Tag Archives: Fort Ticonderoga

Fort Ticonderoga Grows Interpretive Department

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While other history sites around the state continue to face cutbacks and layoffs, Fort Ticonderoga seems to have turned a corner with it’s own economic struggles. The private not-for-profit historic site and museum o Lake Champlain is growing with two new additions to its year-round Interpretive Department staff. Joel Anderson, Artificer Supervisor, and Joseph Privott, Military Programs Supervisor, began their new positions at Fort Ticonderoga on January 3.

Stuart Lilie, Fort Ticonderoga’s Director of Interpretation, said “These two individuals bring practical 18th century period knowledge to Fort Ticonderoga’s strategic drive to bring day to day historic details to life at Fort Ticonderoga, one of America’s oldest and most significant historic sites in North America.” He noted their “Skills and leadership allow the Fort to create living history programs and events for visitors that are exciting and interesting. Equally important, the Interpretive Department is able to emphasize Fort Ticonderoga’s commitment to excellence and historical accuracy as we portray those soldiers who struggled and died on this ground.”

Joel Anderson comes to Fort Ticonderoga with twelve years living history experience, both as a re-enactor and museum profession. Joel has previously worked for Middleton Place, a National Historic Landmark located in Charleston, SC, specializing in livestock, carriages, and military programming. In his own business, Anderson Tailoring, Joel hand-stitched, custom-fit Revolutionary War uniforms and civilian clothing. Joel studied at East Tennessee State University, pursuing his musical skills. An avid equestrian, researcher, and eighteenth century mechanic, Joel has already contributed a great deal to Fort Ticonderoga’s living history programs in 2011. Serving as Artificer Supervisor, Joel will lead the development of the Fort’s historic trade program in 2012 including shoemaking and military tailoring.

Joseph Privott, who studied at Lees-McCrae College, brings his own living history experience in re-enacting and museums. Joseph’s mechanical skills include fields diverse as blacksmithing, artillery, woodwork, and Native American crafts. The creator of an online database about Southeastern Native Americans in the 18th century, Joseph brought his extensive background in Native American material culture to his portrayal of a 1759 British Indian agent at the Fort in 2011. Previously a docent with the Southern Appalachian Historical Association and a volunteer at Fort Dobbs State Historic Site, Joseph’s commitment to educational excellence in living history programs at Fort Ticonderoga has already made its mark.

The two new year-round positions expand Fort Ticonderoga’s capacity to offer events throughout the year and increased school programming. These positions will also provide the cadre of leadership for an enlarged staff of costumed interpreters in the 2012 visitor season. Beth Hill, Executive Director, said “The addition of Joel Anderson and Joseph Privott to Fort Ticonderoga’s full-time staff represents an important step in Fort Ticonderoga reclaiming its place as the premier eighteenth century military site in North America.”

Photo: Joel Anderson, Artificer Supervisor, (left) and Joseph Privott, Military Supervisor, (right).

Fort Ticonderoga Adds Winter Lecture Series

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Fort Ticonderoga is introducing a Fort Fever Series of Sunday afternoon programs running from January through April. Presented by Fort Ticonderoga staff, the programs cost $10 each and are free for Members of the Friends of Fort Ticonderoga.

The program begins with a “Winter Landscape Snowshoe Trek” led by Curator of Landscape Heidi Karkoski on January 22. Explore the Fort Ticonderoga grounds and learn how to identify trees based on their winter (leaf-less) characteristics. Bring your own snowshoes (or hiking boots if conditions require).

On February 12, Curator of Collections Chris Fox will give attendees the chance to examine several original 18th-cenutry weapons from the Fort’s extensive collection in a program titled “The Roar of Musketry and the Cracking of Rifles: An Introduction to the Weapons of the 18th Century.”

In “Native Americans and the Patriot Cause” on March 25, Director of Interpretation Stuart Lilie will discuss the roles of Native groups that sided with the colonists during the American Revolution.

On April 22, Director of Education Rich Strum will talk about “Henry Knox: Beyond the Noble Train of Artillery.” Learn about the fascinating life of Henry Knox, from his first job in a book shop at age nine through his Revolutionary War career to his role as the nation’s first Secretary of War.

The Fort Fever Series is one of several new education initiatives at Fort Ticonderoga in 2012. You can learn more about these new programs, including Material Matters Seminar, the Garden & Landscape Symposium, and the Conference on Lake George & Lake Champlain, by visiting the Fort’s website at www.Fort-Ticonderoga.org and selecting the “Explore and Learn” button.

