Inquiry at Fort Ticonderoga: Helping Students Develop Historical Thinking Skills

Across the United States, Social Studies educators are picking up a new tool for use in their classroom. A new set of standards published in 2013 is the C3 Framework for Social Studies. This Framework creation was coordinated by the National Council for Social Studies and over 3,000 teachers and educators provided input. The main goal of the C3 Framework is to ensure that Social Studies education teaches historical thinking, and the studying of history as a process, rather than a string of names and dates. c3

At the heart of the C3 Framework is the Inquiry Design Model, a tool for teaching Social Studies that starts with a compelling question and four supporting questions. Students are guided to answer these questions by analyzing primary and secondary sources, forming conclusions, and completing a summative performance task using evidence to support their argument. The goal is that by starting with intellectually rigorous and compelling questions, and facilitating student use of documents, students develop historical thinking skills.

New York State has taken an exciting lead in developing Inquiries for use in classrooms. Professors at SUNY Binghamton, in concert with teachers around the state, developed the New York State Social Studies Toolkit, containing 6 inquiries for each grade level from Kindergarten through 12th Grade. Teachers have also been developing new inquiries, and adapting the original inquiries for their classroom.

Here at Fort Ticonderoga, we’ve been observing this exciting trend in education, and wanted to make sure that teachers using the inquiry model could use it to teach about Fort Ticonderoga. Liz Scully, our 2016 Edward W. Pell Education Fellow, developed an inquiry based on Fort Ticonderoga. The inquiry is written for 4th Grade students, and highlights resources onsite here at Fort Ticonderoga and in our collection. The compelling question Liz developed is: “How was Fort Ticonderoga a Crucial Part of the Northern Campaign during the American Revolution?  cover-of-inquiry

“ To answer this question, students are provided with documents, maps, and high quality images of artifacts in the collections at Fort Ticonderoga, and asked to make an argument support by evidence.

Are you curious as to how the inquiry model works? Let’s delve deeper by looking at one of the 4 supporting questions in our inquiry, and how students use it in the classroom.

 

“How was the Battle of Valcour Island important for the Americans during the Revolutionary War?”

Teachers can provide background information including secondary sources to give an overview of the work done at Ticonderoga and on the south end of Lake Champlain to build the American fleet. Students will have access to several maps and primary sources, including this one from James Murray Hadden’s Journal. Hadden was a British lieutenant with Burgoyne’s forces in 1776. Of the Battle of Valcour, Hadden writes:

Arnold ran his own vessels & 5 others on shore and set fire to them, the three foremost only escaped to Tyconderoga; as did Gen’l Arnold with most of the Crew’s of the burnt Vessels…It appearing too late in the Season for an attack on Tyconderoga 16 miles from hence.”

For Students in 4th Grade, this may be their first time encountering primary sources, so Liz deliberately used succinct sources that are more similar to modern English. Students will have an image of a watercolor in our collection, which highlights the battle at Valcour Island and the ships involved.   god-bless-our-armesThis prompts a discussion of the origin of these ships. Where did they come from? Who built them, and who sailed them? Who fought aboard them? How did a fledgling country build a navy that managed to outrun the more experienced, better equipped British army which had them thoroughly outgunned? Students can explore these questions in the classroom and also by visiting Fort Ticonderoga. Important artifacts and exhibits provide information on the Battle of Valcour and the American Fleet built at the south end of Lake Champlain.

It is our hope that by creating resources in keeping with current best practices in Social Studies, teachers will have assistance in teaching about Fort Ticonderoga and its place in our history.

To view this important resource, click here.

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Celebrate Fall at Fort Ticonderoga’s Heritage, Harvest, & Horse Festival, October 1st!

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Join Fort Ticonderoga to celebrate the sights, sounds, and tastes of fall on Saturday, October 1, 2016Bring the whole family to the Heritage, Harvest & Horse Festival for a full day of autumn fun, set in the midst of the King’s Garden heirloom apple trees and the beautiful Adirondack landscape! Experience the power and thunder of hooves through demonstrations of equestrian sports; take part in family-fun activities including horse-drawn wagon rides and heritage games; take a guided tour of the historic gardens; meet friendly goats and chickens; delight your taste buds with Adirondack beer and wines; explore the lively and colorful harvest market; take a family trip through the six-acre corn maze; enjoy centuries of stories from the water on a Carillon boat cruise; and explore the fall splendor of Fort Ticonderoga’s historical museum site located on Lake Champlain and nestled between the Adirondack and Green Mountains.

