Go Beneath Fortress Walls at Fort Ticonderoga: Exciting New Tour Guides Visitors underneath the stone walls of Fort Ticonderoga

 

IMG_2824Join Fort Ticonderoga’s Curator of Collections, Matthew Keagle, for a unique opportunity to go underneath the stone walls of Fort Ticonderoga, off limits to the general public. Experience an in-depth exploration of Fort Ticonderoga’s hidden past to see remarkably preserved evidence of the Fort’s original structures, and discover how the Fort was built, and re-built, and how these spaces now support the modern museum. Beneath Fortress Walls begins at 5 pm near the Guest Services Desk in the Log House Welcome Center. Tours take place every other Wednesday July through August. The cost of this specialty adventure is $35 per person.

“Over 250 years ago French soldiers dug, chiseled, and blasted their way into the very rock of the Ticonderoga peninsula to create a fortress to defend New France,” said Matthew Keagle, Fort Ticonderoga’s Curator of Collections. “Within just a few decades from those first hammer blows, New France had fallen, a new nation was created, and Fort Ticonderoga had fallen into ruin. When it was restored in the early 1900s, much of what remained from the original fort was entombed beneath the reconstructed walls. This tour will go underneath and inside the fort to visit these areas, and uncover the handiwork of French masons and soldiers who toiled here two centuries ago.”

In addition to the Beneath Fortress Walls tour, visitors can immerse themselves in the epic history and incredible natural beauty at Fort Ticonderoga with several other richly informative and entertaining guided specialty tours this summer. Thrill at the power of artillery during the Guns by Night tour; enlist in the Continental Army in the To Act as One United Body tour; examine and handle original 18th-century weapons during the Beyond Bullets and Blades tour; and discover the Sunsets and Secrets in the 1826 Historic Pavilion house tour. Advanced reservations are required. To learn more about our specialty tours call 518-585-2821 or click here.

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Registration Now Open for Annual Fort Ticonderoga Seminar on the American Revolution

 

James Kirby Martin 3

James Kirby Martin, from the University of Houston, is one of nine presenters at Fort Ticonderoga’s Twelfth Annual Seminar on the American Revolution September 25-27, 2015.

Registration is now open for the Twelfth Annual Fort Ticonderoga Seminar on the American Revolution September 25-27, 2015. This annual seminar focuses on the military, political, and social history of the War for American Independence (1775-1783), bringing together a panel of distinguished historians from around the country and beyond. The Seminar takes place in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center and is open to the public; pre-registration is required.

Begun in 2004, the Seminar on the American Revolution has become a noted venue for presenters, featuring 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 Revolution. Speakers include:

  • Joseph M. Adelman, professor of history at Framingham State University, “News of the Killing Stamp: Information Networks and the Stamp Act Crisis.”
  • Stephen Brumwell, author of George Washington: Gentleman Warrior, “George Washington at War.”
  • Michael Harris, author of Brandywine: A Military History of the Battle that Lost Philadelphia but Saved America, September 11, 1777, “General John Sullivan and the Battle of Brandywine.
  • James Kirby Martin, Cullen University Professor of History at the University of Houston, and Mark Edward Lender, Emeritus Professor of History at Kean University, “Celebrating ‘A Respectable Army’: George Washington and the Making of the Continental Military Establishment.”
  • John Nagy, scholar in residence at Saint Francis University, “The Most Dangerous Spy in American History: Dr. Benjamin Church.”
  • Bruce M. Venter, author of The Battle of Hubbardton, “The Battle of Hubbardton: The Rear Guard Action that Saved the Northern Army.
  • Philip D. Weaver, independent historian, “The 2nd New-York Provincial Battalion (1775): On Additional Continental Service.”
  • William M. Welsh, president of the American Revolution Round Table of Richmond, “Washington’s Lieutenants: The Generals of the Continental Army.”
  • Marko Zlatich, Library of the Society of the Cincinnati, “George Washington: The Soldier in the Blue and Buff Uniform.”

The Seminar also features a presentation by Fort Ticonderoga’s Curator of Collections Matthew Keagle. Keagle will give a presentation “Whose Brunswickers? A Visual and Material Mystery.” Follow the trail of a series of watercolors thought to depict Brunswick soldiers from the American Revolution. An analysis of these images reveals a complex story of the international soldier trade of the 18th century, friendships forged through the American War, and ultimately the re-discovery of material culture that sheds light on the uniforms of Britain’s German Auxiliaries.

