Museum Collections

The Yager’s collections comprise over 20,000 items, including North American Indigenous Artifacts, European and American fine art, pop art, and material culture artifacts.

Willard E. Yager’s Upper Susquehanna Collection may be one of the best documented regional archaeological collections in New York State. Other important ethnographic collections include Indigenous artifacts of the American Southwest 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, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol to the collection over the years.

The Collection

The collecting scope of the Museum has focused primarily in the following areas:

These are objects made by people Indigenous to North, Central, and South America for their usage prior to, or following European colonization. The core of this collection consists of artifacts acquired by Willard Yager between 1888 and 1927. Most artifacts in this collection come from the Upper Susquehanna region of New York State. Additional material has come to the Museum from Mexico, Central America, Peru, Canada, and the American Southwest. There are also objects excavated by Yager Museum and Hartwick College faculty and staff. The contents of this collection are primarily lithics or pottery, but there are also glass, metal, textiles, and other small finds. This collection is being maintained in its current form.

These are objects made by people Indigenous to North, Central, and South America primarily for market or artistic purposes. Some of this material likewise came from Willard Yager, who acquired it from collectors or directly from Indigenous people. Such objects represent culture groups from every region of the United States except the Southeast. Additional contemporary Indigenous objects from the Americas were collected in Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, and Ecuador. This is an active collection, particularly for contemporary art made by North American Indigenous people.

These are artistic and cultural objects from Sub-Saharan Africa, Micronesia, and Southeast Asia. This collection consists of baskets, pottery, clothing, textiles, jewelry, masks, prints, and figurines/sculpture. This collection is being maintained in its current form.

This collection contains works dating from the 16th to the 21st centuries and consists of paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, icons, and sculpture. The collection is primarily American but also includes European objects. This is an active collection, particularly art from the 19th-21st centuries.

This collection consists of textiles, domestic objects, furniture, and coins from the 19th and 20th centuries. Most of the material from this collection came from the estate of Margaret Brigham Bunn (1909-1978), a longtime Oneonta resident. This collection is being maintained in its current form.