Fort Ticonderoga Welcomes Graduate Fellows

(Ticonderoga, NY)  Four graduate students arrived at Fort Ticonderoga in mid-June to begin two-month internships as part of the Edward W. Pell Graduate Fellowship program. The fellowships run through August 12th and include internships in Education, Exhibitions, Horticulture, and Interpretation.

“These fellowships for graduate students in museum studies, museum education, public history, history, public horticulture, American studies, or military history offer an opportunity to work together with our dedicated museum team,” said Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO Beth Hill. “The Fellows will focus their research and creative energy to support exhibitions and programs related to the year 1757 at Fort Ticonderoga.”

“While working individually with their project supervisors,” added Rich Strum, Director of Education, “Fellows will also meet and work together throughout the two-month experience. They will have an opportunity to work with Fort Ticonderoga’s professional staff as part of our collaborative approach to all major projects.”

This year’s Graduate Fellows are:

Education—Elizabeth Scully, from New York University

Exhibition—Connor Wilson, from Texas State University

Horticulture—Riley Clark-Long, from Connecticut College

Interpretation—James Wils, from North Carolina State University

Each Fellow receives a $2,500 stipend along with on-site housing. Fort Ticonderoga received 28 applications from 26 different university programs for the four available fellowships.

Grad Fellows for Press Release

The Edward W. Pell Graduate Fellowships launched in 2015 with four graduate students from Stonybrook University, Texas State University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Western Michigan University. Projects completed by the 2015 fellows included researching and cataloging artillery-related artifacts and the design of hands-on components for the new exhibition “The Last Argument of Kings: The Art and Science of 18th-Century Artillery” which opened in May 2016. Another fellow conducted research and transcribed the Philip Skene Papers in the collection for use with the 2016 Fort Ticonderoga Teacher Institute focused on “British Perspectives on the American Revolution.” The Interpretation Fellow delved into the British use of Canadian Corvée during the 1777 invasion of New York. That ground-breaking research led to an invitation for Fellow Richard Tomczak to present his research at the 1st Conference of the European Labor History Network in Turin, Italy, in December 2015.

The Edward W. Pell Graduate Fellowships at Fort Ticonderoga are made possible with the support from the Edward W. Pell Education Endowment at Fort Ticonderoga and generous individual donor support. Graduate students interested in learning more about the 2017 Edward W. Pell Graduate Fellowships should contact Rich Strum, Director of Education, at rstrum@fort-ticonderoga.org.

Photo:  2016  Edward W. Pell Graduate Fellows Riley Clark-Long, Connor Wilson, James Wils, and Elizabeth Scully.

 

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Celebrate Independence at Fort Ticonderoga! Special Living History Event: July 2-4

 

Morning orders (Indep. Press Release)

(Ticonderoga, NY) Join Fort Ticonderoga July 2-4 for a three-day celebration this Independence Day weekend.  Come celebrate freedom by exploring the year 1777 when America was consumed in the labor of liberty. Participate in the fight for freedom when the Northern Department of the Continental Army fought to keep the great fortress of Ticonderoga from falling into British control. Thrill at the power of artillery during cannon demonstrations and march to the beat of the Fife and Drum Corps as they perform patriotic music throughout the weekend. Admission to this special holiday living history event, July 2-4, is included in a Fort Ticonderoga general admission ticket.  For the full event schedule and to learn more about the event visit http://www.fortticonderoga.org/events/fort-events/independence-day-weekend-1/detail  or call 518-585-2821.

“Step into a hive of military activity as you meet the soldiers working feverishly to fortify the great camp Ticonderoga and build outer military defenses,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO. “Walk along teamsters and oxen as they help in the work. Visit a trades shop to discover how tradesmen known as artificers worked to resupply soldiers with clothing, shoes, and equipment. Observe rations cooked, lumber cut, and the army in motion prepared to hold their ground for freedom. View Fort Ticonderoga from all perspectives on the eve of the siege – from the peninsula, to the waters of Lake Champlain upon the Vessel Carillon, and atop Mount Defiance for a birds-eye view of history.”

Other activities during this special Independence Day weekend will include daily soldier’s life programs, special tours, the King’s Garden, musket firing demonstration, Mount Defiance tours, and museum exhibitions.