Registration for the Seminar is now open at $155 ($130 for those registering by July 15); additional discounts available for members of Fort Ticonderoga. Registration forms can be downloaded from Fort Ticonderoga’s website at www.fortticonderoga.org under the “Education” tab by selecting “Workshops and Seminars” on the drop down menu. A printed copy is also available upon request by contacting Fort Ticonderoga at 518-585-2821.

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Discover Sunsets and Secrets at Fort Ticonderoga: Exciting New Tour Guides Visitors Through One of America’s Most Historic Houses

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. 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. Sunsets and Secrets begins at 5 pm near the Guest Service Desk in the Log House Welcome Center. Tours take place every other Wednesday July through August. The cost of this specialty adventure is $35 per person.

Pavilion 2014“Walk in the footsteps of Robert Todd Lincoln, President William Howard Taft, and hundreds of others who have visited the Pavilion over almost two centuries,” said Matthew Keagle, Fort Ticonderoga’s Curator of Collections. “This is a rare chance to step inside the oldest intact structure remaining on the garrison grounds, off limits for almost 30 years and only just now starting to give up the secrets of its construction and use.”

The Pavilion was built as a summer home in 1826 by William Ferris Pell.  He and his family occupied the home through the 1830s.  By the early 1840s, the house had begun to be used as a hotel, its primary function through 1900.  As a hotel, the house welcomed travelers passing through Ticonderoga by steamboat on Lake George and Lake Champlain.  The hotel is known to have accommodated such guests as Robert Todd Lincoln, son of President Abraham Lincoln; the prominent French & Indian War historian, Francis Parkman; and prolific Adirondack photographer, Seneca Ray Stoddard.  When William Ferris Pell’s great-grandson, Stephen H.P. and his wife Sarah G.T. Pell began the restoration of Fort Ticonderoga in 1909, they simultaneously undertook the restoration of the Pavilion and used the house as a summer residence for many years.  After Stephen Pell’s death in 1950 his son John occupied the house through 1987. As one of the earliest summer homes and hotels in the region, the Pavilion is considered one of the most important historic structures in the Adirondacks. The Pavilion is a critical link spanning nearly two centuries of Fort Ticonderoga’s history encompassing the stories of landmark preservation, the birth of American tourism, and monumental restoration.

In addition to the Sunsets and Secrets tour, visitors can immerse themselves in the epic history and incredible natural beauty at Fort Ticonderoga with several other richly informative and entertaining guided specialty tours this summer. Thrill at the power of artillery during the Guns by Night tour; enlist in the Continental Army in the To Act as One United Body tour; examine and handle original 18th-century weapons during the Beyond Bullets and Blades tour; and discover the first hammer blows of French soldiers in the Beneath Fortress Walls tour. Advanced reservations are required. To learn more about our specialty tours call 518-585-2821 or click here.

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Enlist in the Continental Army at Fort Ticonderoga: New Family-Friendly Program Immerses Visitors in the Life of Revolutionary War Soldiers

IMG_0227 - CopyJoin Fort Ticonderoga for a new and exciting evening program presented on Tuesday evenings in July and August. To Act as One United Body is your chance to enlist in the Continental Army. Your whole family can join together as new recruits to see what it was like to be a soldier at Ticonderoga in 1775 at 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. The cost of this family adventure is $35 per person; advanced registration is required.

“In this program, guests are immersed in the daily routine of the Continental soldiers garrisoning Fort Ticonderoga in the weeks after the capture of Fort Ticonderoga by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold in 1775,” said Stuart Lilie, Fort Ticonderoga’s Senior Director of Interpretation. “Participants form a platoon of soldiers, learning teamwork and discipline as they undergo a typical day in the life of soldiers. Guests learn about the training used to prepare soldiers to meet a powerful enemy, what soldiers ate, where they slept, and experience the confusion of battle.”

To Act as oneDuring your participation, 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.

In addition to the To Act as One United Body tour, visitors can immerse themselves in the epic history and incredible natural beauty at Fort Ticonderoga with several other richly informative and entertaining guided specialty tours this summer. Thrill at the power of artillery during the Guns by Night tour; discover the Sunsets and Secrets in the 1826 Historic Pavilion house tour; examine and handle original 18th-century weapons during the Beyond Bullets and Blades tour; and discover the first hammer blows of French soldiers in the Beneath Fortress Walls tour. Advanced reservations are required. To learn more about our specialty tours call 518-585-2821 or click here.