Photo: Fort Ticonderoga volunteer BR Delaney portrays a North East Woodland Native at a recent Fort Ticonderoga event (courtesy George Jones).

Fort Ticonderoga to Assess Repair Options

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A grant for $20,320 was recently awarded to the Fort Ticonderoga Association, a private not-for-profit organization, as part of the recent announcement by New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. The grant to Fort Ticonderoga, through the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, will fund a structural condition evaluation for Fort Ticonderoga in 2012 that will be used to make long-range decisions regarding the fort and its walls. This evaluation will establish the structural priorities for Fort Ticonderoga and identify options for repair.

The grant project is part of a larger Fort Ticonderoga planning initiative being prepared by PGAV Destinations. Phase 1 of this plan is expected to be complete in early 2012.

Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga Executive Director, said “a clear analysis of the structural needs of the Fort and its walls is one of our highest priorities at this time. The state grant allows for us to include this evaluation as we plan for a vibrant future for one of America’s greatest treasures. It will help us best preserve the Fort while reaching our greatest potential as a major destination in New York.”

The stabilization and preservation of Fort Ticonderoga’s walls has been an ongoing project since it was built by the French in 1755. In particular, water infiltration and the winter freeze thaw cycle have caused damage to the walls. In recent years, sections of the walls have been successfully repaired using modern masonry and drainage techniques.

Photo: Deteriorated walls at Fort Ticonderoga (Courtesy John Warren).

Fort Ticonderoga Acquires 1759 Powder Horn

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Fort Ticonderoga’s collection is strengthened by a recent donation of an engraved powder horn made in 1759. The horn is inscribed “JOSEPH STAB HIS POWDER HORNE 1759.” Joseph Stab’s identity thus far remains silent. A search of available records for the military campaigns of 1759 has not yet revealed who he was.

Stab’s powder horn is nicely engraved with a variety of scenes and images. Directly above his name is a hunting scene depicting a horseman and three hounds chasing a deer. Another part of the horn is engraved with what appears to be Indians in trees shooting at game. A variety of birds, trees and deer are depicted over much of the remainder of the horn along with depictions of sailing ships one of which is identified as “Sloop Oswego.” The British Navy sloop Oswego was constructed on Lake Ontario in 1755 and captured (burned) by the French on August 14, 1756 at the end of the siege of Fort Oswego. Was the sloop depicted on Stab’s horn as a memory of service in a previous military campaign? Further research may reveal the answer.

Powder horns were regularly issued to American provincial and British regular soldiers in the French & Indian War for carrying bulk gunpowder. Unlike what is commonly seen in the movies, soldiers generally did not load their muskets directly from a horn. The horn was a container in which to carry bulk gunpowder to later be used in making paper cartridges. Many soldiers had their horns engraved perhaps as a way of commemorating their military service. Although there is little direct information that survives regarding the process of engraving a powder horn, it appears from scant evidence that most horns were engraved by a only a handful of men, perhaps individuals with known artistic or engraving skills, serving as fellow soldiers in the army. Some powder horns have poetic phrases reflecting upon specific events and military campaigns; others are inscribed with only the owner’s name and date. Many powder horns have maps or floral or naturalistic scenes engraved on their surfaces. Each horn, however it is decorated is a unique record of a person’s military experience.

Fort Ticonderoga’s collection of 18th-century military objects is celebrated as one of the best of its type in the world. The collection of engraved powder horns numbers about seventy-five pieces spanning the French & Indian War and American Revolution. According to Chris Fox, Fort Ticonderoga’s Curator of Collections, “Each powder horn is unique and has a story to tell.”

Dozens of engraved powder horns are exhibited in the museum each season and many will be featured in the museum’s newest exhibit Bullets & Blades: The Weapons of America’s Colonial Wars and Revolution opening May 2012.

18th Cent Holiday Traditions at Fort Ticonderoga

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Visitors to Fort Ticonderoga can explore 18th-century holiday traditions at Fort Ti’s “Hot Chocolate at Cold Fort” event. Participants can visit with historic interpreters portraying Continental soldiers from Pennsylvania in 1776 and experience how very different Christmas at that time was compared to our modern holiday traditions. Learn about Saint Crispin’s Day from a shoemaker at the Fort and experience the simple holiday pleasures the frontier garrison enjoyed. Taste a sample of hot chocolate based on a recipe from the 18th-century and experience a celebration at Fort Ticonderoga in 1776 Saturday, December 3, 10 am – 4 pm. Regular admission rates apply. Ticonderoga residents are free.