About Ticonderoga on Independence Day 1777:

1776 is famous for the signing of the Declaration, but what was happening at Ticonderoga in July of 1777? The scene was uncertainty, trepidation, and the expectation of a British attack.  By July 2nd, the siege of Ticonderoga was underway. British and Brunswick soldiers began to surround the great camp and build lines of attack, commencing the bombardment.  On July 5, British General Burgoyne captured Fort Ticonderoga forcing the American retreat.

Photo: Celebrate Independence at Fort Ticonderoga – America’s Fort™! Credit Fort Ticonderoga.

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Fort Ticonderoga Specialty Tours Offered this Summer

(Ticonderoga, NY) Immerse yourself in the epic history and incredible natural beauty at Fort Ticonderoga with richly informative and entertaining guided specialty tours this summer. Thrill at the power of artillery during Guns by Night tour; join the SoldierGuns by Night2016 for an Evening program to enlist with your family and friends in the Continental Army; discover the history within the walls of the 1826 Historic Pavilion house during the Pavilion Promenade tour; and enjoy a sunset cruise aboard Fort Ticonderoga’s Vessel Carillon to discover why Lake Champlain is one of America’s most historic waterways. All prices are in addition to Fort Ticonderoga admission and advanced purchase is required. Space is limited for tours. To learn more about our specialty tours visit www.fortticonderoga.org or call 518-585-2821.

 

Pavilion Promenade

Join Fort Ticonderoga’s Curator of Collections for a rare look inside the building where the preservation of Fort Ticonderoga began. Step inside the Pavilion, currently closed to the general public, to learn about the men and women who saved Ticonderoga from destruction and made their home on the shores of Lake Champlain. As the oldest intact structure remaining on the garrison grounds, explore the stories of the building from the 19th and 20th centuries, as the sun sets over the lake, and discover how modern science combined with old-fashioned historical research has helped to shed light on the building’s secrets.  Pavilion Promenade begins at 5:00 pm near the Guest Service Desk in the Log House Welcome Center. Tours take place every Wednesday July through August. The cost of this specialty adventure is $35 per person.

 

Soldier for an Evening!

Now is your chance to enlist in the Continental Army! Allow Fort Ticonderoga to introduce a new and exciting evening program presented July 4, 12, 19, 26 and August 2, 9, 16 and 23 at 6:30 pm. During this program, you and your family can join together as new recruits to see what it was like to be a soldier at Fort Ticonderoga in 1775 as the dawn of the American Revolution. Raise your hand to affirm your allegiance to the 13 United States of America, and your journey will begin! During your participation in Soldier for an Evening, you will witness the power and use of 18th-century guns during the musket demonstration and practice formation tactics. Be prepared to march! The soldiers’ experience comes to life as participants explore key aspects of the American Revolution. This program is a strong cooperative activity and is great for families and groups.  The cost of this family adventure is $35 per person; advanced registration is required.

 

The Sunset Cruise

Whether by Samuel de Champlain in 1609 or Ethan Allen in 1775, Ticonderoga was explored, ascended, and defended by water. Now you can have the waterborne thrill of viewing the Fort’s majesty and exploring the region by riding on the tour boat, Carillon, a 60-foot, 49-passenger luxury vessel.  Enjoy an unforgettable experience and witness a mountainside sunset on Lake Champlain during a unique 90 minute evening cruise. Tours take place every Wednesday, July through August from 6:30 – 8:00 pm.  Space is limited to 30 participants per tour, advanced reservations are recommended or tickets, as available, can be purchased on the day of the tour at the Guest Services Desk in the Log House Welcome Center.  The cost is $35 per person. The tour will proceed rain or shine; however, in the event of inclement weather that prevents the cruise vessel from operating, tickets will be refunded. Beer, wine, and other snacks and refreshments are available during the tour. Boxed dinners are available with advanced notice.

*If you are interested in combining this cruise with the same-day “Pavilion Promenade” tour, a $10 discount will be applied.