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Fort Ticonderoga Outreach Programs Have Big Impact on Regional Schools

 

JudyThanks to generous support from several foundations, Fort Ticonderoga served over 850 students in classrooms 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.

“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.”

The programs featured both an educator and a historical interpreter going into fourth grade classrooms. In total, 869 students were served in 22 different schools throughout the region. Fort Ticonderoga staff logged over 1,800 miles during the year traveling to schools.

“Thank you for coordinating ‘The Soldier’s Life at Fort Ticonderoga’ presentation for the fourth graders,” said fourth grade teacher Shari O’Bryan from Ticonderoga Elementary School. “They really enjoyed the information and seeing all of the items that soldiers used long ago. It was a great start for our study of the wars fought in New York State.”

outreachShoshana, a fourth grade student from Weybridge Elementary School in Vermont wrote: “Thank you for the compelling presentation that you gave us. I was interested in the soldier’s strategies and how logically the rivers and locations fit together with the battle and soldiers…. When you were talking about conquering Canada, I now want to do more research on that topic. Thank you for giving me more opportunities to learn about history, and to study more.”

Generous grant support covered the costs of 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. In addition, the Essex Community Fund of the Adirondack Foundation funded a program for Willsboro Central School.

Teachers interested in booking a program for the coming 2015-16 school year are invited to call Judy Contompasis at 518-585-6370 to place their name on a waiting list pending anticipated funding. The programs are offered late October 2015 through mid April 2016 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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Top 8 Outdoor Activities to Embark On During Your Visit

When you visit Fort Ticonderoga, you are immersing yourself in a place where America made history. Between the fort, the exhibits, and the gardens, you are able to become a part of multiple layers of history.   And for you outdoor enthusiasts, our site has even more to offer. Nestled between the Adirondack Mountains and the Green Mountains, Fort Ticonderoga is a dynamic landscape, ready for exploration! Here is a list of some of the Top Outdoor Activities for you to endeavor on during your visit to our museum campus:

  1. thumb_teachers-rowing-a-bateauExplore the Champlain! Canoe or kayak in Lake Champlain, and get an entirely new perspective of the Fort walls and the surrounding landscape. Don’t have your own boat? No problem! You can rent a canoe from us for a day or half-day from May 23 – October 12, 2015. We can give you a brochure that highlights both historical and natural features as you paddle on this beautiful body of water. Explore the shoreline and the mouth of the La Chute River nearby.

LaChute*Want a challenge? If you’re an experienced whitewater paddler, bring your kayak to the shoreline of the northern tip of Lake George where it enters into the La Chute River. Continue along the La Chute for 3.5 miles and experience class II-V+ of whitewater until you reach Lake Champlain, just southwest of Fort Ticonderoga. And if you want to take a break, halfway in you will find yourself right in the heart of the town of Ticonderoga, where you can stop for a bite at Libby’s bakery, or at any of the surrounding cuisines. Whitewater rafting and kayaking spots in New York are harder than the national norm, so if you’re not from around here don’t forget that many of the rivers are not very forgiving! Be sure to plan diligently, taking notice to weather conditions and water levels.

Carillon Cruise Boat*Want a more relaxing experience? Embark on an adventure that you and your family will never forget when you take a boat tour on Lake Champlain aboard Fort Ticonderoga’s touring boat.  The 60-foot, 49-passenger tour boat Carillon offers daily tours around the Ticonderoga Peninsula. In 90 minutes you can enjoy centuries of stories that floated across this ancient lake. Set between the Green and Adirondack Mountains, tours on the Carillon explore not only the epic 18th-century military stories, but also the maritime heritage of the 19th and 20th century. From the 1777 American bridge piers to remains of railroads, side-scanning sonar will allow you to literally get a picture of the archaeological wealth that surrounds Ticonderoga. 

