Let’s get ready for the Garden Symposium!

It’s hard to imagine that this white wintry landscape will soon be rejuvenated with vibrant color. Spring is around the corner, and before we know it, it’ll be time to put our hands and knees in the dirt to get our backyards back in planting shape. Whether you are an experienced gardener or just getting started, Fort Ticonderoga’s Fourth Annual Garden and Landscape Symposium (April 18th) is here to assist. We’ll have four speakers, all with specific expertise related to gardening in northern climates.  Speakers and sessions include:

  • “The Healing Garden: Traditional Medicinals for Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” by Nancy Scarzello
  • “Save the Monarchs! Native Plants for Native Pollinators” by Emily DeBolt
  • “A Favorite Place of Resort for Strangers: The King’s Garden at Fort Ticonderoga” by Lucinda Brockway
  • “Getting Control of Your Perennial Garden” by Amy Ivy
  • Panel Discussion with all the speakers facilitated by Master Gardener Diane O’Connor

If you want a more detailed description, go ahead and click here!


In the meantime, as we patiently wait for the layers of snow and ice to melt away so we can trade in our hot chocolate for lemonade, let’s continue to reflect on our gardens from the indoors. Do you consider yourself a green thumb connoisseur? Yea or nay, some fun facts and trivia will help pass time until temps get into the double positive digits.

Tomato on Trial!

I’m sure this isn’t news, but it’s been long debated as to whether a tomato should be considered a fruit or a vegetable. This debate primarily originates from two sides, the botanist and the chef. Botanically speaking, a fruit is a seed-bearing structure that develops from the ovary of a flowering plant to serve as a dispersing agent. Vegetables, on the other hand, are all other plant parts, such as roots, leaves, and stems. By those standards, seedy outgrowths such as apples, squash, and, yes, tomatoes are all fruits. Roots such as beets, potatoes and turnips, leaves such as spinach, kale and lettuce, and stems such as celery and broccoli are all vegetables.

The outlook is quite different in culinary terms, however. A lot of foods that are (botanically speaking) fruits, but which are savory rather than sweet, are typically considered vegetables by chefs. Regardless, all fruits and vegetables listed above can be found throughout Fort Ticonderoga’s Gardens and eaten at America’s Fort Café!

What seems like a light-hearted dispute has actually generated quite the fever pitch. In 1893, the tomato found its way into the United States Supreme Court case Nix v. Hedden. The court ruled unanimously that a tomato is correctly identified as, and thus taxed as, a vegetable, for the purposes of the Tariff of 1883 on imported produce. They acknowledged that a tomato is a botanical fruit, but went with the culinary definition of fruits and vegetables, which also happened to coincide with the higher taxes on imported vegetables that they could then apply to the tomato.

zone map

Click photo to find your Plant Hardiness Zone.

Now for some trivia!

  1. Which plants are most likely to thrive in your zone? If you’re around Ticonderoga, your plant hardiness zone is 5a.
  2. Monarch caterpillars’ only source of food is Asclepias (milkweed). What kind of native milkweed plants flourish in your area?
  3. When is the ideal time to divide the perennials that are growing in your garden?
  4. Which perennials are invasive in your area, and most likely to take over in your garden?
  5. From the bark of which tree did the first type of aspirin, pain killer, and fever reducer come from?
  6. What local flora can you harvest for home medicinal remedies?

Looking for answers? Ask our experts at the Symposium!

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Fort Ticonderoga President Beth L. Hill Named 2015 Distinguished Patriot

Beth L Hill, President and CEO of the Fort Ticonderoga Association, has been named the 2015 Distinguished Patriot by the Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York.  The award was presented to Hill for her years of service in the historical profession and her strong leadership at Fort Ticonderoga where she has led the organization’s turn-around and transformed the historic site and museum into a vibrant and thriving cultural destination and learning campus. The 2015 Distinguished Patriot Award was presented at the Annual George Washington Birthday Ball held at the Union League Club in New York City on February 20, 2015. The George Washington Birthday Ball was held to benefit Fraunces Tavern® Museum located in New York.


Beth Hill standing beside the President of the Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York, Ambrose Richardson.

“The Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York honored as its Distinguished Patriot, Beth L. Hill, the President and CEO of the Fort Ticonderoga Association, because of her extraordinary success in preserving and presenting the incredibly rich historical heritage of New York and America,” said Ambrose Madison Richardson, President of the Society.