Much of Ticonderoga’s 1776-1777 winter garrison was composed of soldiers of the 4th Pennsylvania battalion. The soldiers were from the vicinity of Chester, Pennsylvania. In large part they were Quaker or Anglican. For the few Anglicans among these men, Christmas was an occasion for a feast, but not an extraordinary one. For the Quakers, who largely rejected Anglican traditions, Christmas was a day like any other. However, just as today’s American troops serving in foreign lands seek comfort in simple pleasures during the holidays, the 4th Pennsylvania battalion soldiers at Fort Ticonderoga heartily enjoyed basic comforts that reminded them of home.

By the end of November 1776, Ticonderoga was covered by winter’s first blanket of snow. The 3,500 men remained to garrison Fort Ticonderoga, Mount Hope, and Mount Independence under the command of Colonel Anthony Wayne watched wearily as Massachusetts and New York militia troops departed for home at the end of their terms of enlistment. Other Continental troops departed to join General Washington in the milder winter climate of New Jersey. Settling in for a long winter guarding Lake Champlain from attack, Colonel Wayne moved the men of his 4th Pennsylvania battalion into the sparse comforts of the Fort’s stone barracks.

To learn more about Hot Chocolate at a Cold Fort visit www.FortTiconderoga.org or call 518-585-2821. This holiday experience at Fort Ticonderoga is part of the Second Annual North Country Christmas week-long celebration, November 28 – December 4. For details on the North Country Christmas visit www.ticonderogany.com.

Fort Ticonderoga Offers 2nd Material Culture Seminar

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Fort Ticonderoga will host its Second Annual “Material Matters: It’s in the Details” seminar the weekend of January 28 & 29, 2012. This weekend program focuses on the material culture of the 18th century and is intended for collectors, re-enactors, and people with a general interest in learning more about objects of the 18th century and what they can tell us about history. “Material Matters” takes place in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center at Fort Ticonderoga and is open by pre-registration only.

A panel of material culture experts from the United States and Canada come to Fort Ticonderoga for the weekend to share their knowledge of 18th-century material culture in a series of presentations. Designed for those who want a deeper understanding of the everyday objects that help tell the story of life and the contests for control of North America during the 18th century, the weekend’s informal approach enables attendees to interact with presenters and provides an opportunity to examine 18th-century objects up close.

o Fort Ticonderoga’s Curator of Collections Chris Fox will discuss the archeological remains of clothing and sewing-related artifacts in the Fort’s collection found during the Fort’s restoration in the early 20th century.

o Matthew Keagle, a scholar of 18th-century Atlantic material culture, will talk about grenadier caps used by various 18th-century armies and their cultural significance.

o David Ledoyen, a heritage presentation coordinator from Montreal, will explore 18th-century surgeons’ instruments and the evolution of surgeons as a profession in New France.

o Stuart Lilie, Director of Interpretation at Fort Ticonderoga, will discuss equestrian saddlery and horse furniture. Lilie is a saddler specializing in 18th- and early 19th-century saddlery.

o Sarah Woodyard, an apprentice in millinery at Colonial Williamsburg, will talks about 18th-century undergarments.

Registration for “Material Matters” is now open. A brochure with the complete schedule and a registration form is available on Fort Ticonderoga’s website at www.fort-ticonderoga.org by selecting “Explore and Learn” and choosing “Life Long Learning” on the drop-down menu. A printed copy is also available upon request by contacting Rich Strum, Director of Education, at 518-585-6370. The cost for the weekend is $120 ($100 for members of the Friends of Fort Ticonderoga).

Photo: Speaker Henry Cooke (left) and Curator of Collections Chris Fox (right) examine an original 18th-century coat during a “Material Matters” session last winter.

Fort Ticonderoga, Champlain College Collaborate

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Fort Ticonderoga and Champlain College are entering the second year of a growing collaboration, utilizing the needs of a non-profit institution while providing students at the Vermont institution with real-world experience as they prepare to enter the workforce.

“Talk about an effective engagement for student success! By employing a real-world competitive agency model, students are truly motivated to succeed,” said Nancy Kerr, Media Communication Program Director at Champlain College. Kerr’s senior-level students are currently working on a public relations project for Fort Ticonderoga.

The students are working with Lauren Grimaldi, from Brawn Media, on developing a viral social media campaign for the Fort. “With the increasing use of online campaigns as an effective marketing strategy,” Grimaldi said, “we gave them the challenge to create a viral campaign for the Fort. Working with the students at Champlain College has been a great learning experience on both ends.”