 

  1. Take a hike! Fort Ticonderoga covers nearly 2,000 acres of pristine land in the gateway to the Adirondacks. Trails allow visitors to experience the natural and historic diversity of the landscape. Exploring the site on foot allows for a unique and intimate appreciation for how the land was shaped by the generations who passed before.

large_Battlefield-Nov-2012*The Carillon Battlefield Trail offers a 1.7 mile loop through one of the most important battlefields in North America. Pick up a trail guide at the Log House and explore where empires clashed to decide the destiny of a continent. The trail begins and ends outside the Log House Welcome Center picnic area.   Be sure to pick up a hiking trail guide and Archaeology Quest Scavenger Game card at the Guest Services Desk.  Can you find all the clues along the trail? Opening in 2015, the 1756 trail will allow visitors to once again explore the land immediately south of the fort itself. Winding through what once was a small village supporting the fortress above interpretive signage will highlight how this land was used by the French army in 1756. This lightly forested land once held the camp of thousands of French soldiers, militiamen, and Native Americans as well as a veritable factory of brickyards, lime kilns, and bakeries.

Mt defiance hi res 3*Want a change of scenery? Visit Mount Defiance to witness a birds-eye view of Fort Ticonderoga’s epic military landscape and discover how this summit shaped America’s history! “Mount Defiance: Witness to History” Tour is offered each day at 4pm.  The picnic pavilion located at the summit is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy one of America’s most historic landscapes. Whether you hike up the mountain in the historic footsteps of General Burgoyne’s troops or make the easy drive to the top in your car, you’ll savor the spectacular beauty of this remarkable and historic view. A visit to this breathtaking summit is a great way to begin or end your day at Fort Ticonderoga!

unnamed*Looking to make your muscles sore? Look to your left then look to your right. We’re surrounded! Take your pick between New York’s majestic Adirondack Mountains or their beautiful neighbors—the Green Mountains of Vermont. If you’re not looking for a long drive, check out Cook Mountain, right in Ticonderoga. The summit of the mountain offers views of Lake George, the Champlain Valley, and Vermont’s Green Mountains. The waterfront offers an entirely other type of terrain for migrating waterfowl.

 

 

  1. marshsheep1Reel ‘em in! Ticonderoga is surrounded by bodies of water, whether you prefer lakes, streams, or ponds. So get your fly fishing gear, bait-casting setup, trolling equipment, or spin casting gear out and find your new favorite fishing spot near our site. Rain or shine, water or ice! Ticonderoga is the chosen destination on Lake Champlain for the best bass fishing around! The Bassmasters chose Lake Champlain as their “Champion’s Choice” site for one of their 2007 Bassmaster Elite Series bass fishing tournaments. The pros know what we’ve known for a long time and that’s that Southern Lake Champlain is a great fishery.

 

  1. Turn the wheels! We welcome cyclists here at Fort Ticonderoga. Enjoy a historical experience as you bike Road through battlefieldthrough the diverse landscape of our site. But be sure to take a break for an interpretative tour and a bite to eat at America’s Fort Café, located at the Log House Welcome Center!

*Want an extra dose of sweat and history? Take the 17 mile Fort to Fort bike tour that follows the Champlain Bikeway between Crown Point State Historic Site (right before the bridge to Vermont) and Fort Ticonderoga. Traffic is generally minimal. A recommended start/end point is at the Lake Champlain Visitors Center at the bridge. Food, lodging, and parking are avaLCBlogo133ilable in both Ticonderoga and Crown Point.

*Still not tired?!  Cyclists who ride in the Champlain Valley know it has all the right ingredients for a premier bicycle touring destination. The Lake Champlain Bikeways offer a 1,300+ mile network of bicycle routes in the Lake Champlain Valley of Vermont, New York, and Quebec. The network includes a total of 35 loops and tours ranging from 10 to 60 miles in length. For more information on routes, check out the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce web page.

 

  1. Take a look at our feathery friends! While a visit to Fort Ticonderoga is usually aimed at understanding American history, the site’s grounds can be excellent for RosebreastedGrosbeak08birding. Scarlet tanagers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, and Baltimore orioles breed in the forests and field edges, as well as a variety of other species. The area is best during spring and fall migration when the brushy edges of the fields and woods can hold large mixed flocks of migrating warblers and other songbirds. Be sure to also keep an eye open for migrating raptors moving through the area in spring and fall. In the southern viewshed of Fort Ticonderoga lies Carillon Point, a 28-acre peninsula rising out of the marshy La Chute River delta. Listed as one of the top bird-watching areas in the Adirondacks by the National Audubon Society, Fort Ticonderoga Marsh provides habitat for more than a dozen species of nesting and migratory birds. So don’t forget your binoculars!

