Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Milo Stewart, Sr.

By: Michelle L. Murdock, Curator of Exhibitions
Those of us that have lived in Cooperstown for a while undoubtedly know Milo Stewart. Milo was Director of Education at Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum starting in the late 1950s. One of the many hats he wore was that of Curator of Photography. Makes sense since Stewart is widely recognized as one of our premier local photographers.

Stewart wasn’t always a local though. He grew up in the Buffalo area before coming here in the 1950s. “It didn’t take long for me to figure out that the village of Cooperstown and the surrounding countryside offered rich photographic opportunities,” Milo said. “Otsego Lake and the hilled vistas that frame it and the wide range of activities that take place upon it, from ice fishing to Flying Scots, were exciting. The splendid array of homes and businesses representing a variety of architectural styles were beautiful. And a host of seemingly unending creative community activities flourished, propelled by energetic, smart and friendly people.” Stewart’s other photographic projects include exhaustive surveys of New York’s courthouses, Greek Revival buildings, Route 20 and dying Main Streets – a project that was used by NYSHA for preservation efforts.

In 2006, Fenimore Art Museum had the long overdue opportunity to exhibit over 70 of Milo Stewart’s works. Both locals and friends from away enjoyed the celebration of one of Cooperstown’s favorite sons. After the exhibition, we were fortunate to be able to purchase three of those works for our collection.
Stewart’s sharp humor is reflected in this quote, which sums up his tenure at the museums - “A whole lot of serendipity put me on the road for projects that would lead me to all but six of New York’s 62 counties and use up most of my vacation time.” We were very fortunate that Milo was so dedicated and meticulous in his endeavors!

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