Main Street Museums: Learning from Cooperstown’s Baseball Hall of Fame

Learning Approach: Best Practices

| Sheraton New Orleans, Oak Alley | Posted: Sunday, 1:30-2:15 p.m.

In recent decades, many communities have attempted to revitalize their downtowns by establishing cultural anchors on Main Street. While in many places this approach is new and untested, Cooperstown, N.Y., boasts a major Main Street museum dating back to 1939. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists and has kept Cooperstown’s downtown from suffering the fate of others in upstate New York. There are places to eat, shop, and sleep, and few vacant storefronts. Yet there are also parking problems, housing shortages, seasonal closures, failing infrastructure, and a declining tax base. Gain valuable insights into establishing a cultural attraction by learning from Cooperstown’s successes and failures.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn how to deal with the influx of people and their cars.
  2. Understand how Main Street businesses can continue to offer diverse products that serve the local as well as visiting population.
  3. Identify ways to ensure the continued availability of affordable year-round housing for the local work force.
  4. Find out how to generate municipal income to maintain infrastructure.


For more information contact:

Dr Cynthia Falk, SUNY Oneonta
Cynthia Falk is Professor of Material Culture at the Cooperstown Graduate Program, a master's degree program in museum studies sponsored by SUNY Oneonta and the New York State Historical Association.  Falk is the author of the books Barns of New York: Rural Architecture of the Empire State (2012) and Architecture and Artifacts of the Pennsylvania Germans: Constructing Identity in Early America (2008).  She is an active member of the Vernacular Architecture Forum and the American Association of Museums.  Falk has served on the Village of Cooperstown's Planning Board and was a founding member of Cooperstown's Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board.  In 2012 she was elected a Village Trustee, and she currently chairs the Streets and Buildings Committee.  Falk received her undergraduate training at Penn State, an M.A. from the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture, and a Ph.D. in American Civilization from the University of Delaware.