 

  1. Get your floaties out! After you’ve spent the day exploring Fort Ticonderoga and indulged tibeachin a yummy meal at the Log House Welcome Center, what better way to finish it off than a couple of hours getting some sun at the Ticonderoga beach. Located at the northern end of Lake George, Ticonderoga’s Black Point Public Beach is known for its “million dollar view”. The beach offers a spectacular view of Rogers Rock and the lake. Its natural sand bottom provides a comfortable step, free of rocks, perfect for children and adults alike. And unlike other beaches on Lake George, Black Point Beach offers free, unrestricted parking and beach use.

 

  1. Play in the snow! During the winter, Fort Ticonderoga has a variety of engaging workshops, seminars, re-enactments, Careful work with an ax shapes round logs down to square straight beams. These beams will mortised together as part of the frame for a pit saw which will allow for logs to be ripped into boards as part of soldiers' life programming.and other special events to be a part of. As you can imagine, the winter also comes along with quite a bit of snow here. Plan your weekend around one of our exciting events by checking out our calendar, but don’t forget to take advantage of your location! Whether you prefer cross-country skiing, downhill skiing/snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, sledding, or ice skating, we’ve got you covered!

*Want to stay local? The Bicentennial Park right here in Ticonderoga is a favorite place for lighted cross country skiing, skating, snowshoeing, and tobogganing. Or, drive a few miles south of Ticonderoga to the town of Hague where you can enjoy 10 km of groomed cross-country trails at Rogers Rock Campground, the perfect place to reminisce on the 1758 Battle on Snowshoes. If you don’t get there until the evening, not a problem! The south loop (approximately 3.2 miles) is lit for night skiing until 10 pm.

  1. Go vertical! There are well over 250 climbing areas in the Adirondacks, all of whichEl Capitan, Yosemite National Park, CA. deal a very unique experience from the next. Areas such as Keene Valley and the Cascade Lakes Region offer the largest variety of climbing, allowing a climber to sample massive multi-pitch slab adventures and desperate single-pitch test-pieces within minutes of the parking lot. There are also numerous back-country crags such as Wallface, Gothics, Big Slide, and The Cranberry Lake Region that test climbers’ fortitude, patience, stamina and route-finding skills.
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Celebrate the Scot in You! Fort Ticonderoga Presents Lively Scots Day Event June 13

 

Fort Ticonderoga will present the Eighth Annual Scots Day on Saturday, June 13. 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 the stories of centuries of Scottish soldiers in the British Army through a military timeline offered throughout the day. Daily activities also include Border Collie demonstrations and Pipe performances presented throughout the day. Experience all of this within the beautiful stone walls of Fort Ticonderoga surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of the Adirondack – Lake Champlain region. Admission to Scots Day is included in a Fort Ticonderoga 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 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 Scottish Clans

  • Clan Buchanan
  • Clan Campbell
  • Clan Forbes
  • Clan Hamilton
  • Clan MacPherson
  • Clan Murray of Eastern New York
  • Clan Rose Society of America

Participating Organizations

  • St. Andrew’s Society of the Adirondacks
  • St. Andrew’s Society of the City of Albany
  • Tartan and Clan Information Tent (Peter Fish)

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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Gaining Perspective from the Participants of the 1756 French Soldiers’ Row to Ticonderoga

During opening weekend on May 9 – 10 at Fort Ticonderoga, visitors stepped into New France in 1756 as French soldiers returned by bateaux from posts down Lake Champlain. This event kicked off the 2015 season at Fort Ticonderoga and captured the site’s epic story on land and water. The Living History event traced the footsteps of French soldiers as they struggled to guard the unfinished earth, stone, and log walls of Fort Carillon (now Fort Ticonderoga) in the midst of construction. It investigated the situation and factors that brought a French army across an ocean and up the lakes and rivers through the wilderness of Canada.

Three bateaux of Fort Ticonderoga interpretative staff and re-enactors were scheduled to row and sail on the morning of May 9, 2015 from Crown Point to the Ticonderoga peninsula; a total of 14 miles, just as the French soldiers did during their final stride to Carillon on May 9, 1756. The night before, they set up camp at the Crown Point State Historic Site using 18th-century style methods, tools and material. On the morning of May 9, it was established that they would be fighting prevailing winds, which would only get stronger as the day progressed.