Admission to the Heritage, Harvest & Horse Festival is included with a Fort Ticonderoga general admission ticket. Fort Ticonderoga is open from 9:30 am until 5:00 pm daily. For a complete event schedule, please visit http://www.fortticonderoga.org/events/fort-events/heritage-harvest-horse-festival/detail.

“Localvore” Food, Wine Tastings, Live Music, Wagon Rides and More!

Festival featured activities include: live music; delicious “localvore” food including homemade jams, jellies, and pies; Adirondack beer and wines; the Annual Vegetable, Seed, and Plant Sale; a Harvest Market featuring locally grown and made products including; artisanal cheese, hand-woven baskets, perennials and mums, produce, maple syrup, honey, apple products, and more!

Children Activities

Kids of all ages will love the festival fall activities including face painting, creating a customized leaf book, sack races, colonial kids’ games, pumpkin painting, nature scavenger hunt, horse-drawn carriage rides, and the six-acre Heroic Corn Maze: A Corn Maze Adventure!

Horse Presentations

From the story of the Revolutionary War to the Civil War in the Champlain Valley, discover the important role horses played in our history. From war horses to hunting, follow the cry of the hounds from the King’s Garden to learn more about the sport of Foxhunting with the Green Mountain Hounds.

Heroic Corn Maze: A Corn Maze Adventure!

The day will not be complete without a visit to Fort Ticonderoga’s highly acclaimed Heroic Corn Maze: A Corn Maze Adventure!, where visitors explore the six-acre corn maze, designed in the shape of the fort, with a new design for the 2016 season! Guests are able to find their way through the maze by selecting the correct answers to clues connected to Fort Ticonderoga’s history!

Carillon Boat Cruise at 1:30 pm and 4:00 pm!

Make reservations today for an unforgettable water-level perspective of Fort Ticonderoga on a Carillon boat tour! The 60-foot, 35-passenger vessel will offer a special tour around the Ticonderoga Peninsula at 1:30 pm and again at 4:00 pm. In 90 minutes, you can enjoy centuries of stories that floated across Lake Champlain. This tour will explore not only the epic 18th-century military stories, but also the maritime heritage of the 19th and 20th century. To make your reservation, call (518) 585-2821.

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

Photo: Fort Ticonderoga’s Heritage Harvest and Horse Festival takes place on October 1, 2016. Photo credit: Fort Ticonderoga.

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Fall Rose Care

By Dr. Leonard Perry, Horticulturalist in Residence

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Photo courtesy: Ariannah Perry

Do you have some roses that you would like to have survive the upcoming winter, if at all possible, and particularly if new plantings?  Or, are you one of those who had roses going into last winter, only to have many die while those of your neighbor lived?  If either of these fits, you might consider mulching and mounding this fall as is done in the King’s Garden.

A mulch will not only keep the soil warmer than unmulched soil, but also will prevent rapid fluctuations in soil temperatures which lead to soil heaving.  Snow is the best mulch but, as we know, cannot always be counted on.  So other materials must be used.

A good mulch will settle lightly on the soil surface without excessive packing (this rules out most oak leaves), cause no harmful effects (such as from diseases or weed seeds), and be reasonably attractive and priced.  Mulches derived from plants also add organic matter to the soil.  Examples of good organic mulches are peat moss, weed-free straw (not hay, which is often weedy), cut evergreen branches, bark mulch, or wood chips.

Mulches should be piled at least a foot deep around plants, and not before mid-November, as roses need cool fall temperatures to develop some winter hardiness.  Mulch much later and you may have to contend with snow first, and valuable ground heat will have been lost.
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Mounding also may be used to protect roses during winter, simply mounding loose soil or compost a foot or more high around the base of the plant.  Use loose sandy or loamy soil, as dense clay soil may cut off the oxygen supply to the roots, resulting in injured or dead plants. Mounding is preferable over mulches if you have mice that may live in organic material and chew on the rose stems over winter.