 

Guns by Night

Experience the flash of musketry and roar of cannon fire by night in this unique 90-minute tour and demonstration of 18th-century guns, big and small! Explore the workings of the firelocks and cannons that armed the many garrisons of Fort Ticonderoga and influenced and shaped the strategic importance of this significant frontier citadel. Learn how these great guns were used to attack and defend the Fort during the French & Indian War and made it such an important prize in the American Revolution. The tour concludes with a dramatic nighttime demonstration of weapons that you will not see anywhere else!  Starting at 8:00 pm, this is a rain or shine tour that will take approximately an hour and a half to complete. The gate opens at 7:30 pm.  Limited space and advanced reservations are required, so get your ticket today! This remarkable opportunity costs $35 per person.

 

“Our special programs allow guests to enrich their Fort Ticonderoga experience through tours and demonstrations, focusing on unique parts of history, led by our staff of engaging historians,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO. “These tours and events are perfect for a family outing, activity with friends, or an evening out alone! “

America’s Fort is a registered trademark of the Fort Ticonderoga Association.

Photo Credit: Fort Ticonderoga Guns by Night Program

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Fort Ticonderoga sets sail on the Carillon Cruise Boat! Waterway tours offered May through October

Fort Ticonderoga, a not-for-profit educational organization, museum, and major cultural destination, is ready to set sail on Lake Champlain aboard its newCarillon 2016 Vessel Carillon. Boat tours begin May 27th aboard Vessel Carillon, a 60-foot, 49-passenger tour boat. Tours, sunset cruises, and charters will be offered on the Carillon through October. 90 minute Daily tours are offered Tuesday through Sunday at 11am, 1:30 pm, and 4 pm. Sunset cruises are available on Wednesdays evening at 6:30 pm in July and August. Tickets for the boat cruise can be purchased at Fort Ticonderoga or in advance by calling 518-585-2821.  For more information visit www.fortticonderoga.org.

“Fort Ticonderoga is thrilled to have the opportunity to expand its cultural destination experience to the internationally significant waters of Lake Champlain. The lake is a tremendous asset for our North Country region and with Fort Ticonderoga’s 2 miles of shoreline and story that is intricately linked to Lake Champlain, the development of a water experience is an obvious next step in our program development,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO. “Thanks in part to a New York Empire State Development grant and other generous supporters, Fort Ticonderoga’s waterway experience expands our tourism demographic, increase the length of stay of our guests, connect our historic properties on both sides of Lake Champlain, and highlight Ticonderoga’s epic story in a new and exciting way. We are particularly enthusiastic about this project as it is directly linked with a Town of Ticonderoga priority to increase access and waterway experiences through tourism development.”

Fort Ticonderoga acquired the Carillon in 2015 thanks to generous donor support. Funding was also received in 2015 through the New York State Regional Economic Development grant awards to support the first phase of development in a waterway transportation and recreation system including the installation of a dock.

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Celebrate the Scot in You! Fort Ticonderoga Presents Lively Scots Day Event June 18

 

scots day imageFort Ticonderoga will present the ninth Annual Scots Day on Saturday, June 18th. The commemoration of Scottish heritage and culture, as well as their significant contributions to 18th-century North American history, runs from 9:30 am to 5 pm. Tour the Scottish Clan tents and vendors to discover more about your own connection to Scottish culture, and explore centuries of stories, based on Scottish soldiers in the British Army, through a military timeline offered throughout the day. The event will also include activities such as Border Collie demonstrations with Stephen Wetmore, and harmonious Pipe performances featuring the Plattsburgh Police Pipes and Drums and The King’s Highlanders. Admission to Scots Day is included in a Fort Ticonderoga’s general admission ticket. To learn more about the event, participating vendors and clans, and the full schedule, visit www.fortticonderoga.org or call 518-585-2821.

Special Memorial Ceremony

A special memorial ceremony honoring the 42nd Highland Regiment, also known as the Black Watch, will take place at the Scottish Cairn on the Carillon Battlefield located at Fort Ticonderoga.  The procession to the Cairn will begin at 11:15 am at the Log House Welcome Center. The Memorial Ceremony will take place at 11:30 am and will remember the incredible bravery and discipline of the Black Watch against insurmountable odds at the 1758 Battle of Carillon.

Bagpipe Performances

Hear the sounds of Scottish bagpipe music throughout the day as the Plattsburgh Police Pipes and Drums and The King’s Highlanders perform lively concerts on the Fort’s historic Parade Ground.