Visitors experienced the Living History Event from the shores of Ticonderoga, unacquainted with the trials and tribulations of the Fort Ticonderoga interpretative staff and re-enactors prior to their arrival on the afternoon of May 9.

Fort Ticonderoga’s interpretative staff members have provided the first-hand perspective of their experiences recreating the French soldiers of 1756.

Getting Ready for Launch

11196250_10101412008964772_874331377375113140_n“The night we all arrived at Crown Point to camp was really exciting from a personal perspective,” said Gibb Zea, Fort Ticonderoga’s Artificer Tailor. “I was able to see the fruit of all my labors come together for an event after an entire winter of creating 1756 specific attire. We set up camp at the ruins of Fort Saint-Frédéric, on the very same ground where thousands of soldiers slept 259 years ago. This was a riveting opportunity. Just like the soldiers then, we didn’t necessarily know where we were going because there wasn’t a mapped route to follow; we just knew to go down the lake until we hit Ticonderoga.”

11053330_10101412009009682_6297764860725141801_n“Our staff members have come from across the eastern seaboard, and from a variety of different backgrounds. Some had not even stepped in a bateau before this day,” said Shaun Pekar, Fort Ticonderoga’s Artificer Shoemaker. “This was going to be a truly immersive experience that would enable all of our staff to develop a more in-depth understanding of exactly what we’re trying to interpret to the public this year. It was intentional for all of Fort Ticonderoga museum staff to be in one bateau rather than spread throughout the three – this enabled us to kick off the season with a dynamic set of team-building skills that we will be able to bring to our visitors throughout the season.”

The Row

17999_10153298990389834_6153611782957028635_n“We launched at 5:30 from Crown Point, to try to get ahead of the strong winds predicted for mid-afternoon,” said Zea. “The row itself was a great lesson in teamwork. It was a strenuous feat, but we made sure to rotate so that everyone had a break. After two to three hours, we established a good rhythm by syncing to the sound of the oars hitting the oar locks. We were running like a well-oiled machine.”

11012904_992838610728444_148467878363113216_n“Bateaux are a speedy build, but not the most watertight vessels, and certainly are not meant to last long,” said Pekar. “They were equipped with fascines (bundles of sticks) to lie across the floor of the bateaux, in order to keep soldier’s equipment dry from the inevitable water leakage. We rotated roles in our boat – some rowed while others had to continuously bail out all of the water.”

“Cameron Green (Fort Ticonderoga’s former Assistant Director of Interpretation) did a great job recreating the role as the officer. When we arrived at Crown Point the night before, we all set Cameron’s camp up for him, just as the soldiers would have done for their officers in the 18th century. He helped with the rowing, but made sure to maintain the ‘officer attitude’ and took several naps at the bow of the boat. It really felt like I was thrown back into 1756,” said Zea. “Another throwback occurred during our first break on shore, just after the first bateau of re-enactors turned back to Crown Point due to high winds,” said Zea. “Ron Videau (Fort Ticonderoga’s Assistant Military Programs Supervisor) found a piece of 18th-century pottery; indication that someone had stopped in this very spot in the 18th century.”

The Return

11143380_1587661894849893_7886558249926518264_n“As the day progressed, the winds began to really pick up. At points it got frightening – waves began to break up to the gunnels,” said Zea. “The deal breaker to turn back occurred around 12:30 pm when we realized we had just spent the last hour crossing a 150-yard bay, which should have taken only minutes. At this point we had made it about 55% of the way; it became quite clear that we wouldn’t be able to arrive to Fort Ticonderoga before dark.”

1610927_10153294605357351_8055144466010666671_n“It took 7 hours to get 6 miles and less than 2 hours to return,” said Zea. “The sail back was very relaxing; we rested our muscles and enjoyed the breeze. It was a good opportunity to reflect on the beautiful views and overall profound experience. We were pulled by another bateau that was equipped with a mast and sails. We would have put up our own sail, but we decided to toss our mast poles during the row to lighten our load. We were so determined to make it to Ticonderoga, that we also tossed our fascines and half of our drinking water (3-4 gallons).”