Champlain College senior Alisha Durgin, speaking of the project this semester, said “Overall, the research we did was very informative and even surprising. Just actually doing the research and collecting the results on our own was a great learning experience.” A final product from the group of students is due in December.

During the Spring 2011 Semester, students from one of Elaine Young’s marketing courses worked with Fort Ticonderoga and staff from Brawn Media developing potential marketing efforts for the Fort’s temporary exhibition “The Art of War: Ticonderoga as Experience through the Eyes of America’s Great Artists.”

Dr. Young, Assistant Dean in Champlain College’s Division of Business, noted that “The opportunity to have students work with an organization provides enhanced learning outcomes through real world application. It’s a hallmark of a Champlain education and wouldn’t be successful without true partnerships with mission-driven organizations such as Fort Ticonderoga.”

Young continued, “Senior marketing majors were able to work closely with Fort Ti to help them plan for a major event. They learned the intricacies of working with a client with specific needs and had the opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way to the success of the event for Fort Ti. You can’t get this kind of experience and learning in a classroom setting by itself. It is an excellent way for students to fully link theory to practice and they were able to make meaningful connections which will stay with them as they enter their careers.”

Nancy Kerr concurs, relating that students “come away with valuable skills and knowledge to make the transition to a work environment. Working with Fort Ticonderoga this semester, the Champlain College students in the Public Relations Campaign Development class are enthusiastically working to help promote Fort Ticonderoga to the public, while gaining valuable professional skills. What could be better?”

The Champlain College collaboration is just an example of a growing role Fort Ticonderoga envisions for college and university partnerships that utilize Fort Ticonderoga as a “learning campus” for both undergraduate and graduate students in multiple disciplines, not just history and historic site administration.

Photo: Nancy Kerr, Media Communications Program Director at Champlain College, has students working the Fort Ticonderoga this semester.

NYU Grad Students Partner with Fort Ticonderoga

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Graduate students from New York University’s (NYU) Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sport’s Management are partnering with Fort Ticonderoga as part of their work in a Cultural Heritage Tourism class. The students are developing a concept for the Fort Ticonderoga’s learning campus as part of the Fort’s Comprehensive Plan. The partnership was initiated by Mike Konzen, Principal of PGAV Destinations, and Board member for the Friends of The Tisch Center – Hospitality and Tourism. PGAV Destinations is developing Fort Ticonderoga’s Comprehensive Plan. The first phase of the plan is expected to be complete in December 2011.

As part of the project the students and their professor, Dr. Sharr Prohaska, visited Fort Ticonderoga on October 14 – 15 to learn about the Fort’s history, programs, marketing plan, partnerships, and educational opportunities as a year-round learning campus.

The class project will focus on the opportunities related to learning experiences connected with the Fort’s developing historic trades program, and museum studies, as well as other areas such as land and water management, horticulture, and geology.

Dr. Prohaska said the visit was “A wonderful educational experience in a new world of discovery for the students who are from several countries including Uzbekistan, China, and the United States.” The students expressed that the visit made clear the magnitude of opportunities available at Fort Ticonderoga to develop as major destination and year-round learning campus. Dr. Prohaska concluded “The potential is endless as it is such an American treasure.”

Fort Ticonderoga’s Executive Director, Beth Hill, emphasized that the project is an example of what the multi-disciplined learning campus can include. According to Hill, Fort Ticonderoga in many ways has already begun the development of the concept through its university partnerships, seminars, and workshops. “The learning campus offers us the opportunity to widen our audience and broaden the season to offer year-round experiences at one of North America’s most significant and beautiful historic sites.”

Photo: Graduate Students from New York University and Dr. Prohaska at Fort Ticonderoga.

Continentals, British Skirmish at Fort Ticonderoga

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British and American Armies will once again fight for control of Fort Ticonderoga during the Struggle for Liberty re-enactment, Saturday-Sunday, September 10-11, 9:30 am – 5 pm each day. Experience a court martial proceeding, thrill at cannon demonstrations, and be part of the story as visitors are immersed in a skirmish each day, following the commands of the Continental Officers leading on horseback. Visitors can purchase wares from period merchants and worship in an 18th-century Divine Service, Sunday morning at 9:30 am. The ‘Struggle for Liberty’ reenactment September 10 and 11 focuses on the fall of 1776 at Fort Ticonderoga.