“I’m extremely honored and deeply touched to receive this prestigious award from the Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York,” said Hill.  “It’s an incredible gift to be able to serve the history and museum profession.  It’s particularly humbling to lead Fort Ticonderoga, one of America’s most significant historic sites, and find new and relevant ways to connect the past to present and future generations. Understanding our nation’s history gives us enhanced capacity for informed citizenship.  The torch has been given to us today to utilize our story – our own laboratory of human experience – as a barometer for what is important, to persevere in the face of challenge, and find hope and inspiration from those that have gone before us.”

Past recipients of the Distinguished Patriot Award include Senator Barry Goldwater, General William C. Westmoreland, Colonel Edwin E. Aldrin, Normand Vincent Peale, D.D, Senator James Buckley, Hon. Jean Kirkpatrick, and Senator Robert Dole. The award is given for outstanding academic or service performance.

About the Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York: Founded in 1884, the Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York, a society of descendents of those who fought in the American Revolutionary War or otherwise placed themselves at risk for the Patriot cause, is devoted to educating the public and preserving the memory of the American Revolutionary War.

About  Fraunces Tavern® Museum: Fraunces Tavern Museum, opened in 1907 by the Sons of the Revolution of New York, is the only New York City museum that exclusively focuses on the American Revolution. The Museum is a 5 building complex containing nine galleries, including the famous Long Room where George Washington bade farewell to the officers of the Continental Army on December 4, 1783. The Museum houses over 3,000 Colonial America, Revolutionary War, and Early Republic artifacts, including a lock of George Washington’s hair. The Museum was landmarked in 1965, marked as a historic district in 1978, and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.

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Horsepower at Ticonderoga: Fort Fever Series Program March 15 examines the role of horses in the military

Fort Ticonderoga launches its third “Fort Fever Series” with a special presentation by Senior Director of Interpretation, Stuart Lilie, who will examine the role of horses in 18th-century military campaigns and on the grounds of Ticonderoga. Lilie will help to piece together the evidence for the lives and labors of horses and logistics involved in their maintenance. The program takes place on Sunday, March 15 at 2 pm in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center at Fort Ticonderoga. The cost for the program is $10 per person and will be collected at the door; free for Members of Fort Ticonderoga.

harvestgallopA member of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum staff since 2011, Stuart Lilie is the Senior Director of Interpretation. He has incorporated his wealth of expertise in 18th-century equestrian studies into numerous areas of Fort Ticonderoga’s museum programs, special events, and workshops. Lilie is a graduate of the College of William & Mary and has worked at numerous historic sites, including Colonial Williamsburg. He is considered a foremost authority in 18th-century saddlery and equine history.

“While Ticonderoga’s strategic location on Lake Champlain made water transport paramount, horses and horsepower played fascinating roles in the events here,” noted Stuart Lilie. “Horses at Ticonderoga were a crucial asset to military function, from the French horses hauling logs while building Fort Carillon to the teams of horses hired by Henry Knox to move the Guns of Ticonderoga to Boston.”

The “Horsepower at Ticonderoga” program will examine specific mounted troops related to Fort Ticonderoga history, including Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold’s 1775 capture of the Fort. It will also provide an overview of the role of mounted soldiers in keeping long lines of communications with the Continental Congress and General Washington, and their participation in the military actions of 1777.

The “Fort Fever Series” is just one of several programs taking place at Fort Ticonderoga this winter. Clothing and Accoutrement Workshops are offered one weekend a month January – April, and the Fourth Annual Garden & Landscape Symposium will be held on April 18th.

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Sneak Peak into Saturday’s Agenda!

Another day of snowfall here in Ticonderoga is a perfect reminder of the savage wintry battle fought between the British rangers and French soldiers just 257 years ago. As we all get ready to gear up and watch the re-enactment of the Battle on Snowshoes this Saturday, let’s not forget all of the other great things we’ll get to be a part of both prior to and following the epic battle.

From 10 am to 4 pm, we will get the opportunity to fully immerse ourselves into the lives of the soldiers that walked these grounds in 1758. The morning will begin with two guided tours; first, an exploration of the walls of Fort Carillon, once alive with military activity, followed by a hike into the North Woods to discover the true significance of guerrilla warfare. Next, we will hear from the Public Historian at Ganondagan State Historic Site, Michael Galban, as he discusses winter survival and technique among the Native inhabitants of eastern NY. All of this builds up to the ambush of Rogers’ Rangers that takes an unexpected turn for the worse. Native warriors and French soldiers overwhelm and shatter Rogers’ 180-man patrol, leaving them with no choice but to retreat back to Fort Edward and accept their worst defeat.