Climbing roses may be protected by removing the canes from their supports (keep this in mind in the spring when tying them up, for easy fall removal), then laying them on the ground.  Use a wire hoop or similar device to hold them in place.  Lay a piece of burlap over the canes to protect them during the spring uncovering operation, then mound soil or compost or organic matter over the canes.  Uncover the canes when they begin to grow in spring, checking them in early April or shortly after the snow melts.

Mulching or mounding protects roses in a couple of ways.  Roses vary greatly in their hardiness, depending on species and cultivars, with the more hardy not even needing protection.  You may find a list of some of these on my Perry’s Perennial Pages website of past

Vermont rose hardiness trials (pss.uvm.edu/ppp/rosedata.htm).  There, also, you’ll find a leaflet on some of the heirloom or old-fashioned species roses (http://pss.uvm.edu/ppp/articles/rosespecies.html).  Some of these rose species are much hardier than many of the modern hybrids.

Most roses also are grafted onto a hardier wild rose “understock.”   Where they meet—the graft union– is the swollen area you can find at the base of many rose plants.  It is often tender and susceptible to winter injury, so needs protection.  Many recommend to even bury this graft union below the surface when planting, which also will help prevent undesirable sucker canes arising from the wild rose understock.

Before mulching or mounding roses in mid to late November, finish fall cleanup.  Remove all plant debris and diseased parts.  Pruning, although usually done in spring, may be done now to remove diseased or dead stems and to make the plant easier to mulch.  Even with protection, canes may have some dieback and need further pruning in the spring.

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Alexander Hamilton Finally Comes to Fort Ticonderoga in a New Exhibit

It’s true – Alexander Hamilton is having a moment! A NEW exhibition at Fort Ticonderoga displays rare Alexander Hamilton objects associated with this popular founding father and best known Secretary of the Treasury in American history. Fort Ticonderoga’s rich museum collections contain a number of pieces owned by Hamilton from his remarkable career as a young soldier in the Revolution through his brief tenure as the highest ranking officer in the US Army. The Hamilton exhibit will be on display through October 30, 2016.

Featured items in the exhibit include a sword (1790-1800) that proudly displays Hamilton’s name on it. Hamilton likely carried this sword in late 1799 following George Washington’s death when Hamilton was the highest ranking American military officer in the United States. Accompanying the sword is a sword knot which bearAlexander Hamilton Releases the handwritten tag inked on it “Genl A. Hamilton.” Other items on display include a mahogany writing box (1800-1810) with an engraved plate which reads “Alexander Hamilton, Yorktown, October 19 1781,” as well as an epaulet (1775-1783) made of silver, wool, linen, and silk. Epaulets were worn on the shoulder to distinguish officers from enlisted soldiers. It is unknown whether the epaulet was originally part of a pair. If not, it may date to Hamilton’s earliest service in New York in 1777.

“Hamilton has always appeared as a formidable character in the early American pantheon. As brilliant, ambitious, opinionated and impetuous as he was, Hamilton’s legacy and achievements are surrounded by what-ifs,” said Matthew Keagle, Curator at Fort Ticonderoga. “His premature death at the hands of Aaron Burr in an 1804 duel has left historians wondering what could have been for over 200 years.”

Alexander Hamilton never visited Ticonderoga, however, his connection to the region was well established when he married Elizabeth Schuyler in 1780,
Hamilton the daughter of General Philip Schuyler, whose command of the Northern Department of the Continental Army included Fort Ticonderoga from 1775 to 1777.

By 1945, Schuyler Hamilton, the great-great-nephew of Alexander Hamilton, sold a number of artifacts belonging to the Schuyler and Hamilton families to the Fort Ticonderoga Museum. In addition to the new exhibit, some of Philip Schuyler’s and his daughter Angelica’s possessions are on display in the Fort Ticonderoga South Barracks exhibition space.

The Fort Ticonderoga Museum was founded in 1909 and quickly earned a reputation as a national museum of artifacts from the founding generation. Objects that belonged to George Washington, Henry Knox, Benedict Arnold, Thaddeus Kosciuszko, Philip Schuyler and other early Americans were acquired by what was described as “the finest military museum in America.”

