Last updated: 7/5/2016
Yager Hall, Hartwick Colege
One Hartwick Drive
Oneonta, NY 13820
One Hartwick College
Oneonta, NY 13820
Hours when the College is in session; other times by appointment.
Tuesday - Saturday
12 PM - 4:30 PM
The Yager Museum features changing and permanent exhibitions derived from travelling exhibits and the museum's excellent anthropological and fine arts collections. Seven exhibition galleries are located on the first floor of The Yager building with permanent holdings that include major collections of Upper Susquehanna Indian artifacts; southwestern pottery, baskets and rugs; South American pre-Columbian artifacts; and Mesoamerican artifacts. The fine arts collection includes items ranging from the European Renaissance through contemporary American paintings, sculpture and prints, with the emphasis being on American 19th century landscape painting. The Museum also includes a contemporary art gallery, the Foreman Gallery, located in the Anderson building. The Museum in Yager is entered through the Museum Shop, or from the hallway through the Museum's first double-doors. The Shop features a wide range of merchandise, including works by local and regional artists and craftspeople.
Willard Yager (1855-1929), son of an Oneonta storekeeper, studied at Cornell, Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard Law School. He returned to his hometown in 1882 to publish and edit the Oneonta Herald newspaper. He retired from that position in 1890 and devoted the rest of his life to civic and scholarly causes. He supported the establishment of the Oneonta Normal School (now SUNY Oneonta) and built the Oneonta Theater.
As a boy, Willard accidentally stumbled upon a Native American artifact in the woods near his home. This discovery led the young Yager to develop a deep sense of pride and curiosity concerning the Upper Susquehanna River Valley’s prehistory and archaeology. Over the last forty years of his life, Yager assembled an impressive local archaeological collection of nearly 6, 000 meticulously documented artifacts. He also published several books about prehistory and Native Americans including: The Orite of Adequentaga, The Oneota, Non-Combatants, and Red Man as Soldier. Willard Yager’s interests in prehistory and the lives of Native Americans led him to seek out comparative materials from elsewhere in the United States, including a large collection of Southwestern ceramics and basketry and important Plains Indian materials.
Yager housed his collection in a brick museum known as the “Long-House” adjacent to his home on Ford Avenue. He bequeathed the house, museum and collections to Hartwick College in 1929 and his sister Marion left an endowment for the museum on her death in 1959.
Today the Museum serves as a cornerstone of Hartwick College’s Liberal Arts in Practice, providing experiential learning to students and the community through exhibitions and programs drawing upon our diverse collections. The Museum is also home to the College’s Museum Studies Minor program, through which students create exhibitions, public programs and learn the fundamentals of museum operation and collections care.
The Yager’s collections comprise over 17,000 items, including Native American archaeological and ethnographic artifacts, European and American fine art, Pop Art, and material culture artifacts.
Willard E. Yager’s Upper Susquehanna Collection is perhaps one of the best documented regional archaeological collections in New York State. Other important ethnographic collections include Southwestern Native American and South American artifacts.
Louis van Ess, an Episcopal minister and Hartwick professor, bequeathed a significant collection of Italian Renaissance paintings and Russian icons, as well as important American paintings by Frederick Childe Hassam, Homer Dodge Martin, Ralph Blakelock and John Henry Twachtman.
The Museum has also added works by Rockwell Kent, Alexander Calder and Andy Warhol to the collection over the years.
The Museum offers public programs for adults and children. The Museum also provides the primary focus for the College's Museum Studies Minor program.
If you would like to make arrangements for a group visit to the Museum, please contact Anne Salluzzo, business and program manager, at 607-431-4299.
The Shop features a wide range of merchandise, including works by local and regional artists and craftspeople.
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