This may signify the end of the skirmish for the French and British, but there is still plenty more for us to experience! Curator of Collections, Matthew Keagle, has prepared a special selection of original objects that were left behind by French Troops stationed at Fort Carillon. They were discovered here during the restoration of Fort Ticonderoga in the early 20th century. The photo shown below is just a sampling of these one-of-a-kind objects. On Saturday, we will have the unique opportunity to discuss the stories behind each item and their role in French military life on the front lines of New France. This will include a dissection of how they match the written record, in addition to an analysis of what doesn’t survive in the archaeological record.

Sneak peak into a selection of objects that Matthew Keagle, Curator of Collections, will be discussing at the Battle on Snowshoes event this Saturday.

Sneak peak into a selection of objects that Matthew Keagle, Curator of Collections, will be discussing at the Battle on Snowshoes event this Saturday.

If this isn’t enough to keep us busy, also available throughout the entire day are opportunities to witness the contrariety in the lives of French soldiers versus officers in their barracks. We can furthermore examine three compelling exhibits that cover the lifestyles, clothing, and ailments of the soldiers occupying Fort Ticonderoga during the 18th century; all of which have contributed to its historically rich culture.

What better way to appreciate this snowy landscape than by seeing how it was utilized generations before? Speaking of snow, don’t forget to bring layers and proper winter footwear! For more information, visit http://www.fortticonderoga.org/events/category-1/battle-on-snowshoes-robert-rogers-ill-fated-raid/detail. Look forward to seeing you there!

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Fort Ticonderoga Offers Scholarships for Annual French & Indian War Conference

large_War-College-logo-web-sizeFort Ticonderoga offers four middle or high school teachers the opportunity to attend the Twentieth Annual War College of the Seven Years’ War May 15-17, 2015, on scholarships. This annual conference focuses on the French & Indian War in North America (1754-1763), bringing together a panel of distinguished historians from around the country and beyond. The War College takes place in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center and is open to the public; pre-registration is required. The scholarships are available for educators who are first-time attendees at the War College.

Begun in 1996, the War College of the Seven Years’ War has become one of the country’s premier seminars on the French & Indian War. It features a mix of new and established scholars in an informal setting for a weekend of presentations related to the military, social, and cultural history of the French & Indian War. Since 2001, Fort Ticonderoga has provided scholarships for 63 teachers from across the country to attend the War College, and an additional 117 teacher scholarships to attend seminars and conferences at the Fort. Teachers attending the War College can earn one graduate credit through Castleton State College.

Teachers interested in applyinlarge_Audience-Shot-web-sizeg for a scholarship to attend this year’s War College should download an application at www.fortticonderoga.org by clicking on “Education” and selecting “Educators” on the drop down menu. Applications are due by March 15th. Successful applicants will receive free registration, two box lunches, and an opportunity to dine with the War College speakers at a private dinner on the Saturday of the War College. Contact Rich Strum, Director of Education, at rstrum@fort-ticonderoga.org if you have questions.

Non-teachers can register to attend the War College as well. The cost is $130 if registering before March 15th; $155 after that date. There are discounts available for Members of Fort Ticonderoga. Registration forms can be downloaded from the Fort’s website at www.fortticonderoga.org by clicking on “Education” and selecting “Workshops and Seminars” on the drop down menu. Printed copies are available by calling (518) 585-2821.

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As You Prepare for Fort Ticonderoga’s Battle On Snowshoes Re-enactment: What You May Not Have Known About Bobby and His Buddies…


Mezzotint “portrait” of Major Robert Rogers, published in London in 1776.

1.  Rogers’ Rangers were a remarkably diverse group

In spite of the French and Indian War’s moniker, not all Native Americans sided with the French. While the majority of them did, numerous tribes remained neutral, backed the British or shifted allegiances as the war progressed.

