuals who wanted to work in museums. He wondered who would staff the growing number of museums in the country, and preserve the objects of our nation's heritage. Jones approached the nearby State University of New York at Oneonta with the idea of creating a museum studies program on the museum's campus. Henry Allen Moe, President of the Historical Association board and his friends Nelson and David Rockefeller helped to provide the financial support to launch the experiment. Jones hired talented folklorist Bruce Buckley as the first Director of the Cooperstown Graduate Program, and the two men set about the task of creating museum and folk culture programs that focused on community study, documentation and cultural preservation. The first students, a group of 28 representing 13 states and one foreign country, arrived in 1964.

Students gathered traditions and documented traditional music and arts. They studied American art and history. Fanning out across the countryside, students listened to ordinary people, gathering vanishing rural crafts, and helping people to tell their own stories. The Graduate Program quickly fed the growing state historic site system, placing museum professionals from New York City to Buffalo. As the alumni base grew students assumed positions in museums, historic sites and cultural organizations throughout the United States. After 40 successful years, the Cooperstown Graduate Program has had a national impact on the arts, historic preservation, and cultural programming.

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We are a design and fabrication shop that encourages play in museums, organizations and brands so they may spread the roots of their mission. Play is a powerful tool because it tests assumptions, makes connections and establishes a positive emotional memory to concepts. Incorporating play (interactives) in your project can actually boost diversity, loyalty and engagement which will ultimately strengthen your mission.

Friday, October 1 - Sunday, October 31, 2021 — Virtual
Arriving this October: The Western Museum Association Roadshow!
Monday, November 29 - Wednesday, December 1, 2021 — Washington, District of Columbia
2021 International Conference of Indigenous Archives, Libraries, and Museums
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Sunday, March 6 - Thursday, March 10, 2022 — St. Louis, Missouri
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