 

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

Photo: An Alexander Hamilton Exhibition is on Display at Fort Ticonderoga through October 30, 2016. Photo credit: Fort Ticonderoga.

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Thirteenth Annual Fort Ticonderoga Seminar on the American Revolution: September 23-25, 2016

 

SAR Promo Fort Ticonderoga hosts the Thirteenth Annual Seminar on the American Revolution September 23-25, 2016. This weekend seminar focuses on the military, political, and social history of the American Revolution. The Seminar takes place in the Mars Education Center and is open to the public; pre-registration is required.

Beginning in 2004, the Seminar on the American Revolution has become a noted national venue for presenters, featuring a mix of new and established highlighting a variety of topics on the war for American Independence.

This year’s speakers include:

  • Amy Noel Ellison, a post-doctoral fellow at the American Philosophical Society, “The Candidate Campaign and the March toward American Independence.”
  • Donald F. Johnson, an assistant professor of early American history at North Dakota State University, “Making Loyalty a Sure Game: The Politics of Allegiance in British-Occupied Cities.”
  • Cole Jones, an assistant professor of early American history at Purdue University and the 2015-16 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at the New York Historical Society, “Ransoms for Some of our Friends at Boston: The British Garrison of Fort Ticonderoga in American Captivity.”
  • Christian McBurney, an independent historian who has written books and articles on the Revolutionary War, “Abductions in the American Revolution.”
  • Ken Miller, an associate professor of history and Director of American Studies at Washington College, “The Country is Full of Prisoners of War: British and German Captives during the War for Independence.”
  • Nicholas Muller III, in collaboration with John J. Duffy, published Inventing Ethan Allen in 2014, “Making it Up in Vermont: The Military Career of Ethan Allen.”
  • Molly Perry, a lecturer at Christopher Newport University and a Ph.D. candidate at the College of William and Mary, “No Slavery and No Stamps: African Americans and the Stamp Act Crisis.”
  • Glenn F. Williams, a retired military officer who is now a senior historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History at Fort McNair, DC, and recently completed a doctoral degree, “Lord Denmore’s War: Last Indian Conflict of the Colonial Era.”

The Seminar also features a presentation by Fort Ticonderoga’s Senior Director of Interpretation, Stuart Lilie. As a journeyman saddler, as well as historian, Lilie directs on-site tours, demonstrations, horticulture, historic trades, and maritime programs at Fort Ticonderoga. His presentation “Right of the Line, Right on the Water: The New Jersey Redoubt” explores how the New Jersey Redoubt was washed away by progress in peacetime into Lake Champlain. A full acre in area, the New Jersey Redoubt mounted the largest cannons on the New York side of the Continental Camp at Ticonderoga in 1776 and 1777.

Registration for the Seminar is $155 per person, $135 for Fort Ticonderoga Members. Registration forms can be downloaded from the Fort’s website at www.fort-ticonderoga.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 the Fort at 518-585-2821.

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

Photo: The Seminar on the American Revolution will take place September 23-25, 2016. Photo Credit: Fort Ticonderoga.

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LIVING HISTORY WEEKEND SEPTEMBER 17th-18th RECREATES DARING RAID ON FORT TICONDEROGA

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Join Fort Ticonderoga for an exciting two-day living history weekend Saturday and Sunday, September 17-18, bringing to life the daring 1777 America Raid on the fort! Thrill at the power of 18th-century weaponry as the American soldiers capture the British-held artillery. Be part of the action as living history demonstrations feature the weapons, tactics, trades, and people who were swept into the story of the American Revolution and the fight for liberty. The weekend adventure will also include a special boat tour highlighting this action-packed story aboard Fort Ticonderoga’s M/V Carillon on Lake Champlain. Admission to the event is included in a Fort Ticonderoga general admission ticket. For the full event schedule, visit http://www.fortticonderoga.org/events/fort-events/the-enemy-attacked-us-at-daybreak-brown-s-raid-weekend-living-history-event/detail or call (518) 585-2821.

