2018 Fort Fever Series Schedule at Fort Ticonderoga Announced

Fort Ticonderoga’s “Fort Fever Series” will begin in January and run through April 2018. The lecture series will be held on Sunday afternoons at 2:00 pm in the Mars Education Center. Tickets are $12.00 per person and can be purchased at the door; Fort Ticonderoga Members and Ambassador Pass holders are admitted free of cost.

“The Fort Fever Series is a wonderful opportunity for Fort Ticonderoga Museum Staff to share their latest research,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO. “New discoveries found in Fort Ticonderoga’s vast museum collections inform all of our programs. Fort Fever programs give guests the opportunity to have a preview of the content and learn more about Fort Ticonderoga’s history, collections, and exciting initiatives.”

Fort Fever Series Schedule:

January 7: “Vigilance and Discipline to be observed through all the Vessels” —Join Assistant Director of Interpretation, Nicholas Spadone, as he explores the composition of the dozens of British Royal Navy Vessels on Lake Champlain during the American Revolution. From captured American-built vessels to newly built British vessels, delve into the design, construction, and legacies of these wooden boats that commanded the Champlain Valley.

February 11: “Soldiers of Color at Ticonderoga” — Join Vice President of Public History and Operations, Stuart Lilie, to explore the diversity of soldiers who fought at Ticonderoga and to examine how the attitudes about soldiers of color varied dramatically within these various armies.

March 11: “A ‘Charmingly Aggressive Woman.’ Sarah Pell’s Struggle for History & Human Rights”— Described by a contemporary as a “charmingly aggressive woman,” Sarah Pell was a central figure behind Ticonderoga’s rebirth. Join Collections Manager, Miranda Peters, as she shares images, archival materials, and collections never-before-seen by the public, and recently cataloged by museum staff that reveal glimpses of Sarah’s impactful work.

April 15: “Somewhere in France: Stephen Pell’s Great War”— Curator Matthew Keagle will explore the service of Fort Ticonderoga’s co-founder Stephen H. P. Pell during the first World War. Learn about Stephen’s war through never-before-seen artifacts, photographs, and letters in Fort Ticonderoga’s collection.

The “Fort Fever Series” is just one of several programs taking place during Winter Quarters at Fort Ticonderoga November through April. Clothing and Accoutrement Workshops are offered January 27-28, March 10-11, and April 14-15. Fort Ticonderoga presents living history events on December 9 (The Noble Train Begins), January 13 (Preparing for the Coming Campaign), February 17 (1775 British Garrison at Ticonderoga), and March 24 (Ordered to Join the Northern Army in Canada). The Seventh Annual Garden & Landscape Symposium will be held on April 7. You can learn more about all of these programs by visiting www.fortticonderoga.org. Some programs require advance registration.

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

Photo:  The March 11, 2018 Fort Fever Series Program “A ‘Charmingly Aggressive Woman.’ Sarah Pell’s Struggle for History & Human Rights” Sarah Pell leading President Taft on a tour of the restoration of Fort Ticonderoga on July 6, 1909. From the Fort Ticonderoga Archival Collection.

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Nicaragua Cannon

In the winter of 1930, H. Jermain Slocum acting as an agent for Fort Ticonderoga visited the Caribbean to acquire historic cannon for the museum. Departing Miami, he flew to British Honduras, now known as Belize, and  then to Panama and Nicaragua, before taking a ship to Curaçao, Trinidad, St. Kitts, St. Eustatius, St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, Haiti, and finally Cuba before returning to the United States.

One of the Nicaraguan cannon loaded onto a heavy cart. Note the cannon gin at left, which Pell described using in his correspondence with Major Sultan of the US Engineers. Collection of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum, 1999.1110

In February of 1930, Slocum secured the donation of four 24-pounder cannon from President José María Moncada of Nicaragua. There was just one problem–they were located at Fort San Carlos in a remote part of the country on the southeastern side of Lake Nicaragua, with no easy way to transport them halfway across the Western hemisphere to Ticonderoga.

What followed was a journey as epic as any undertaken during the Revolutionary War. A Civil War in the 1920s and the continuing interest in a possible canal across Nicaragua meant large numbers of US military forces were present in the country in the early 1930s. By May 1930, Stephen Pell, the co-founder of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum and Slocum were corresponding with Major Dan Sultan of the US Engineers who offered to assist the project.