Robert Rogers had tremendous admiration and respect for the New York Stockbridge Mohican soldiers for their abilities as hunters, warriors and raiders. Thus, he pushed for their inclusion within Ranger companies. By early 1758, the rangers included three all-Indian companies: two of Stockbridge Mohicans, and a third of Natives from Connecticut (mainly Mohegan and Pequot). In fact, Rogers’ Rangers comprised men with several origins. Rogers’ original company was raised in central New Hampshire along the Merrimack River valley, but the rapidly expanding corps started recruiting men from other Northern colonies. Consequently, men of English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, German, Portuguese and Dutch origin made their way into the Rangers. Two companies were recruited from the docks of Boston; Governor William Shirley of Massachusetts remarked in 1756 that “The best of their Men [are] Irish Roman Catholicks, the others mostly Sailors and Spaniards”¹. Among these men was Emanuel la Portgua who was killed at the first Battle on Snowshoes that year.

There are several accounts that illustrate black rangers as well, some of them free men, others servants. One man named Jacob Jones “was in Rogers Rangers three Years, and was at the Battle of Ticonderoga; [and] belonged formerly to one Daniel McCoy, in New York, who lived near the Old-Sly, and that his Master had given his free for serving three Years in the Rangers”².

2.  There is not just one, but three Battles On Snowshoes.

Ranger talk photo 1

Rogers’ Rangers during the 1758 Battle on Snowshoes Re-enactment at Fort Ticonderoga.

Every other year here at Fort Ticonderoga, we get the opportunity to witness the re-enactment of a savage battle fought between the British Rangers and French soldiers on March 13, 1758. Major Robert Rogers and his force head out on an extended scout in three feet of snow, wearing snowshoes, leaving behind a conspicuous trace for their French counterparts. The rangers make a brave stand against superior odds, until heavy casualties left them no choice but to retreat and accept their worst defeat.

A prelude to this battle occurred near Fort Carillon (now Fort Ticonderoga) on January 21, 1757. Similar circumstances were evident, in which Rogers’ Rangers were ambushed by a mixed troop of French regulars, Canadian militiamen, and Indians during a scouting expedition. Although the British had a distinct advantage due to their snowshoes, they were largely outnumbered, suffered heavy casualties and were forced to retreat under the cover of darkness.

Third time’s the charm, right? The final Battle on Snowshoes occurred on March 7, 1759 directly across from Fort Carillon, beginning with a skirmish line composed of Rogers’ Rangers and a number of Iroquois allies. They successfully ambush a French wood-cutting detail on the eastern shore and leave with five prisoners. This action marked the close of Rogers’ overall expedition to make observations of the French defenses on the Carillon peninsula, and to seize prisoners for the acquisition of information that would assist in General Amherst’s attack later that year.


Detail from Thomas Davies' painting “View of the Lines at Lake George.

Detail from Thomas Davies’ painting “View of the Lines at Lake George.

3.  Rogers breaks his own rules

The 28 “Rules of Ranging” are a set of rules and guidelines created by Robert Rogers in 1757, remembered as one of the first written manuals for irregular warfare in North America. Intended to serve as a manual for the Rangers, it seems that Robert Rogers himself was caught making remarkably careless errors on a couple of occasions. One instance of this occurred in 1758 near present day Fort Anne when Major Rogers and a Regular officer were firing at targets upon a wager in enemy territory, which led to their discovery by French troops. They were consequently ambushed, and Isreal Putnam, one of Rogers’ fellow captains, was captured.

But, we have to give credit to Rogers. After all, these rules have been passed down through the centuries to today’s U.S. Army Rangers, with each ranger still being issued an updated version of the “Rules of Ranging”.


4.  Rogers may or may not have slid down Rogers’ Rock

A common folklore concerning the life of Robert Rogers pertains to a factitious-esque triumph that he may or may not have performed during his flight from the scene of the near-annihilation of his detachment at the Battle on Snowshoes on March 13, 1758. While reconnoitering near Ticonderoga with nearly two hundred rangers, a surprise force of French and Indians hit them with a relentless counterattack. After 90 minutes of combat, scores of Rangers fell, and Robert Rogers made the necessary order for the small number of survivors to run for their lives. Following his snowshoe tracks southward, Rogers’ reached what is now called Cook’s Bay and proceeded to ascend up Bald Mountain to avoid the swarm of French and Indians gaining on them. However, what goes up must come down. In climbing Bald Mountain to escape his followers, he must also make his way down the other side. During this retreat the legend of Rogers’ Slide was born, of his escaping the pursuing enemies by sliding down the steep naked precipice on the east face of Bald Mountain (today’s Rogers’ Rock).

rogers rock

Rogers’ Rock, located at the northwest end of Lake George

Now, sliding down any old rock may not seem like quite a feat. But this rock wasn’t named after Robert Rogers for nothing. At a height of nearly eight hundred feet, the east face of Rogers’ Rock is made of steeply sloping (60 degrees) solid rock, grounding itself at the shore of Lake George. Such an incredible exploit could easily be dismissed as impossible, if it weren’t for so many sources that suggest otherwise. It is not certain as to whether Rogers had company during this venture, as there is no clear record of indication.

