Fort Ticonderoga has received a highly selective “Museums for America” grant in the amount of $150,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services that will support a re-interpretation and exhibition of the museum’s outstanding artillery collection. This funding will help with the fabrication and installation of Fort Ticonderoga’s upcoming exhibit “The Last Argument of Kings: The Art and Science of 18th-Century Artillery” (opening May 2016), which will tell the story of the weapons that dominated 18th-century battlefields. The exhibit will also include the re-installation of elements of the permanent artillery collection along the fort’s wall, conservation work on several key artillery pieces, an interactive activity space, a new mobile application, a symposium featuring world-renowned scholars, and the publication of an exhibition catalogue.
“Fort Ticonderoga’s artillery collection is internationally recognized as the largest and most significant of its kind in North America,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO. “This incredible collection has been set dressing to the reconstructed fort since the early 20th century. Now because of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant, we can place the artillery center stage where it belongs. The new exhibit ‘Last Argument of Kings’ will reveal the story of these complex weapons through exploring the creation, use, and after lives of these remarkable objects. The exhibition will give Fort Ticonderoga the opportunity to engage its 70,000 guests in topics of physics, chemistry, and art as well as the historical narrative; thus, greatly enhancing the museum’s educational opportunities.”
“Artillery were more than just weapons, they were technological marvels and financial investments that required immense theoretical and practical training to use effectively,” said Matthew Keagle, Fort Ticonderoga’s Curator of Collections. “‘The Last Argument of Kings: The Art and Science of 18th-Century Artillery’ takes its name from the swaggering motto of Louis XIV of France, who had his cannons engraved with the Latin saying, ‘Ultima Ratio Regum,’ or ‘the last argument of kings.’ These were the dominant weapons of the 18th century and the ultimate in destruction. They were so highly regarded on the battlefield that they were preserved for more than two centuries and not melted down like so many weapons of that era were.”
As a part of the grant project, the Museum will work with an evaluation consultant to perform three sets of exhibit evaluations, which will inform effective changes throughout the life of the exhibit as well as the development of future exhibitions. This project will provide the Fort Ticonderoga Museum a unique opportunity to present and interpret this fascinating, but neglected part of the collection and will serve as a model for future exhibits.
Fort Ticonderoga is a world renowned cultural destination, historic site, and museum that educates and inspires while creating jobs and generating revenue. The IMLS Grant funding will enable the Fort Ticonderoga Museum to overhaul its exhibits, increase visitor counts, and continue as a major source of economic growth in Essex County and the surrounding North Country. The Museum hosts tens of thousands of visitors on an annual basis, contributes $9 million in economic growth for the region and supports 120 jobs. This federal funding will allow it to continue to support as well as expand upon those activities.
This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, grant # MA-10-15-0182-15.
About Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.”
About Fort Ticonderoga: America’s Fort TM
The Fort Ticonderoga Association is an independent not-for-profit educational organization which serves its mission to ensure that present and future generations learn from the struggles, sacrifices, and victories that shaped the nations of North America and changed world history. It serves this mission by preserving and enhancing its historic structures, collections, gardens and landscapes; and educating the public as it learns about the history of Fort Ticonderoga. Welcoming visitors since 1909, it preserves North America’s largest 18th-century artillery collection, 2000 acres of historic landscape on Lake Champlain, and Carillon Battlefield, and the largest series of untouched 18th-century earthworks surviving in America. Fort Ticonderoga engages more than 70,000 visitors each year, and annually reaches more than 5,000 people in outreach programs. Fort Ticonderoga offers programs, historic interpretation, boat cruises, tours, demonstrations, and exhibits throughout the year and is open for daily visitation May through November. Fort Ticonderoga is accredited by the American Association of Museums and pursues its vision to be the premier cultural destination in North America. Visit www.FortTiconderoga.org for a full list of ongoing programs or call 518-585-2821. Fort Ticonderoga is located at 100 Fort Ti Road, Ticonderoga, New York.
America’s Fort is a registered trademark of the Fort Ticonderoga Association.