Overview

11229843_992793197399652_2832377924023193744_n“Trying to recreate this event exactly how it happened in 1756 is sort of like a balancing act. The schedule for the public in comparison to the way historical events went can vary at times,” said Pekar. “These are the modern limitations as museum professionals. We could have waited for the winds to die down and continued our row to Ticonderoga, but we wouldn’t have made it in time for the public. Doing these events isn’t just for us – we need to make sure that our visitors can get an insight into the soldier’s lives as well. Careful planning goes into the structure of a reenactment or living history event to ensure that both the re-enactor and the visitor get the full experience.”

“This experience was undeniably successful.  Even if the public can’t see it, it helps staff to build an understanding of a particular aspect of the 18th century,” said Pekar. “The weather may have prevented us from completing our row, but Fort Ticonderoga staff members most certainly have gained the 18th-century perspective of this event, and can be fully prepared to describe it to the public from an empirical approach.

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Fort Ticonderoga interpretative staff aboard the bateau: Nick Spadone, Ron Videau, Cameron Green, Zech Yaw, Chris Burns, Joseph (Gibb) Zea, Damian Niescior, and Shaun Pekar.

 

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Iron & Stone: Building Fort Carillon Exhibit Now Open

 

Iron&stone(1)Fort Ticonderoga Museum’s newest exhibit introduces the methods and logistics behind the construction of Fort Carillon (now Fort Ticonderoga). Using hands-on components, Iron & Stone: Building Fort Carillon allows visitors to see if they have what it takes to be a mason at Fort Carillon and experience how French masons achieved the level courses of their stonework. The exhibit is included in a Fort Ticonderoga general admission ticket and is located in the South Barracks at Fort Ticonderoga. To learn more about this exhibit and related programs click here or call 518-585-2821.

Iron & Stone: Building Fort Carillon includes a full-scale reconstruction of the first walls of the fort over the winter of 1755-56, as well as the original tools used to build Fort Ticonderoga – found in the ruins of the fort in the 20th century,” said Matthew Keagle, Fort Ticonderoga’s Curator of Collections. “Unlike the masonry walls that awe visitors today, much of the actual fort was constructed of wooden timbers, resting on a masonry foundation. This exhibit will explore the construction of Fort Carillon between 1755 and 1759, and address why Fort Ticonderoga looks the way it does today.”

Fort Ticonderoga holds one of North America’s premier collections of 18th-century military material culture. The exhibits contain thousands of objects and tell thousands of stories, narrating the history of Fort Ticonderoga from the military culture of the 18th century to the reconstruction of the fort in the 20th century. Fully restored in 1931, the South Barracks has been the museum’s primary exhibition space. The building encompasses three stories and nearly 10,000 square feet of gallery space.

Funding for the Iron & Stone: Building Fort Carillon exhibit was made possible in part by the following supporters: Glens Falls National Bank, Amtrak, and individual donors.

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1756: The Front Line of New France Exhibit Now Open

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Fort Ticonderoga Museum’s newest exhibit introduces the campaign of 1756 from the French perspective. Using artifacts, archaeological material, and hands-on reproductions, 1756: The Front Line of New France explores how the soldiers who fought for France’s empire were equipped with the goods created by that empire. The exhibit is included in a Fort Ticonderoga general admission ticket and the exhibit is located in the South Barracks at Fort Ticonderoga. To learn more about this exhibit and related programs click here or call 518-585-2821.

“Fort Ticonderoga’s daily interpretive focus for 2015 recreates life at Fort Carillon (now Fort Ticonderoga) as it unfolded in the year 1756, when the French army were digging and beginning major construction of the fort,” said Matthew Keagle, Fort Ticonderoga’s Curator of Collections. “To equip these soldiers the French government mobilized thousands of people across its empire. Visitors now have the opportunity to witness the French governance of clothing, weaponry, and equipment used by its soldiers in the 1756: Front Line of New France exhibit, and then see the Fort Ticonderoga museum interpretative staff’s highly accurate reproductions in action.”

Fort Ticonderoga holds one of North America’s premier collections of 18th-century military material culture. The exhibits contain thousands of objects and tell thousands of stories, narrating the history of Fort Ticonderoga from the military culture of the 18th century to the reconstruction of the fort in the 20th century. Fully restored in 1931, the South Barracks has been the museum’s primary exhibition space. The building encompasses three stories and nearly 10,000 square feet of gallery space.

Funding for the 1756: The Front Line of New France exhibit was made possible in part by the following supporters: International Paper Ticonderoga Mill, Glens Falls National Bank, Amtrak, and individual donors.

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