“What do you do with all your free time when the Fort is closed?” I’ve been asked this question often over the past thirteen years. The quick answer is “What free time?” But the serious answer is that Fort Ticonderoga is a year-round operation and all of us on the staff have plenty to keep us busy throughout the year.
While the gates officially closed for the 2012 season at the end of the day October 18th, programming continues throughout the “closed” season. We just completed our “Flashlight Nights,” giving visitors an opportunity to explore both the Corn Maze and the Fort after dark. You can visit the Fort on December 1st as we recreate the preparations under the oversight of Henry Knox to take dozens of the Fort’s cannon from Ticonderoga to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where General Washington awaits their arrival. On February 23rd, the Fort opens for a day focused on the historic Battle on Snowshoes in the late winter of 1758.
Fort Ticonderoga also hosts the Third Annual “Material Matters: It’s in the Details” Seminar January 26th & 27th. This two-day seminar focuses on 18th-century material culture and is intended for collectors and people with an interest in learning more about objects of the 18th century and what they can tell us about history. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this great weekend!
Fort Ticonderoga’s “Fort Fever Series!” returns in January, with a program led by a Fort staff person once a month January through April. These programs take place on Sunday afternoons at 2:00. The cost is $10 (members of the Friends of Fort Ticonderoga are admitted at no cost). Programs are scheduled for January 13th, February 10th, March 17th, and April 21st.
On March 9th, Fort Ticonderoga again hosts North Country History Day for students in grades 6-12 from Clinton, Essex, Franklin, and Warren counties. This culmination of months of research, writing, and creativity brings together students from across the North Country in a competition focused on this year’s theme of “Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events.” The top two projects in each category advance to New York State History Day, held in Cooperstown at the end of April.
On April 13th, Fort Ticonderoga hosts the Second Annual Garden & Landscape Symposium: “Enhancing Life through Gardening.” This one-day program focuses on practical, easy-to-implement strategies for expanding and improving your garden or landscape. The programs are offered in an informal setting that encourages interaction between speakers and attendees.
We also provide opportunities for school groups throughout the year, both on-site and in the classroom. Thanks to support from the Walter Cerf Community Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation and the Glenn and Carol Pearsall Adirondack Foundation, school outreach programs are available for schools in Vermont’s Addison County and throughout the Adirondack Park at a greatly reduced rate (just $25). These same programs are available throughout the region at regular prices. Our school program “The Artist’s Eye: Geography, History, and Art” is available through the winter months, utilizing works of art in “The Art of War” exhibition housed in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center. And coming soon, information about our new, unique program “The Artificer’s Apprentice,” providing students with a rare chance to learn about and work with our historic trades staff, learning about the production of 18th-century clothing and footwear while trying their hand at some of the skills they’ve learned.
Besides programs, the winter season is time for evaluation and planning. While most of the 2013 calendar is set, there’s lots of planning and implementation to undertake in the coming months. As anyone who’s worked in event planning can tell you, events just don’t happen. They take months and months of careful work and coordination. The brochure for Material Matters is already at the printer and the 2013 War College brochure should be printer-ready in a few weeks.
Likewise, I am already working on some of our 2014 events. In the coming weeks I’ll be identifying and inviting potential speakers for our May 2014 War College of the Seven Years’ War and September 2014 Seminar on the American Revolution, as well as for our other seminar and conference programs.
So, while the transition from open season to closed season means a shift in pace and priorities, there’s really no such thing as an “Off Season” at Fort Ticonderoga. We look forward to your participation in some of our winter/spring events and seeing you at Fort Ticonderoga soon!
Director of Education