Participating Clans

Clan Buchanan

Clan Campbell

Clan Forbes

Clan Hamilton

Clan MacPherson

Clan Rose

Participating Organizations and Information Tents

St. Andrew’s Society of the Adirondacks

St. Andrew’s Society of the City of Albany

Tartan and Clan Information Tent

Black Watch Military Living History Programs

Discover the history of the Black Watch Regiment through living history programs presented throughout the day by members of a Black Watch re-enactor unit from Montreal. Highlighted programs include a living history time-line of the Regiment. The re-enacting group depicts its history from the 18th century through the early 21st century, with various members representing different significant points in the unit’s history. Learn about the incredible bravery and discipline of the Black Watch against insurmountable odds at the 1758 Battle of Carillon.

The 42nd Highland Regiment, also known as the Black Watch, played a crucial role at Ticonderoga during the Battle of Carillon on July 8, 1758. The regiment suffered over 50% casualties during the failed British assault on the French Lines at Ticonderoga during the French & Indian War. Ticonderoga continued to be an important part of the regiment’s history. During its involvement in the Iraq War, the Black Watch Regiment’s base near Basra was called “Ticonderoga.”

 

 

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Celebrate Memorial Day Weekend at Fort Ticonderoga

Spend an Unforgettable Memorial Day Weekend at Fort Ticonderoga - America's Fort

Experience an Unforgettable Memorial Day Weekend at Fort Ticonderoga – America’s Fort

Join Fort Ticonderoga on Memorial Day weekend, May 28-30, to salute the service of the armed forces of the United States on the very grounds where so many American soldiers fought and sacrificed. Parade into Fort Ticonderoga behind the Fife and Drum Corps during a special program on Memorial Day at 11 am, and step back in time to meet the soldiers of the American Revolution. Experience all aspects of the life of the Continental Army soldier in 1776, from their weapons to their rations, and learn about what they believed would come from their sacrifice in the name of liberty. Construction of soldier’s huts will be led by Museum Staff throughout the weekend, continuing Fort Ticonderoga’s project in experimental archaeology to recreate houses and huts built by Pennsylvania soldiers at Ticonderoga in 1776.

A full line-up of programs offered throughout the weekend include daily tours in the fort, King’s Garden, and exhibition spaces; historic trades programs; Vessel Carillon boat tours on Lake Champlain; cannon demonstrations; musket demonstrations; and the Mount Defiance experience. Fort Ticonderoga’s Battlefield Hiking Trail and canoe rentals on Lake Champlain will also be available beginning Memorial Day weekend.

The Fort Ticonderoga experience includes boat tours on Lake Champlain, Mount Defiance experience, daily musket and cannon demonstrations, historic trades, exhibitions, soldier's life programs, King's Garden and more!

The Fort Ticonderoga experience includes boat tours on Lake Champlain, Mount Defiance experience, daily musket and cannon demonstrations, historic trades, exhibitions, soldier’s life programs, King’s Garden and more!

“Spend the day at Fort Ticonderoga this Memorial Day weekend,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO. “See Fort Ticonderoga at the beginning of the American Revolution in 1776; a hive of activity as citizens turned soldiers as they build extensive lines of defenses across the Ticonderoga peninsula and beyond to try to secure to secure this vital stronghold from the British. Throughout the weekend, visitors will witness the labor of liberty as soldiers from the Continental Army bring to life this defining story through military drill, historic trades, and fatigue duties such as carpentry.”

A 10% general admissions discount will be given to active duty military members with proof of service for this special weekend event. For more information, visit our calendar at www.fortticonderoga.org or call 518-585-2821.

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“Hands-on Minds-on!” Grants Support Fort Ticonderoga School Outreach

Thanks to generous support from several foundations, Fort Ticonderoga served over 800 students throughout the Adirondacks and in western Vermont during the current school year. The “Soldier’s Life at Fort Ticonderoga” program made up the majority of the programs.

Fort Ticonderoga Museum Staff engaged more than 800 fourth grade students through Outreach Programs during the current school year.

Fort Ticonderoga Museum Staff engaged more than 800 fourth grade students through Outreach Programs during the current school year.