Throughout the weekend, Fort Ticonderoga will be alive with re-enactor portraying the Continental Army in 1776 camped in and around the fort walls. Visitors can experience the life of the fast moving soldiers and loyalists of the British advanced guard in their camp adjacent to the beautiful King’s Garden, the site of Fort Ticonderoga’s 18th-century Garrison Garden. Visitors will be immersed along side the staff of the Continental Army as they send patrols of men to find the advancing British Army. Continental officers will discuss the American strategy in 1776, as visitors explore the immense efforts to rebuild the American Army.

Highlighted daily events for September 10 and 11include:

10 am inspection of troops

10:30 am British and American patrols deployed

11 am (Saturday only) Author, James Nelson, presents “With Fire & Sword, Bunker Hill and the Beginning of the American Revolution”

11:30 am Artillery Demonstration

12 pm British Court Martial

1:30 pm Skirmish

3 pm Northern Army Program

3:30 pm Musket Demonstration

4 pm (Saturday only) Sutler for the Army

9:30 am (Sunday only) Divine Service on the fort parade ground

11:30 am (Sunday only) Author, Williard Stearne Randall, presents “Ethan Allen, a Life”

Fort Ticonderoga’s story in 1776 is often overlooked. While 1775 featured Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold’s capture of this Fort, and 1777 saw General Burgoyne seize Ticonderoga once more, 1776 was a major rebuilding year for the Continental Army at Fort Ticonderoga. In order to block the British advance down Lake Champlain towards Albany, the Continental Army posted as many as 15,000 soldiers at Fort Ticonderoga and Fort Independence across the lake. This was the largest American garrison of the fort during the American Revolution.

The Struggle for Liberty event is made possible by funding support from Glens Falls National Bank.

Photo: Historic Interpreter, Joel Anderson, is deployed on patrol as part of the Struggle of Liberty Re-enactment.

New Fort Ticonderoga Tour Highlights Artillery

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Fort Ticonderoga’s newest tour “The Usefulness of those fine Cannon” highlights the museums extensive 18th-century artillery collection. The walking tour takes visitors through the armament history of Fort Ticonderoga and is presented as part of the daily schedule for the remainder of the 2011 season.

The tour provides a window into the events where Fort Ticonderoga’s heavy cannons played such a large part in General Montgomery’s siege of Quebec, General Benedict Arnold’s navy, and Henry Knox’s epic efforts to haul these guns to Boston to force a British withdrawal in 1776. With three artillery pieces original to these events in Fort Ticonderoga’s collection, and many others nearly identical to the historic pieces, the tour of the Fort’s cannons allows visitors to experience Fort Ticonderoga’s important place in American history.

Fort Ticonderoga is home to one of America’s largest collections of 18th-century military material culture. The weapons collection is composed of over one thousand muskets, bayonets, pistols, swords and pole arms representing most of the major types of weapons used in the colonial wars and struggle for American Independence. The museum’s collection of 18th-century artillery is considered the largest collection of its type in the western hemisphere.

The special tour is included in the admission price. Visit www.fortitonderoga.org for calendar details or call 518-585-2821.

Fort Ticonderoga offers programs, historic interpretation and tours, garden tours, demonstrations and exhibits daily from 9:30 am – 5 pm, May 20 – October 20. A full schedule and information on events can be found at www.Fort-Ticonderoga.org or phone (518) 585-2821. Fort Ticonderoga is located at 100 Fort Ti Road Ticonderoga, New York.

Photo: Artillery at Fort Ticonderoga. Photo by John Warren.

Fife & Drum Corps Muster at Fort Ti on Saturday

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Fort Ticonderoga celebrates more than eight decades of Fife and Drum Corps performance with its annual Fife and Drum Corps Muster on August 6. The muster will highlight several Fife and Drum Corps from across the northeast and as far away as Michigan performing throughout the day. The muster will crescendo into a combined Fife and Drum Corps performance at 3:30 pm on Fort Ticonderoga’s Parade Ground.

This event highlights the role Fife & Drum music has played in the commemoration of American history. Fife and Drum Corps gained increased popularity during the American bicentennial celebrations. In 18th Century military life, fifes and drums served as one of the primary modes of battlefield communication and camp regulation.

Fort Ticonderoga formed its first Fife and Drum Corps in 1926 on the eve of the 150th anniversary celebrations of American Independence. The Corps performed at the Fort each summer until the beginning of World War II. When the World’s Fair came to New York City in 1939, the Fife and Drum Corps was a featured performer on May 10th, Fort Ticonderoga Day celebrating the 164th anniversary of the capture of the Fort by Ethan Allen, Benedict Arnold and the Green Mountain Boys.