But of course there are two sides to every story. One tradition describes this event as a solo feat of trickery committed by Robert Rogers. By backtracking in his own snowshoe prints, or reversing his snowshoes, he was able to fool the Indians into thinking he had slid down the rock face, when in fact he had found an alternate route down the mountain. Seeing Rogers walking far below on the ice of the lake toward Fort William Henry with no doubt that the only route he could have taken was down the precipice, they attributed his preservation to the Great Spirit and forbore to fire on him.


5.  Choosing silver over survival.

The St. Francis Raid refers to the attack by Rogers’ Rangers on the village of St. Francis, near the southern shore of the Saint Lawrence River, in what was then New France. The raid consisted of a select corps of rangers who rowed under the cover of darkness from Crown Point to the northern shore of Lake Champlain. They hid their whaleboats in the brush at Missisquoi Bay and continued north on foot, marching through spruce bogs and trackless wilderness. After two days, the men are met with unfortunate news detailed from the two breathless men responsible for guarding their boats.

Regrettably for Rogers, his landing had not gone unnoticed. A large force of French and Indians discovered the whaleboats and quickly began to scour the countryside in an attempt to track the rangers down. Several hundred of their men were stationed near the site where the boats were hidden to set up an ambush in the event of Rogers’ return. This left Rogers with a tremendously difficult choice to make. The reserve stores of food intended for the return trip were left with the boats, so to return home without facing an ambush, the corps must find an alternate route south, absent of supply. The only plausible course was via the Connecticut River Valley, east of Lake Champlain. By this route, they would depend on the stores of corn in St. Francis following the raid to get them home.st francis

Dawn of the attack, Rogers ordered his men to burn the village and kill its men, while sparing the women, children, and storehouses of corn. The attack was a success and the years of Indian raids on the frontier were finally indemnified. The rangers, as quickly as they came, left the burning village and returned into the woods for the journey home.

It soon became very apparent that missteps in caching food stores for the expedition’s use existed, as many rangers filled their knapsacks with the silver of the town’s church rather than the corn of the storehouses. Alas, it was too late to turn back as the vengeful war party following them was only hours behind. The rangers proceeded with minimal rations and the weight of silver southeast toward the Connecticut River Valley, which they would follow south to Fort Number 4. Soon enough, the stores of corn were expended and a remarkably cold winter the year before left little game to hunt. Root, bark, and berries became the main course of their diet, which was of little nutritional value to soldiers aiming to outpace their pursuers.

Aware that his command was in jeopardy of either starvation or annihilation by the enemy, Rogers ordered his party to separate into small bands with the conjecture that they would have a more promising chance of locating sustenance and a less promising chance of being located themselves. Unfortunately, many did not make it home. Some bands were overtaken, unable to resist the tomahawk or war club; others simply lost their way in the depths of the wilderness. Several of the men that did survive the expedition were driven to cannibalism. One ranger reportedly had many scalps in his knapsack and was caught eating the skin of his prizes. Another band found the body of a comrade stuck in a brook’s log jam and devoured it raw.

Rogers, what was left of his corps, and a few captives eventually reach home base after quite a few more hurdles and a valuable lesson learned: it may be beneficial to weigh the pros and cons before choosing silver over sustenance.



French Soldiers during the 1758 Battle on Snowshoes re-enactment at Fort Ticonderoga.

As you can see, Bobby and his Buddies were quite the bunch! The Rangers’ unique military tactics in combination with dedicated persistence has carried their name through history. Here at Fort Ticonderoga, we want to continue this legacy by re-enacting the hectic 1758 Battle on Snowshoes, where the Rangers are faced with the merciless attack by Native American Warriors, French Soldiers and Canadians. On Saturday, February 21, from 10 am – 4 pm, you can immerse yourself in the rich history of an integral and exciting aspect of the French and Indian War.