This program provides students with a tangible, hands-on, minds-on experience of history,” said Judy Contompasis, School and Youth Programs Coordinator at Fort Ticonderoga. “Students are encouraged to think critically about the lives of soldiers during the American Revolution and determine the logistics required to supply the army at Fort Ticonderoga. Students discover how the geography of Ticonderoga influenced the history of North America.”

Lisa Fabin, a fourth grade teacher from Minerva Central School, noted “It was wonderful and the students loved the program. They were able to touch the reproduction clothes that a soldier wore. They saw the pack that was used to carry the blanket, food, soap, and writing notebook in it. The canteen and the gunpowder horn were also a part of the soldier’s gear. They not only learned about the gear but they also learned how many pounds and tons of gear were needed for the troops during wartime. They were using math and thinking skills! As a veteran teacher I know that kids learn by doing, holding, tasting, touching, creating, and viewing artifacts!”

“This was spot-on for what our students are learning right now, thank you for visiting our classroom!” added Anna Howell, from Lincoln Community School in Lincoln, Vermont.
The programs featured both an educator and an historical interpreter going into fourth grade classrooms. In total, 812 students were served in 23 different schools throughout the region. Fort Ticonderoga staff logged over 1,500 miles during the year traveling to schools.
Generous grant support made possible these in-classroom programs. Programs within the Adirondack Park were supported by the Lake Placid Education Foundation while programs in Vermont’s Addison County received support from the Walter Cerf Community Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation.

Teachers’ interested in booking a program for the coming 2016-17 school year are invited to contact Fort Ticonderoga Education Department at 518-585-6370 to place their name on a waiting list pending anticipated funding.. The programs are offered late October 2016 through mid-April 2017 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. To learn more about education programs from Fort Ticonderoga, visit www.FortTiconderoga.org and select the “Education” tab on the menu.

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Developing Important Skills for the Next Generation

So, what does developing skills in history have to do with advancing the United States in the global economy? How does history hold its own in a world focused on science, technology, engineering, and math? Turns out, the skills cultivated through the study of history prove to be integral to developing the types of skills today’s business leaders are looking for in new hires.

Norm Augustine, a former chairman and CEO at Lockheed Martin, sounded the alarm a few years ago about the state of education in the United States. The nation was falling behind its global competitors. Did Mr. Augustine suggest more rigorous course-work in the sciences? In math? In engineering? No! He encouraged a renewed emphasis on history.

What does the ability to rattle of names and dates have to do with American success internationally? Nothing. But then, that’s not what history is about. The study of history, when it gets beyond the “dates and names” approach, teaches a number of skills valued by the corporate world: critical thinking, research skills, and the ability to communicate clearly. Augustine notes: “a candidate who demonstrates capabilities in critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and communication has a far greater chance of being employed today than his or her counterpart without those skills.” And he adds that these skills “are competencies that our public elementary and high schools can and should be developing through subjects like history.”

NHD wht-red“Students who are exposed to more modern methods of history education—where critical thinking and research are emphasized—tend to perform better in math and science” Augustine wrote. “As a case in point, students who participate in National History Day—actually a year-long program that gets students in grades 6-12 doing historical research—consistently outperform their peers on state standardized tests, not only in social studies but in science and math as well.”

The National History Day program has been around since 1982. Millions of students from all 50 states, as well as U.S. territories and Defense Department schools around the world, participate in the History Day program. Each year, National History Day identifies a theme—the theme for the coming 2016-17 school year is “Taking a Stand in History!” Students select a topic related to the theme that interests them and begin the research process.

Janet Denney.MORIAH NY 518 546 3495

St. Mary’s School student Lorelei Leerkes with her exhibit on Samuel de Champlain at North Country History Day 2016.

Participating students have multiple options. If writing is their strength, they can write a historical paper. Students with a good sense of design might opt to construct a table-top exhibit. Those prone to theatre might create a performance. The documentary category is suited for those good with a camera and at telling a story. More computer-savvy students may opt for designing a website. But key components to all projects are learning to conduct research.

Students analyze historical sources and make judgement calls on which sources are reliable. They learn the value of consulting primary sources and multiple points of view. They create a thesis and find supporting evidence. They draw conclusions based on their research. They learn how to communicate their findings through various media and in the interview with judges that’s an integral part of the History Day experience. In essence, everything Mr. Augustine is looking for in a new hire in the business world is developed and cultivated in the National History Day program.