In 1973, in preparation for the bicentennial, Fort Ticonderoga revived the fife and drum corps to perform daily during the Fort’s summer season. The fife and drum corps has performed every year since and has been featured performers at many major public events including the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Games, the christening of the US Navy Guided Missile Cruiser USS Ticonderoga CG-47, and several Evacuation Day parades in Boston, Massachusetts.

Today the Fife and Drum Corps is comprised of Ticonderoga area high school students who are paid employees of Fort Ticonderoga, a private non-profit organization. The Fife and Drum Corps is part of Fort Ticonderoga’s Interpretive Department whose focus brings to life Fort Ticonderoga’s specific history through daily interpretive programs, historic trades and special events.

Fort Ticonderoga’s full schedule and information on events can be found online or phone (518) 585-2821. Fort Ticonderoga is located at 100 Fort Ti Road Ticonderoga, New York.

Photo: Fort Ticonderoga’s Fife and Drum Corps Performs at Fort Ticonderoga.

Fort Ticonderoga Highlights Role of 1759 Indian Agent

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Visitors to Fort Ticonderoga this summer will be able to explore the role of an Indian agent in 1759 as part of a new program entitled “Within Humane Bounds.” The program will be offered from 2 pm – 5 pm, Sunday through Thursday through October 20, 2011.

An historic interpreter representing an Indian agent of Sir William Johnson’s Northern Indian Department who supplied and coordinated with Mohawk warriors in 1759 brings this nuanced history to life. The program includes an impressive display of representative trade goods including leggings, shirts, powder horns and weapons that were that were needed to secure Mohawk support to the British army. Visitors will learn about the role the agent played in maintaining the bonds of alliance as well as being an important source for practical trade goods utilized in the native villages including agricultural tools and cutlery.

Native American allies in the French & Indian War were key players for both the French and British armies. Accordingly, both sides had extensive networks of agents and traders to try to forge those alliances and coordinate native warriors. Beyond the backing of the British crown, and a large supply of trade goods, Indian agents also had to use personal connections to fulfill their positions. Their fluency in languages, knowledge of local customs, as well as their own personal bonds of kinship within tribes were all essential in securing native alliances. These bonds were very often tested during these times of war, as Indian agents walked a fine line between encouraging native military support while keeping these warriors acting, “Within Humane Bounds”. Sir William Johnson’s directive to his Indian agents was to use the inherent skills of natives in woodland warfare, while keeping them acting within the moral morays of European warfare. Indeed, 1759 through the work of Indian Agents, the Mohawk allies had a reputation among the British army for discipline as admirable as their martial skill.

“Within Humane Bounds” program is part of Fort Ticonderoga’s broader interpretive emphasis this season which brings to life the year 1759. Costumed historic interpreters portraying members of Abijah Williard’s Massachusetts Provincial Regiment recreate 1759 through daily programs and historic trades demonstrations.

Photo: Fort Ticonderoga’s Historic Interpreter, Joseph Privott, portrays an Indian Agent of Sir William Johnson’s Northern Indian Department at Fort Ticonderoga as part of the “Within Humane Bounds” Program.

Fort Ticonderoga Acquires Significant Papers

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A donation of four important manuscripts describing the American attack on Mount Independence on September 18, 1777 was recently made to the Fort Ticonderoga Museum. The collection of four letters was drafted by American Brigadier General Jonathan Warner and relate to Colonel John Brown’s raid on Ticonderoga. The donation was discovered and organized by Dr. Gary M. Milan and made possible by the generous support of George and Kathy Jones.

After the American army at Ticonderoga was forced to evacuate with the approach of the British army under General John Burgoyne in July 1777, Burgoyne left a small force of British and German soldiers to garrison Fort Ticonderoga and Mount Independence as the bulk of his army pursued the American army southward. In mid September two 500-men forces were ordered to test the defenses of the two posts and on September 18, the forces converged on the sleeping garrisons. Continue reading

Fort Ticonderoga to Recreate 1759 British Capture

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Re-enactors portraying French and British soldiers of the Seven Year’s War, also known as the French and Indian War, will converge upon Fort Ticonderoga this Saturday and Sunday, June 25 and 26 to recreate the tumultuous and chaotic events by which General Amherst’s British army captured the vital Fort. Visitors will experience the life of British soldiers and besieged French soldiers recreated around them, with all the sights and sounds they would have encountered at Fort Ticonderoga in the summer of 1759.