1. Zaboly, Gary. American Colonial Ranger The Northern Colonies 1724 – 64. Great Britain: Osprey Publishing, 2004.

2. Todish, Timothy J. The Annotated and Illustrated Journals of Major Robert Rogers. New York: Purple Mountain Press, 2002.

*Details also provided by Joseph Zea, Fort Ticonderoga’s Artificer Tailor.

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Area Students to Compete at North Country History Day

history dayTwenty one students from across the North Country will compete in the regional New York State History Day contest held at Fort Ticonderoga on Saturday, March 7, 2015. Students placing first and second in their categories will advance to the New York State History Day Contest in Cooperstown on April 27.

“Each year two million students all across the country participate in the National History Day program,” noted Rich Strum, Fort Ticonderoga’s Director of Education and North Country History Day Regional Coordinator. “Students research history topics of their choice related to an annual theme and create exhibits, documentaries, performances, research papers, and website designs. They may enter in competition at the regional, state, and national level. Participants include students in grades 6-8 in the Junior Division and grades 9-12 in the Senior Division. National History Day also provides educational services to students and teachers, including a summer internship program, curricular materials, internet resources, and annual teacher workshops and training institutes.”

This year’s National History Day theme is “Leadership and Legacy in History”. Student projects can focus on any aspect of American or World history, but must make a connection to the theme.

Recent research shows that students who large_Mr.-Strum-Visit-10-25-12-C-Web-1024x768participate in the National History Day program consistently outperform their peers in state standardized tests, not only in social studies but in science and math as well. Students learn valuable research and critical-thinking skills essential to success in today’s business world.

Members of the public are invited to view student projects from 12 pm – 2 pm. Student-created performances run from 12 pm – 1 pm and exhibits are open from 1 pm – 2 pm. The public can also attend the Awards Ceremony at 2 pm.

North Country History Day takes place in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center at Fort Ticonderoga and has been coordinated by the Fort since 2008. To learn more about North Country History Day and how students can participate, visit www.fortticonderoga.org, click on the “Education” tab and select “Students.”

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Support Fort Ticonderoga at the 21st Annual Ticonderoga Ball: A Fundraising Event at the Union League Club in New York on Friday, March 6

Ti BallSpend an elegant evening at the Union League Club in New York City celebrating Fort Ticonderoga’s history and future. The Ticonderoga Ball will be held on Friday, March 6, 2015 beginning at 7 pm. Music, dancing, a silent auction and a lavish dinner make for a festive black-tie evening benefiting Fort Ticonderoga. Individual tickets are $325 and junior tickets are $210 (30 years old and under); Reservations are required.

“The Ticonderoga Ball is Fort Ticonderoga’s largest fundraising event of the year, “said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO.  “The event, set in the elegant and historic setting of New York’s Union League Club, brings together Fort Ticonderoga supporters from across the United States to celebrate Fort Ticonderoga’s epic history, current programs, and future plans. The Ticonderoga Ball’s theme this year is inspired by Fort Ticonderoga’s 2015 annual focus on its French history in the year 1756. The elegant dinner will be inspired by Fort Ticonderoga’s rich French history which dates to its origin in 1755 when the fort was first established as Fort Carillon in the southernmost part of New France. Support for this event makes possible Fort Ticonderoga’s educational programs, exhibitions, gardens, and all other preservation and restoration efforts.”

The Ticonderoga Ball attracts more than 170 people each year who attend in support of Fort Ticonderoga’s mission of preservation and education. Event honorees for the 21st Annual Ball are Dr. and Mrs. C. Wayne Bardin, longtime Fort Ticonderoga supporters and enthusiastic advocates of Fort Ticonderoga’s French connection. The night begins with a cocktail reception and silent auction at 7 pm; followed by an elegant dinner at 8 pm. A live auction and dancing complete the night. Dance music will be provided by the Lester Lanin Orchestra, known for their unique, homogenized music with lively patina. For more information or to receive an invitation, please contact Martha Strum at 518-585-2821 or by emailing mstrum@fort-ticonderoga.org. There is a flexible RSVP deadline of February 20.

Fort Ticonderoga is an independent non-profit educational organization.  All proceeds for the Ticonderoga Ball support Fort Ticonderoga’s mission to ensure that present and future generations learn from the struggles, sacrifices, and victories that shaped the nations of North America and changed world history.