Since 2008, Fort Ticonderoga has coordinated North Country History Day for New York State. Students from six New York counties (Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, St. Lawrence, and Warren) participate at Fort Ticonderoga early each March. Those who place first and second in each category advance to represent the region at New York State History Day in Cooperstown in April. The top entries there advance to National History Day, held in College Park, Maryland, in June.

Most students who participate in History Day never advance beyond the school or regional level, but they take away valuable skills—those skills Mr. Augustine and his colleagues are looking for. Every student receives constructive feedback from the panel of judges. Judges come from as far away as Albany to participate in North Country History Day each year. Judges are current and retired educators, archivists, museum and historic site staff, and others from the local and regional community interested in working with students.

This year’s North Country students represented the region well at New York State History Day. Homeschooler Grace Sayward, from the Plattsburgh area, placed second in the Junior Historical Paper category for her paper on “Marjorie Lansing Porter” and will represent New York at National History Day next month.

Janet Denney.MORIAH NY 518 546 3495

Alice Cochran, Christina Lasway, and Nicholas Manfred from Moriah Central School

Alice Cochran, Christina Lashway, and Nicholas Manfred, from Moriah Central School in Port Henry, placed third in the Senior Group Exhibit category for their exhibit “The Bracero Program.” They are designated alternates; should the first or second place entries be unable to advance to National History Day, they would move on to represent New York State.

Ben Caito and Liam Sayward, homeschoolers from the Plattsburgh area, won a special award from the New York State Historical Association for an outstanding project exploring New York History for their Senior Group Documentary “Verplank Colvin: an Exchange of Ideas.”

Fort Ticonderoga also sponsored a state-wide award at this year’s New York State History Day for an outstanding entry related to Colonial or Revolutionary history. The winner of the Fort Ticonderoga Colonial History Award was Ewan Todt-Tutchener from Ithaca High School in Ithaca, New York, for his Senior Historical Paper on “To Please the Indians: Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange on the Canadian Frontier.”

Mr. Augustine would be proud of our North Country students. He believes the American economy will thrive “because of a ready supply of workers with critical thinking, creative problem-solving, technological, and communications skills needed to fuel productivity and growth. The subject of history is an important part of that foundation!”

 

Rich Strum

Director of Education

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My Clothes are Hand Stitched, But No One Will Talk to Me

3 Tips for Getting Conversation with Visitors Going

conversation with visitorsFor re-enactors, living historians, and the like, a lot of work goes into the details of bringing history to life for visitors you hope to inspire or educate. Maybe you’ve stayed up all night finishing off that new broadcloth coat or worsted gown. Maybe you’ve driven ten hours to be on the original battlefield, on the same day and same time as the actual battle. Sometimes the public, the very folks you are trying to engage, just won’t come see what you’re doing. They walk around you or snap a picture and walk away. If this sounds familiar, you may be giving off some subtle cues that keep visitors away. Interpretation–the art of engaging people with the people and stories that make history come alive—is an art to be mastered in its own right. However, there are a few tricks that can make your next living history event come alive. Make all the work that goes into doing great living history count:  talk to some visitors.

Just say, “Hello”

DSC_5401Even though living history is nothing new, visitors don’t necessarily know what your deal is. They don’t know if you are portraying a character or what’s going on. You have to make the first move and greet visitors you encounter. Period clothing, especially uniforms with period arms and accouterments, set you apart and can be intimidating. Simply saying, “hello,”, “good morning,” or “welcome,” lets folks know that despite the historic attire, you are a regular, approachable human being. This simple step lets folks know that you are available to talk. Body language is important too; we all know what bad service in a store looks like and how it makes us feel. Don’t accidently do this to visitors. Greet folks with a genuine smile. Even if you are seated or working with your hands, look up at people you greet. A friendly greeting breaks the ice and lets people know you’re there to talk, hopefully about the really cool period activity you are doing.