The modern recreation of this clash for empire will feature a variety of demonstrations and events. Highlights of the weekend include: a battle each day featuring re-enactors recreating events of the siege as reported in the diary of a private in Willard’s Regiment of Massachusetts Provincials, who was part of the British force attacking the Fort; artillery and musket demonstrations; a talk by author Russ Bellico on his book, Empires in the Mountains; 18th-century music performed on period instruments by musician Robert Mouland; a rousing game of 18th-century cricket; and historic merchants to give visitors an immersive experience in the inevitable victory for the British forces. In addition to these special events, visitors to Fort Ticonderoga on June 25 and 26 can also enjoy the museum’s extensive collection of artifacts and militaria and the King’s Garden; admission to this reenactment weekend is included in the price of general admission to the Fort.

During the Seven Year’s War the great rivalry between France and Britain played out in their American colonies. The summer of 1759 saw General Amherst, commander and chief of all British forces in North America, moving to take the French Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga) from the rear guard of soldiers posted there. Amherst moved his massive force of 11,000 to siege lines previously held by the French outside the Fort. The tiny French contingent of 400 pounded the British line with artillery for four days, in a futile attempt to stave off the inevitable. Finally, with their defeat in sight, the French spiked the cannons in the Fort, rendering them useless, and lit a fuse in the powder magazine, which exploded with destructive force. The French force retreated by boat to Fort St. Frederic in the north, also known as Crown Point. Out of the rubble of the old Fort Carillon rose the new Fort Ticonderoga as the British forces immediately moved in to begin reconstructing the fortifications.

Photo: Fort Ticonderoga’s Historic Interpreters Portray Massachusetts Provincial Soldiers in 1759. Courtesy Fort Ticonderoga.

Fort Ticonderoga Presents 2011 Author Series

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Fort Ticonderoga announces its 2011 Author Series, featuring authors of recent works related to the 18th- and 19th-century history of the Fort. The programs take place in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center at Fort Ticonderoga and are followed by a book signing in the Fort Ticonderoga Museum Store. Each program is included in the cost of admission.

The series includes:

June 19, 2:00 P.M.— Neil Goodwin, author of We Go as Captives: The Royalton Raid and the Shadow War on the Revolutionary Frontier.

June 25, 11:00 A.M.— Russell P. Bellico, author of Empires in the Mountains: French & Indian War Campaigns and Forts in the Lake Champlain, Lake George, and Hudson River Corridor.

July 31, 2:00 P.M.—Barnet Schecter, author of George Washington’s America: A Biography Through His Maps.

August 7, 2:00 P.M.—Richard Clark, author of Pathway to Liberty (historical fiction).

August 14, 2:00 P.M.—Tom Barker and Paul Huey, authors of The 1776-1777 Northern Campaigns of the American War for Independence.

September 10, 11:00 A.M.—James L. Nelson, author of With Fire and Sword: The Battle of Bunker Hill and the Beginning of the American Revolution.

September 11, 11:30 A.M.—Willard Sterne Randall, author of Ethan Allen: His Life and Times.

Ethan Allen Life and Times Talk

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Author Willard Sterne Randall will give a talk on Ethan Allen, one of Vermont’s best known historic figures, on June 18 at 1 p.m., at the Mount Independence State Historic Site in Orwell, VT. Randall’s new book, Ethan Allen: His Life and Times, which W.W. Norton will be coming out with later this summer, is the first comprehensive biography of Allen in a half century. Continue reading

Fort Ticonderoga’s King’s Garden Open

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The King’s Garden at Fort Ticonderoga opened for the season on June 1 with the colors of the bearded iris and other early blooming perennials and annuals. The garden celebrates the history of agriculture on the Fort Ticonderoga peninsula with tours, programs and special events throughout the season. Opportunities include hands-on family programs, adult learning, daily guided tours and quiet strolls through the scenery, volunteer initiatives, and a garden party.

The first program in the King’s Garden Workshop Series on herbs takes place on Wednesday, June 8th at 1:00 PM – Nature’s Wild Herbs Discovery Walk with local herbalist Nancy Wotton Scarzello.

Participants of this 90-minute walk and talk will tour the Healing Herb Garden and the garden grounds and field edges to learn about the traditional and folkloric uses of herbs and wild plants, identification, and ways they are used today. Pre-registration is required and the cost is $15. The rain date is June 9. For more information or to register, call (518) 585-2821 or email garden@fort-ticonderoga.org. Visit our website for a complete listing of programs in the Fort and King’s Garden, www.FortTiconderoga.org.

The King’s Garden is a restored pleasure garden located on the grounds of Fort Ticonderoga. Tours, educational programs, and demonstrations highlight the beauty and history of the garden throughout the season. The Discovery Gardens outside the walls and acres of manicured grounds offer a setting for exploration and relaxation. The King’s Garden is open June 1 – Columbus Day, October 10, from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.