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Fort Ticonderoga Names Matthew Keagle as Curator of Collections

Curator-MattFort Ticonderoga has announced the appointment of Matthew Keagle to serve as Curator of Collections at Fort Ticonderoga, one of the oldest and most significant historic site and museum in North America.

“Matthew begins his tenure as Curator with tremendous vision and enthusiasm for the future as we move forward with bold plans toward an expanded curatorial program,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO. “He is extremely competent as a leader in the museum profession and has a clear and passionate commitment to developing a premier comprehensive curatorial program that will bring to center stage Fort Ticonderoga’s world renowned collections through exhibitions, digital media, research, programming, and publications.”

“Fort Ticonderoga has always been at the forefront of collecting and interpreting the conflicts that shaped the 18th century. It is a great honor to be entrusted with forwarding a mission begun over a century ago and build upon my predecessor’s excellent work,” said Matthew Keagle. “Material culture represents the most immediate and honest record of the past. The things people engage with everyday are subjected to alteration, wear, and use that reveal many stories if we take the time to look. Fort Ticonderoga’s enviable collections contain all of the elements to narrate the layered stories of this remarkable place and the people that shaped it. Archeological collections reveal what actually happened here at Ticonderoga, while the artifacts collected in the 20th century give context to the archeological material, and the library collections position all of it in the broader theoretical understanding of the 18th century, making the mute objects of Ticonderoga’s past relevant and meaningful in the present.”

Matthew Keagle joined Fort Ticonderoga’s leadership team in May of 2014, serving as Director of Exhibitions. He was named Interim Curator in December 2014 and was recently named Fort Ticonderoga’s Curator of Collections. As the new Curator of Collections, Keagle will utilize his training, scholarship, expertise, and experience to present, augment, and preserve Fort Ticonderoga’s extensive library, archival, and artifact collections as well as oversee Fort Ticonderoga’s broader cultural resources.

Originally from Vermont, Matthew Keagle has been involved in curation, exhibitions, research, historical interpretation, and program development for historic sites and museums in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Delaware, Virginia, North and South Carolina.  He holds a Bachelors degree from Cornell University, a Masters in American Material Culture from the Winterthur Museum, and is currently writing a cultural history of military dress in the Revolutionary Atlantic as a doctoral candidate at the Bard Graduate Center in New York.

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Experience the Battle on Snowshoes at Fort Ticonderoga: Living History Event and Re-enactment Planned for Saturday, February 21

Experience an exciting living history event and battle re-enactment at Fort Ticonderoga highlighting Major Robert Rogers and the Battle on Snowshoes on Saturday, February 21, from 10 am – 4 pm! Visit the French Garrison in the middle of winter inside Fort Ticonderoga and tour through opposing pickets of British rangers and French soldiers, both well trained and adapted to frontier, winter warfare. At 2 pm on Saturday, visitors will experience the hectic tree to tree fighting in a recreated battle. Watch as the rangers make a brave stand against superior odds, only to retreat through the deep woods. Event tickets are $10. Members of Fort Ticonderoga, Ticonderoga Ambassador Pass holders and children age 4 and under are free. For more information call 518-585-2821 or visit www.fortticonderoga.org.

Visitors will be invited to tour Fort Ticonderoga as it appeared in the winter of 1758, and meet the Native American warriors, French soldiers, and Canadians, who delivered the rangers’ worst defeat. See how Natives Americans and French soldiers alike survived the deep winter at this remote military post. More adventurous visitors can take a hike led by a historic interpreter through the uneasy quiet of opposed pickets of soldiers in the deep woods. In these tours visitors can see how rangers kept a vigilant watch for subtle signs that might reveal their ferocious enemy.

“The Battle on Snowshoes event recreates the savage fight between Robert Roger’s rangers, and a mixed French force of regular soldiers, malice, and allied native warriors on March 13, 1758,” said Stuart Lilie, Director of Interpretation at Fort Ticonderoga.  “This event is designed to be a rich experience for both participants and visitors alike.  It will investigate the myths and facts of Robert Rogers and explore why his exploits in the North Woods still fill the popular imagination today.”

Major Robert Rogers force of both volunteers from the 27th foot, and his own rangers headed out on an extended scout from Fort Edward along Lake George, following an attack on a similar patrol from Captain Israel Putnam’s Connecticut rangers. Hiking on snowshoes due to the three feet of snow, the tracks of Roger’s force were spotted on its march up the west side of Lake George. Near the north end of Lake George, Major Rogers’ advanced scouts spotted their French counterparts. Rogers and his Rangers took up positions in a ravine, setting his force in ambuscade to await whatever French patrol would come to meet him.