Unlike Henry Knox in 1775, there were neither draft animals, nor any ship’s tackle heavy enough to move the cannon at San Carlos. Major Sultan estimated each as weighing 3-4 tons, far larger than anyone had anticipated. The guns would have to be moved entirely by hand from the backside of a hill where the fort stood to the shore of Lake Nicaragua “along the narrow causeway leading to the dock.” From there, they could be loaded onto the lake steamer Victoria. Hoping to find a solution Stephen Pell wrote to Major Sultan in June, saying, “I hate to suggest to a military engineer how to handle cannon but we found in some of the old 18th century books on engineering just how they did it 150 years ago. They used a scissors or triangle of three logs with a pulley in the middle, put a chain around the center of the guns and were able to hoist them high enough to load on a gun carriage.

The cannon from Nicaragua are unloaded at the train station near Fort Ticonderoga in the winter of 1930-31, the last leg of their nearly 2,500 mile voyage. Collection of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum, 1999.1030.

The Master of the Victoria was concerned the heavy cannon would puncture the hull of his ship and sink it in the middle of the lake. He was finally convinced to ship one cannon at a time. Moving each cannon individually, it took nearly a month for all the guns to cross Lake Nicaragua and arrive at Grenada on the opposite shore. Once there, the guns were laboriously lifted, by hand again, onto dock cars and rolled to the railroad where they were lifted onto full-sized railway cars to ship them to the Pacific coast at Corinto. Sultan informed Pell that, “In looking over the file I find that it has taken some 30 letters, a dozen telegrams and numerous interviews to get the cannon to Corinto.”

By the early 20th century automobiles had replaced draft animals as the sources of horsepower. Other than that the methods might have been familiar to Henry Knox. Collection of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum, 1999.1043.

By November, the cannon had traveled nearly 200 miles across Nicaragua. Major Sultan had to write to Pell to ensure he was willing to cover the cost to ship them all the way on to Ticonderoga, an expense of nearly $500, at a time when $50 was an average weekly income for an American worker. Pell wired money to Sultan and by late November of 1930, the cannon would embark on the Panama Mail Steamship Company’s ship Guatemala for New York where they were expected to arrive by December 15.

Arriving in New York, the cannon were shipped by freight train to Ticonderoga. In the middle of winter, the guns were loaded onto heavy carts at Ticonderoga using the 18th-century style gun gins that Pell had described to Sultan that summer. Unlike Knox, Pell used automobiles to haul the carts carrying the guns up the hill to the reconstructed fort, each cannon requiring two trucks. By January 14, 1931 Stephen Pell wrote to the Nicaraguan Legation in the US that the cannon had arrived in Ticonderoga and encouraged a visit to the museum to see the cannon that would be mounted by the summer.

The cannon are still here as reminders of an epic journey halfway across the hemisphere. You can learn more about these and the other cannon in Fort Ticonderoga’s museum collection any time of year through the Fort Ticonderoga mobile app: https://www.fortticonderoga.org/mobileapplication.

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North Country History Day Presented by Fort Ticonderoga on March 3, 2018 “Conflict and Compromise in History”

Fort Ticonderoga will host its National History Day on Saturday, March 3, 2018 in the Mars Education Center. The 2018 theme is “Conflict and Compromise in History.” Students can participate in five categories: historical paper, exhibit, website, documentary, or performance. Students compete in two divisions: Junior (grades 6-8) and Senior (grades 9-12). Six northern New York counties are eligible to participate: Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, St. Lawrence, and Warren.

The first and second place winners in each category and in both divisions advance to the New York State History Day contest in Cooperstown, New York, on Monday, April 23, 2018. The top finishers at the state level advance to the National History Day contest in College Park, Maryland, June 10-14, 2018.

“More than half of a million students from all 50 states participate annually in a program that develops the critical thinking skills necessary for success in today’s business world,” said Rich Strum, Director of Academic Programs at Fort Ticonderoga. “A recent study found that this project-based program has proven benefits such as increased test scores, greater aptitude for reading comprehension, and analytical skills.”

North Country teachers interested in learning more about History Day can contact North Country History Day Coordinator Rich Strum, Director of Academic Programs at Fort Ticonderoga, at rstrum@fort-ticonderoga.org. 