Highlighted programming throughout the weekend highlights the American raid on Ticonderoga in their attempt to recapture this strategic fortification. Meet the larger-than-life characters that undertook this daring raid during special programs in the British-held fort and the American camps. Atop Mount Defiance, meet the guard of Rangers who had attacked British-held Fort Ticonderoga with their own cannon. Follow the American raid on Ticonderoga as it unfolds across the landscape and explore the mechanics and weapons of this daring attack through living history demonstrations.

“This living history weekend will highlight the little-known, but important, 1777 action-adventure story pulled straight from the pages of Fort Ticonderoga’s history book,” said Beth Hill, President and CEO of Fort Ticonderoga. “Our commitment to bringing the dramatic and real story of our past to life through unforgettable programs such as the 1777 Brown’s Raid offers Fort Ticonderoga an opportunity to share with our visitors the importance of this place in the founding of America.”

About Brown’s Raid:

Out of the hazy twilight before dawn on September 18, 1777 rushed Colonel John Brown’s men, catching the British and Brunswick garrison around Fort Ticonderoga completely by surprise. John Brown, no stranger to dangerous missions, helped engineer the first capture of Ticonderoga in 1775. With the stakes even higher, he would test his luck again. As General Horatio Gates prepared to stop the British advance on Albany, he ordered General Benjamin Lincoln to “divide, divert, and harass” General Burgoyne’s supply lines back to Canada. Colonel Brown chose his men carefully. Continental regulars from Colonel Seth Warner’s Regiment, Vermont State Rangers, and militia men would get their chance to strike a major blow against General Burgoyne’s attack to divide the colonies.

Rushing down into the LaChute River Valley from Lake George landing, Brown’s men captured 330 British prisoners and set 118 American POWs free. Dawn at Fort Ticonderoga would see British cannon atop Mount Defiance, which forced the Americans to flee that summer, turned on the British garrison itself. British soldiers awoke to the sight of a Brunswick soldier cut in half by a British cannon ball fired by Brown’s men from the summit of that hill. Rearmed with captured British weapons, American POWs has a chance to settle their score shoulder to shoulder with Brown’s militia, regulars, and rangers. Destroying supplies, and livestock, capturing boats, guns, and cannon, Colonel John Brown’s raiders disappeared back up Lake George, jumping into the pages of history.

 

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

Photo: Brown’s Raid Living History Event will be held September 17-18 at Fort Ticonderoga. Photo credit: Fort Ticonderoga and Drifting Focus.

 

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FORT TICONDEROGA’S HEROIC CORN MAZE ADVENTURE OPENS AUGUST 13TH!

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(Ticonderoga, NY) What activity combines solving puzzles and testing your knowledge of history with fresh air, sunshine, and over two miles of winding trails? Fort Ticonderoga’s Heroic Maze: A Corm Maze Adventure! Beginning August 13th, test your navigational skills among towering stalks of corn in Fort Ticonderoga’s six-acre corn maze located near the King’s Garden. The Heroic Maze is included in the Fort Ticonderoga’s general admission price and will be open daily August 13 – August 28 from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (last entry at 4:30 pm). The maze will be open on weekends only, starting September 3rd through October 9th. It is also open Labor Day and Columbus Day. Call 518-585-2821 to ask about group tours, or visit www.fortticonderoga.org for corn maze details.

The maze, with a new 2016 design featuring the shape of Fort Ticonderoga and the year 1777, is divided into two phases, so that guests have the chance to gain confidence in the smaller maze before tackling the main maze. The average journey will take from twenty minutes for the first phase and up to an hour for the second phase. Hidden in the maze are eight stations, each representing a component of an 18th–century fort. Players are given a Quest Card to collect a stamp from each section. It takes perseverance and skill to find all of the objects. The Heroic Maze is great fun for all ages!

Back by Popular Demand:

Fort Ticonderoga’s youngest guests will have a chance to explore the Heroic Maze in the Kiddie Maze, a short maze designed for our youngest visitors, giving a fun introduction to corn mazes! This maze has twists and turns, but no dead ends. With adult supervision, this maze is recommended for children up to age four.