The French patrol that met Roger’s men proved farlarge_Rangers-2 larger than he imagined, and in this Battle on Snowshoes, the rangers’ ambush was itself surrounded and overwhelmed. In deep woods on deep snow, the rangers were forced to retreat with heavy casualties as the French regulars, malice, and natives pressed home their attack. Despite brave stands along the way, this retreat quickly became chaotic as rangers, Roger’s included, ran for their lives from superior numbers of French.

Visitor Schedule

10 AM Site Opens to Visitors

10:15 AM Guided Tour of Fort Carillon (Begins at the American Flag)

Examine the historic walls and landscape of Fort Carillon and delve back into its early years as a remote, but vital French outpost. Imagine the snow-drifted walls and barracks alive with activity in the winter of 1758 as its soldiers sortied to meet another of Robert Rogers’ patrols.

11 AM Guided Tour of Petite Guerre in the North Woods (Begins at the American Flag—Winter Footwear Recommended)

Beginning from Fort Carillon, take a guided hike into the deep woods around Ticonderoga to encounter Rogers’ Rangers taking a brief respite and weighing their options as they consider what Native warriors or French soldiers might lurk behind the next ridgeline.

12 PM “Their Attire Is No Longer the Ancient One, Made of Skins” Winter Adaptations among Natives in the Colonial Period (Inside the Mars Education Center Great Room)

Join Michael Galban, Public Historian at Ganondagan State Historic Site, as he discusses winter survival and technique among the Native inhabitants of eastern NY. This lecture will focus on the cross-cultural nature of life in the Northeast woodlands.

1:15 PM Guided Tour of Fort Carillon (Begins at the American Flag)

Examine the historic walls and landscape of Fort Carillon to explore its early years as a remote but vital French outpost. Imagine the snow-drifted walls and barracks alive with activity in the winter of 1758 as its soldiers sortied to meet another of Robert Rogers’ patrols.

2 PM Battle on Snowshoes (Begins at the American Flag—Winter Footwear Recommended)

Follow guides out to the deep woods to the west of Fort Ticonderoga to watch the ambush of Rogers’ Rangers become a fight for survival as they struggle to escape back to Fort Edward. See Native warriors and French soldiers overwhelm and shatter Rogers’ 180-man patrol.

2:30 PM Vestiges of Les Troupes (Inside the Mars Education Center Great Room)

Join Fort Ticonderoga Curator of Collections Matthew Keagle to examine what the French troops stationed at Fort Carillon left behind. See what the archeological evidence reveals about the material conditions of French military life on the front lines of New France.

3:00 PM Guided Tour of Fort Carillon (Begins at the American Flag)

Examine the historic walls and landscape of Fort Carillon, to delve back into its early yearsas a remote, but vital French outpost. Imagine the snow-drifted walls and barracks alive with activity in the winter of 1758, as its soldiers sortied to meet another of Robert Rogers’ patrols.

4 PM Site Closes to Visitors


Available 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Soldier’s Quarters (Ground floor the Soldier’s Barracks and Officer’s Barracks)

Which is more important to you: staying warm or personal space? See how French soldiers lived in their quarters inside the barracks and see how messes of soldiers worked together to keep each other in fighting shape.

Officer’s Quarters (Second floor of the Officer’s Barracks)

From a real bed to a servant, from goose comfit to red wine, see how French officers still live like gentlemen at this remote front-line post.

Exhibit: Pork, Pigeon, & Pottery (Ground Floor of the Soldiers’ Barracks)

In this exhibit of original artifacts recovered from the ruins of Fort Ticonderoga explore the meals of soldiers and officers who served inside this ‘Old French Fort.’

Exhibit: It Would Make a Heart of Stone Melt (Ground Floor of the Soldiers’ Barracks)

Smallpox was a very real threat for armies fighting along Lake Champlain. In this visually compelling exhibit see how this disease, as well as battlefield wounds, was handled in the Revolutionary War.

Exhibit: Founding Fashion (Downstairs in the Mars Education Center)

From original 18th-century uniforms to real remains of clothing from the American Revolution, explore this great presentation of myths and realities of clothing from the great campaigns that made Ticonderoga so famous.

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