In 1820, New York merchant William Ferris Pell took the remarkable step of purchasing the grounds of the former military post at Fort Ticonderoga.
Pell prevented the further deterioration of the fort ruins by installing a fence, a small but powerful act that marks one of the first private preservation efforts of an 18th-century battlefield site in American history.
Fort Ticonderoga, in partnership with the American Battlefield Trust, has announced that they are seeking proposals for a conference inspired by the bicentennial of the preservation of Fort Ticonderoga to be held Friday-Sunday, October 16-18, 2020.
The Fort Ticonderoga Museum seeks proposals for new research, perspectives, and criticism on the broad history and practice of historic preservation. From an historic or contemporary point of view, what are the practical and philosophical challenges with preservation and restoration? How has the preservation and restoration of historic sites and buildings shaped history, and how will ongoing preservation efforts shape our future understanding of our past? How do monuments, writing, and memory preserve buildings, sites, and individuals that do not survive? What is the interplay between historic landscapes and the built environment? How do we manage our past with our present? How have historic landscapes, structures, and monuments been represented themselves in art, culture, and criticism?
Organizers are interested in a wide variety of perspectives engaging a broad range of geographic and temporal examples from the United States and beyond and a range of disciplinary perspectives including, but not limited to, Art History, Architecture, American Studies, Architectural History, Historic Preservation, Memory Studies, Archaeology, Material Culture, and Conservation.
Sessions will be 20 minutes in length followed by 10 minutes for audience questions. Fort Ticonderoga will provide speakers with a partial travel reimbursement. Those interested should submit a 300-word abstract and CV by email by April 1, 2020, to Richard M. Strum, Director of Academic Programs, email@example.com.
Throughout 2020 Fort Ticonderoga will be involved in a number of preservation efforts, the restoration of William Ferris Pell’s summer home the Pavilion, stabilization of the reconstructed fort walls, and an historical survey of the Carillon Battlefield. This focus on preserving the past bring us face-to-face with preservation efforts in the 19th and 20th centuries and has prompted the museum to host a conference on the subject of history, preservation, and the creation of memory at historic sites.
Photo of Fort Ticonderoga courtesy Carl Heilman II.