Experience the Maze at night! Maze by Moonlight:

Explore the 6-acre corn maze using your flashlight as a guide and under the light of the full moon! The mysteries of the night surround you as you search for hidden stations in the maze to complete our “Engineer a Fort” Maze Quest! The Maze by Moonlight event takes place on Friday October 28-Saturday October 29, 2016. The cost is $10 per person; tickets are available at the door.  Admissions booth/maze opens at 7:00 pm; last ticket sold at 9:00 pm, the maze closes at 10:00 pm.

Group Visitors:

School field trip groups and other group tours will have the fun opportunity to learn about Fort Ticonderoga’s dramatic story, while building teamwork skills as part of this interactive, interdisciplinary quest! In September and October, the Heroic Corn Maze will be open for group visits on Thursdays and Fridays from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm. Group tours require advanced registration and can be done by calling (518) 585-2821.

Fort Ticonderoga developed the Heroic Maze with a professional maze design company from Utah that used computer software to translate intricate designs onto the landscape, creating a fun and exciting quest.

The agricultural history at Fort Ticonderoga dates to 1756, when the French built the Garrison Gardens below the walls of the Fort. The agricultural story continues today with nearly 40% of Fort Ticonderoga’s landscape in agricultural use. In addition, a strong horticulture program brings the use of landscape to life in the formal Colonial Revival Garden, working Garrison Garden, and other Discovery Gardens.

The Heroic Maze: A Corn Maze Adventure! is funded in part by generous support from McDonald’s of Ticonderoga.

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

Photo: Fort Ticonderoga’s Heroic Maze: A Corn Maze Adventure! opens on August 13th with a NEW design! Photo Credit: Fort Ticonderoga.

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Museum Education, going beyond Common Core

For the last five years since their introduction, the discussion surrounding the Common Core State Standards has dominated the field of education. Much of the discussion about the Common Core in the news and around our dinner tables neglects the fact that the Common Core State Standards primarily cover English Language Arts and Math. While the Common Core contains standards for literacy and writing in Social Studies, there has to be more for Social Studies, and there is! The C3 Framework for Social Studies is an exciting new set of standards for Social Studies education, which is quietly being adopted nationwide by teachers, districts, and museums.  Let’s take a look at how the objectives of the C3 Framework can be achieved by museums and Fort Ticonderoga specifically.

First, we should start with an overview of the C3 Framework, including its title. C3 stands for College, Career, and Civic Life, the aspects of life that Social Studies education should be preparing our students for beyond the classroom. The C3 Framework is based on 4 dimensions: Developing Questions, Applying Disciplinary Concepts, Evaluating Sources, and Taking Informed Action. The C3 Framework highlights that Social Studies is an active process for students, where they learn by taking on the role of a historian. There are 4 key Disciplinary Themes in the C3 Framework: Civics, Economics, Geography, and History. To recap, the process of doing Social Studies begins with a question, and students use the different disciplinary tools and concepts to find and evaluate sources, and proceed towards finding an answer.

So how does this fit in at Fort Ticonderoga? Let’s look at some compelling questions students might ask, and where they will find answers (and more questions) at Fort Ticonderoga. To highlight the diversity of options here, we’ve picked questions for each of the four disciplines identified by the C3 Framework.

Civics- Why did the Continental Army preserve traditional army discipline and social status despite their avowed fight against tyranny? the 17th

Students can witness the musket and cannon demonstrations, and learn about the need for order in a well-trained military. Visiting the Tailors, they can see and feel the differences of material and labor that go into creating the clothing of enlisted soldiers and officers. They can also go to the camp kitchen and see how meals and rations vary based on rank. How did all of these aspects of military life help maintain order? Were they necessary?

Economics- What is the real cost of a pair of shoes?  Shaun shop

When you visit the shoemakers at Fort Ticonderoga, you can not only witness the shoes being made to outfit our interpretive staff, you can learn about the economy behind shoemaking. How long does it take to make a single pair of shoes? What different types of shoes were made? How much did shoes cost in the 18th century? How do they compare this to how much we pay for shoes today? Are our shoes more or less expensive today? You can learn much about the economy of a society based upon how they cover their feet.

