Our Mission

The Madison County Historical Society’s mission is to preserve, collect, promote and exhibit the history of Madison County and its fifteen towns and one city through the development of programs and events that enhance the county’s heritage for the people of Madison County and those studying the county’s heritage. The society’s headquarters, Cottage Lawn, located in Oneida, is an 1849 Gothic Revival Villa designed by prominent architect Alexander Jackson Davis. Cottage Lawn is preserved and operated as a historic museum.

The Madison County Historical Society has acquired an extensive and diverse collection, documenting 200 years of Madison County’s history. The collection is divided into 3D objects (7,500+), archives (10,000+), textiles (3,500), film/sound recording-mixed mediums (20,000) and photography (4,500+).The most prominent artifact in the collection is its headquarters, Cottage Lawn, a Gothic Revival Villa. There is also a board and batten horse and carriage barn that houses the society’s agricultural collection and permanent hop exhibit.

About Us

The Madison County Historical Society, located in Oneida, NY, is housed in a beautifully designed 19th century Gothic Revival Villa designed by Alexander Jackson Davis who felt that architecture should be in harmony with nature. The brick masonry home has a stucco façade and the characteristic Gothic Revival architectural features of gothic pointed gables, steep high-pitched roofs, and carved verge boards. The museum is furnished with period pieces from the Higinbotham collection along with Madison County artifacts presented throughout the 19th century home.

Come tour the historical society’s 5,706 square foot home that has two parlors, dining room, library/trophy room, kitchen with butler’s pantry, vault, children’s room, grandmother’s room, housekeeper’s room, and changing exhibit room. View what life was like in the Victorian period and learn about Madison County’s heritage.

While you are here step inside the agricultural barn to view the hop exhibit and to learn about the hop industry in New York State.


Construction of the residence, named Cottage Lawn, commenced in 1849 and was completed in September of 1850 upon the birth of Niles and Eliza Higinbotham’s first daughter, Julia. Mrs. Eliza Higinbotham and two of her three daughters, Lily and Louise, were among the 64 MCHS charter members that established the Madison County Historical Society.

The historical society’s first meeting was held.

The society adopted its articles of incorporation.

The society received its charter from the New York State Board of Regents.

The society officially opened its doors to the public.

The Madison County Historical Society, Cottage Lawn, is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places in recognition of its significance in American history and culture.

The society also operates the Mary King Genealogical Research Library named after Mary King in 2002 for her twenty-two years of volunteer service the historical society helping families with their genealogy.

The 2021 Preservation Association of Central New York awarded the CNY Heritage Award to the Madison County Historical Society in recognition of the 25th Annual Madison County Hop Fest

Today, the society carries on the 64 charter members’ collective vision of preserving the county’s past for the future through the documentation of the mid-19th – 21st century history of Madison County’s 15 towns and one city. 

“Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both.”

– C. Wright Mills
Scroll to Top