Seventh Annual Material Matters: It's in the Details

November 4 & 5, 2017

Fort Ticonderoga presents the Seventh Annual Material Matters: It’s in the Details weekend on November 4 & 5, 2017, in the Mars Education Center. We invite you to join us for this weekend focused on the material culture of the 18th century. The informal setting promotes interaction between presenters and attendees throughout the weekend. Presenters are experts in their fields. Box lunches Saturday and Sunday are included in the registration fee. The 2017 lineup of speakers will be announced in the Spring of 2017.

Confirmed Presentations

Bound for War: The Military Manual as Object in the Handpress EraFort Ticonderoga’s library preserves one of the most significant collections of early military manuals in North America. R.B. Bartgis will use the collection to discuss the creation and use of bound materials as physical objects through detailed photographs, descriptive bibliography, and working reproduction models, focusing on English and American books and pamphlets of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. R.B. Bartgis is a conservator technician at the US National Archives and student at Rare Book School at the University of Virginia.

Castor, Demi-Castor, Rorum, and Wool: Eighteenth-Century Hat Making in Britain, America, and FranceHats comprised an important part of 18th-century commerce and fashion. Learn how hatters in Europe and the Colonies transformed raw furs and wools into fashionable and valuable commodities. Formerly the historian for the USS Constitution Museum, Matthew Brenckle now operates his own business making reproductions of historic hats.

Beyond Tin Cups and Wooden Bowls: Ceramics and Glass in the French and English Armies—In the field and in barracks, archaeology shows us that armies of the French and English relied much more heavily on ceramic and glass containers and tableware than might be expected. This paper looks at both archaeological finds from military sites and parallel extant pieces. Examples will be on hand for participants to see and examine. Phil Dunning is a material culture researcher in archaeology. As a reenactor, he interprets an 18th-century sutler.

Early 19th-century Militia Clothing/AccoutrementsThe decades following the War of 1812 saw an explosion in the number of well-trained and uniformed volunteer militia companies in American. This presentation will examine the uniforms and equipment of these militia companies that are so evocative of the golden age of America's militia system. Derek Heidemann is the Coordinator of Historic Trades at Old Sturbridge Village where he is assisting to create a new exhibition on the militia of the period.

Phalanx of the Republic: Early 19th Century American Militia Attire in the Fort Ticonderoga CollectionAmongst the strongest, and least well-known, areas of Fort Ticonderoga’s collection are the uniforms of the American militia. Spanning the first four decades of the century these uniforms document the range of attire and the various identities Americans created for themselves while fulfilling their civic obligation of militia service. A vital institution of the early republic, the clothing of the militia is also amongst the most visually compelling examples of early American expression. Fort Ticonderoga’s Curator Matthew Keagle will explore the range and history of the unique uniforms and equipment in the museum’s collection.

Le Sellier—French Saddlery in the 18th CenturyUsing Diderot’s Encyclopedia as a window, examine saddlery and its use in France in the 18th Century. Explore the diverse types and roles of French saddlery from carrying the mail to defending the borders of France. A master saddler, Stuart Lilie leads visitor programs at Fort Ticonderoga as Senior Director of Interpretation.

Rediscovering Ticonderoga: A Collections Highlight Fort Ticonderoga was awarded a prestigious national grant for a fifteen-month project to inventory, catalog, assess conservation needs, and re-house thousands of internationally significant collections. Join Collections Manager, Miranda Peters, and Project Registrar, Margaret Staudter, as they share behind-the-scenes photos and experiences from this project, and see original examples from the largest 18th-century tool collection in North America, as well as other collections "rediscovered" along the way. This was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, grant # MA-30-16-0178-16.


Download a Registration Form

Teacher Scholarships

Thanks to the generous support of Seminar patrons, Fort Ticonderoga offers two scholarships for K-12 teachers who are first-time attendees at the "Material Matters" seminar. Since, 2001, Fort Ticonderoga has provided 130 teacher scholarships to attend its conferences and seminars.

Teachers wishing to apply for a scholarship should download a PDF of the application below and send it to Rich Strum, Director of Education. The application deadline is October 15, 2017.

Download the Teacher Scholarship Application.

Where to Stay

Rooms book quickly for Fort Ticonderoga events. Book your room early. For more information.

Other Conferences and Symposia at Fort Ticonderoga

Fort Ticonderoga offers a series of conferences and symposia throughout the year.