Geography– What is the strategic importance of Fort Ticonderoga? Mount defiance (2)

From the walls of the fort, and the top of Mount Defiance, students can overlook Lake Champlain and imagine the land and water routes that armies have taken to Ticonderoga.  Taking a tour or boat cruise is a great way for students to explore the strategic landscape at Ticonderoga. Why did the different armies that occupied Ticonderoga choose to fortify different areas?

History- There are layers upon layers of historical questions for students to study at Fort Ticonderoga! Many of our students visit having first learned about Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold’s capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775. For these students, we might ask: Who actually captured Fort Ticonderoga? 1775 capture

Throughout our exhibits and programs, students can explore the orders Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen received in regards to Fort Ticonderoga. On our tours, they will receive insight into what really happened on that May morning in 1775. Was the value of Ticonderoga strategic? Was it symbolic? How did America’s First Victory impact the decisions and actions of the Continental Congress?

These are just some of the many ways that a visit to Ticonderoga dovetails neatly with the ongoing shift in Social Studies Education! Check out our Education Resources Page for more ideas and lesson plans you can use at Fort Ticonderoga, and in classrooms.

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HOMESCHOOL DAY AT FORT TICONDEROGA: SEPTEMBER 9, 2016

 

tailor gibb 1776(Ticonderoga, NY)  Fort Ticonderoga’s Homeschool Day for homeschool students and their parents will be on Friday, September 9 from 9:30am-5:00pm. Homeschool families will have an opportunity to take part in a series of exciting programs, while learning about life on the northern frontier during the American Revolution.

“The day was amazing!” said one homeschool parent of last year’s Homeschool Day. “It was absolutely everything we hoped for and more. We all want to come back! Thank you to everyone who put so much effort, planning, enthusiasm, and time into a perfect way to start the homeschooling year!!!”

“My kids & I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing a day at the fort,” noted another homeschool parent last year. “The demonstrations were wonderful, and we enjoyed learning about the history of the fort and its importance in the founding of our nation.”

During this year’s Homeschool Day, students will learn about the British and German troops at Ticonderoga during the year 1777. Interacting with these soldiers, students will discover what life was like at Ticonderoga during the American Revolution and will gain a deeper understanding of struggle for independence, the economy and trade in the 18th century, and daily life of the soldiers and their families that garrisoned Fort Ticonderoga.

Weapons Demonstrations, Museum Exhibits, Historic Trades, & the King’s Garden!

Throughout the day, homeschool families will explore the fort and museum exhibitions. Students and families will thrill at the flash of musketry during weapon demonstrations and guided tours will highlight Fort Ticonderoga’s defining story in the 18th century. Interactive programs in historic trades including shoe making, carpentry, and tailoring, will give Homeschool Day participants an active understanding of the work required to maintain an army and fight the Revolution.

Special programming in the historic trades shops takes place at 10:30am, 12:30pm, and 2:30pm. At noon, discover the process of feeding the troops as the mid-day meal is prepared.

Visit the King’s Garden to discover what was grown to feed the troops and dig into centuries of horticulture history in our gardens! For the students who are artistically inclined, “Watercolors in the Garden” will be offered from 11:00am-1:00pm and from 2:00pm-4:00pm.

The Heroic Maze: A Corn Maze Adventure!

While in the King’s Garden area, be sure to explore a new 2016 design in the six-acre Heroic Maze, a corn maze designed in the shape of Fort Ticonderoga! Answer clues connected to Fort Ticonderoga’s history as you find your way through the maze. Fort Ticonderoga’s Heroic Corn Maze will be open for homeschool families from 12:00pm-4:00pm.

To register your homeschool students to participate in this exciting Homeschool Day, email our Group Tour Coordinator at Fort Ticonderoga at aa@fort-ticonderoga.org. The cost is $6 per student. One parent per family is admitted free of charge. Additional adults pay the adult group rate of $14.

To learn more about programs for students and teachers at Fort Ticonderoga, visit www.fortticonderoga.org and select the “Education” tab. Teachers interested in learning more about school programs, including outreach programs, should contact Rich Strum, Director of Education, at rstrum@fort-ticonderoga.org or at 518-585-6370.