Don’t Huddle

conversation with visitorsPart of the fun of living history events is hanging out with old friends at the event. It’s easy to circle together and catch up. While this is a lot of fun, it sends a very clear signal to visitors. Football teams huddle for a reason: to keep the other team out of the discussion. Spread out to make space for visitors to join the conversation. Breaking open circles will allow you to greet and invite visitors in, without giving the impression that visitors are interrupting.

Numbers are Intimidating

IMG_7466A whole platoon or more of re-enactors is imposing to visitors. It is wonderful to create the real size and spectacle of military units. It can give folks a perspective on the scale of events we are trying to portray. The weight of numbers that made military units useful is imposing to visitors. Snappy drill and a military bearing, which make for a better presentation, make these portrayals even more imposing. Activities like firings and drill require safety margins, but don’t miss out on a great conversation about what’s going on. To have the imposing spectacle of numbers while interacting with visitors, pull out a handful of re-enactors to go out and engage visitors. These individuals will be more approachable, to explain the demonstration, be it firings, maneuvers, or even cooking mess en-masse. This problem is not unique to military portrayals, any large living history activity—framing a building, washing laundry—can be big and impressive enough to keep visitors away. Here too, take the spare hands from the work, get them out talking to visitors. You’re doing something cool; make sure visitors get the opportunity to know just how neat it is.

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Regional Students Win Awards at New York State History Day

New York State History Day

Image of New York State History Day winners Alice Cochran, Christina Lashway, and Nicholas Manfred from Moriah Central School.

Several North Country students won recognition at New York State History Day, held in Cooperstown, New York, on Monday, April 18. Grace Sayward, a homeschool student from the Plattsburgh area, placed second in the Junior Historical Paper category. Alice Cochran, Christina Lashway, and Nicholas Manfred, from Moriah Central School, placed third in the Senior Group Exhibit category. Ben Caito and Liam Sayward, homeschool students from the Plattsburgh area, were awarded a special prize from the New York State Historical Association.

Over 450 students from across the state participated at New York State History Day, part of the National History Day program that begins with regional contests around the state. North Country History Day includes students from Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, St. Lawrence, and Warren counties and is held at Fort Ticonderoga each March. Winners at the regional level advance to compete in Cooperstown. Winners at the state level advance to National History Day held in College Park, Maryland, each June.

Grace Sayward competed in the Junior Historical Paper category with her entry on “Marjorie Lansing Porter.” She placed second and qualifies to represent New York State at National History Day, to be held June 12-16, 2016, in College Park, Maryland.

Alice Cochran, Christina Lashway, and Nicholas Manfred competed in the Senior Group Exhibit category with their entry on “The Bracero Program.” They placed third and are designated alternates. Should either the first or second place entries be unable to advance to the national contest, they would represent New York State at National History Day in June. Their entry also won the New York State Archives special prize for the best use of primary sources at North Country History Day held in March at Fort Ticonderoga.

Ben Caito and Liam Sayward competed in the Senior Group Documentary category with their entry “Verplank Colvin: An Exchange of Ideas.” They won the New York State Historical Association Award for an outstanding entry exploring New York State History.

Students from Gouverneur Central School, Moriah Central School, Peru Junior Senior High School, and St. Mary’s School (Ticonderoga) also represented the region at New York State History Day on April 18.

Fort Ticonderoga sponsored a state-wide award at this year’s New York State History Day. The Fort Ticonderoga Colonial History Award went to Ewan Todt-Tutchener from Ithaca High School. His Senior Historical Paper on “To Please the Indians: Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange on the Canadian Frontier” was recognized as an outstanding entry related to Colonial or Revolutionary history.

National History Day is the nation’s leading program for history education in schools. The program annually engages 2 million people in 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, and Guam. 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. Fort Ticonderoga hosts teacher workshops about History Day each fall in the North Country and Regional Coordinator Rich Strum is available to meet with teachers at their schools to introduce the program. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal in 2011, “Students who participate in National History Day—actually a year-long program that gets students in grades 6-12 doing historical research—consistently outperform their peers on state standardized tests, not only in social studies but in science and math as well.”

Teachers and students from Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, St. Lawrence, and Warren counties interested in participating in North Country History Day during the 2016-17 school year should contact Rich Strum, North Country Regional Coordinator for New York State History Day, at rstrum@fort-ticonderoga.org or at (518) 585-6370.

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