Photo: Poppies and bearded irises accent the King’s Garden teahouse located at Fort Ticonderoga.

Brodsky Praises Regents Collection Sales Reform

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Former Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, now Senior Fellow at Demos and the Wagner School at NYU, has released the following statement in response to the New York State Board of Regents enactment of deaccessioning regulations which closely track his legislative efforts over the past ten years:

“The regulations adopt the principle that museum collection should not be monetized for the purposes of operating expenses and assert the public trust and the public interest with respect to museum collections.

This is an extraordinary moment in the cultural history of the state. The Regents, under the leadership of Merryl Tisch and Committee on Cultural Education Chairman Roger Tilles, have vindicated fundamental cultural values, and help preserve New York’s museum collections for future generations. New York is again leading the nation and the world as new economic realities endanger museum collections everywhere. Repeated attempts to deaccession collections in order to pay bills has been a painful and repeated reality. It sets forth rules that permit institutions to function but protects the public interest in collections that the public has helped assemble.

The heart of this struggle has been to prevent the selling off of collections for the purposes of operating expenses. That principle has long been asserted by the museum community itself and groups such as the American Association of Museum Directors and the Museum Association of New York, have been stalwart and uncompromising in their principled positions. This victory would not have been achieved without their leadership.

It is important to note that the regulations leave with individual museums the decision about what to collect and what to deaccession. What the regulations do is assure that the current economic crisis will not result in a massive shift of publicly accessible art into private hands.

Our legislation would have extended these principles to all New York museums. There remain a handful of legislatively chartered institutions that are not subject to Regents supervision. I urge them to explicitly adopt these principles even as the Legislature continues to consider how best to set one uniform standard for all New York museums.

New York is the cultural capital of the world. We enjoy the generosity of private donors and philanthropists, huge numbers of semi public and public institutions, and the populous that supports and enjoys its thousands of museums. This action today by the Board of Regents will assure New York’s continued leadership and preeminence. My special thanks to my colleagues Matthew Titone and Steve Englebright who continue to lead this legislative effort, to MANY Director Anne Ackerson, to Michael Botwinick, Director of the Hudson River Museum and Vice President of MANY, Regent James Dawson, the staff of the Department of Education, and to the thousands of involved and passionate New Yorkers who insisted that our collections be protected.”

A pdf pf the rule can be found here.

Illustration: Gleyna, or A View Near Ticonderoga. The 1826 Thomas Cole painting held by the Fort Ticonderoga Museum which faced the possibility of selling a portion of it’s collection in recent years.

Fort Ticonderoga Offers ‘Art of War’ Exhibiit

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Fort Ticonderoga’s newest exhibit, The Art of War: Ticonderoga as Experienced through the eyes of America’s Great Artists brings together for the first time in one highlighted exhibition fifty of the museum’s most important artworks. Fort Ticonderoga helped give birth to the Hudson River school of American Art with Thomas Cole’s pivotal 1826 work, Gelyna, or a View Near Ticonderoga, the museum’s most important 19th-century masterpiece to be featured in the exhibit. The Art of War exhibit will be through October 20 in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center exhibition gallery.

The Art of War exhibit includes paintings, prints, drawings, photographs and several three-dimensional artifacts selected for their historical significance and artistic appeal. Artists whose works are featured include Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, Charles Wilson Peale, and Daniel Huntington among many others. As reflected in the exhibit, 19th-century visitors to Fort Ticonderoga included some of the greatest artists of the period who found inspiration in Fort Ticonderoga’s epic history and exquisite landscape.

Regional photographic artists such as Seneca Ray Stoddard recorded Ticonderoga’s ruins and landscapes over the course of twenty years. Many of his photographs were published in area travel guides and histories during the last quarter of the 19th century, keeping alive Ticonderoga’s place in American history while documenting early heritage tourism.

The Art of War uses the artworks to present the story of the Fort’s remarkable history and show how its history inspired American artists to capture its image and keep Ticonderoga’s history alive. The exhibit will graphically tell the history of the site from its development by the French army in 1755 through the beginning of its reconstruction as a museum and restored historic site in the early 20th century.

The Art of War: Ticonderoga as Experienced through the eyes of America’s Great Artists is organized by Christopher D. Fox, Curator of Collections.

Illustration: Gleyna, or A View Near Ticonderoga. Oil on board by Thomas Cole, 1826. Fort Ticonderoga Museum Collection.