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

Photo:  Participants in last year’s Homeschool Day at Fort Ticonderoga pick up needle and thread to help fort Ticonderoga’s Artificer Tailor. This year’s Homeschool Day takes place on Friday, September 9th. Pre-registration is required by calling 518-585-2821.

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The Lifecycle of an Exhibit, Part I: De-Installation

There is a certain magic about walking into a new exhibit. A sense of mystery, surprise, and discovery greet you as you turn each corner. Thousands of visitors come to the Fort Ticonderoga’s museum exhibits each year, and many are impressed when they see a space completely redesigned and reinterpreted in the short months between the end of one season and the beginning of the next. But what happens in those months when the doors to the exhibit are closed off to the public? Let’s take a closer look behind-the-scenes! Collections Blog 1After the last visitor exits the gallery on the last day of an exhibit, the collection and exhibition teams move into action. In the fall of 2015, we took down the major exhibit: Founding Fashion: The Diversity of Regularity in 18th-Century Military Clothing; the following pictures are all behind-the-scenes shots from this de-installation.

A collections team has to be organized. Ideally, each object has a record in the digitized collections database—the museum uses the latest version of PastPerfect—that include when the museum acquired the object, the description and date, condition information, and where it is housed when not on display. These records offer a glimpse at not only the historical importance of an object, but also its institutional history: when and where it has been on display, if there has been any conservation work done, if it has been published or not, and photographs that show the condition of the object over time. Each of the hundreds of objects on display has special handling and storage needs based off the age, materials, and condition. The collections database is a place where a conversation about individual object needs can be discussed.

First, the object prep area was created. We used tables covered with conservation blankets and an extra table for packing supplies such as; acid-free tissue paper, twill tape, ethafoam, and acid-free hanging tags for creating new labels where they were needed. Staff members inspected each object for any changes to the object’s condition since it went on display.

Here, our team inspects the late-1760s Phineas Jakeways coat before housing it in its acid-free box. Collections Blog 3 They used unbuffered aciCollections Blog 2d-free tissue paper to pad out the areas where the textile wants to fold or crease—such as in the sleeves, and at the bottom of the coat—to reduce stress to the garment in storage. This is especially important for very large textiles, such as quilts and blankets, that often have very fragile areas where they have been folded in the same place for decades—or centuries! Instead of storing our 1770s “GR” wool blanket Collections Blog 4 in an over-sized box with lots of tissue padding it out, we rolled the entire piece on a large acid-free roll. Once rolled, the entire tube is covered in muslin to protect the blanket from any dust. By rolling large textiles, we spend better economical use of our storage space in addition to better preserving the object itself—a win-win!

The team wore nitrile gloves when handling the Boston Independent Company of Cadets coat (c. 1772-1774) to prevent the invisible oils on our hands from making contact with the original silver-foil buttons. The oils on our hands contain acids, lipids, proteins and sugars that can permanently etch into a metal surface, ruining a metal’s finish. Collections Blog 5

Alec and Matt also backed each button with a small coin of tissue paper to further reduce the constant contact of metal to cloth in storage. Collections Blog 6Notice that Margaret wore gloves when handling the silver gorget as she moves it from its display to its storage box. Small preventative measures such as these can make a big difference over the long life of an object that is already over 200 years old!

One of the biggest challenges during the de-installation of Founding Fashion was working with the hundreds of buttons, needles, buckles, and other small archaeological pieces that are part of the museum’s renowned archaeological collection. Collections Blog 7

Two team members were devoted just to the organization and re-housing of these pieces, which included detective-work going back into the records to determine exactly which bag, tray, and box each individual piece needed to be returned to. As we mentioned before, a collections team has to be organized!

Each box was carefully packed for the journey to the storage facility where the boxes returned to their home locations and the database records updated. In some ways, the beginning of an exhibit’s lifecycle comes during the end of another one. Even though one exhibit was over, the next one was just beginning! For a collections team, there is a constant balance of preparing for future exhibits, working on current exhibits, and recording information from previous exhibits. We will explore a behind –the-scenes look at the efforts that go into preparing objects for a new exhibit in our next blog post on The Lifecycle of an Exhibit.

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