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

Photo: Students from Gouverneur Middle School participated in North Country History Day held at Fort Ticonderoga in March 2017. North Country students are working on their projects now in preparation for North Country History Day on Saturday, March 3, 2018, at Fort Ticonderoga.

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The Next Generation of Museum Professionals

Over the past three summers, Fort Ticonderoga has provided twelve Graduate Fellowships to students from across the country. The Edward W. Pell Graduate Fellowships provide aspiring museum professionals an opportunity to work with our staff and our world-class collections. The two-month fellowships provide students with a wide range of experiences as well as the chance to work and own a specific project to support future exhibitions and programs.

“I could not have asked for a better experience this summer,” said 2017 Research Fellow Theresa Ball from the University of Washington. “It is rare to find an institution as remarkably driven and exceptionally innovative as Fort Ticonderoga. In my time here I have been encouraged to challenge myself and allowed the freedom to make projects my own while also receiving the guidance and support necessary to succeed.”

“The Edward W. Pell Fellowship was a career-building experience that went beyond my expectations,” adds 2017 Collections Fellow Elizabeth Beaudoin from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “The positive, driven culture at Fort Ticonderoga is contagious.”

Kathryn Kaslow, the 2017 Education Fellow from the University of South Carolina, wrote the following:

In the summer of 2017, I had the opportunity to serve as Fort Ticonderoga’s Education Fellow. My master’s program in public history required me to complete a 145-hour internship, and I couldn’t just sit behind a visitor services desk all day; I needed to have an actual product to present at the end of it. Fort Ticonderoga’s two-month fellowship program, where graduate students work on specific projects that are valuable to the institution’s growth and public outreach, presented the perfect opportunity. It allowed me to pursue my interest in early American history and gain experience in museum education, an area of the museum field that I hadn’t yet had the chance to work in.

During my fellowship, I led a session of Fort Ticonderoga’s annual week-long teacher institute and developed a corresponding lesson plan to put up on the Fort Ticonderoga website. In addition to writing curriculum, which I had never done before, I was able to put my background in interpretation to good use. I developed some materials for the school and youth program coordinator to use while she trains her staff in how to more effectively engage children and other visitors who are not necessarily familiar with or interested in military history. By assisting my supervisor with some of his daily tasks, lending a helping hand during special events, and conversing with the other graduate fellows about their projects in collections and exhibit development, I immersed myself in the day-to-day life of the education department while gaining an understanding of how my work complemented that of staff members in other departments.

Finally, the close-knit community at Fort Ticonderoga helped make the summer fellowship very memorable. From field trips and exploring the Adirondacks to barbecues and beach days, there was never a dull moment! I was thankful for the opportunity to get to know the other graduate fellows and coworkers on a personal as well as a professional level, and the energetic, forward-thinking atmosphere at Fort Ticonderoga is contagious. This made going into work each day a pleasure. As August rolled around, I was sad to see it come to an end!

My summer at Fort Ticonderoga was an enriching and rewarding experience. For both professional growth and long-lasting memories, Fort Ticonderoga is the place to be.

Fort Ticonderoga is currently accepting applications for its 2018 Edward W. Pell Graduate Fellowships. We are seeking graduate students with experience in museum studies, art history, decorative arts, museum education, public history, history, American studies, or military history who are self-motivated and able to work independently as well as contribute to a dedicated team to create and develop groundbreaking exhibitions and programs for a diverse audience.

If you know of a graduate student who you think might be a good fit with our program, please encourage him/her to consider applying. Additional information about the 2018 Edward W. Pell Graduate Fellowships is available at www.fortticonderoga.org/education/university-partnerships.

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The Noble Train Begins: Living History Event on December 9, 2017

Join Fort Ticonderoga on December 9, 2017 to relive Henry Knox’s epic feat as he prepared to move massive cannon from Ticonderoga to Boston to force the British evacuation in 1776. Watch as soldiers work as carpenters to maintain Ticonderoga. Witness the raw power of oxen and horses as these thousand pound animals pull sleds of cannon tubes. Examine the science of gunnery, preserved in Fort Ticonderoga’s massive cannon collection. Listen to the martial music of 1775 in a stirring Fife and Drum concert. Tour through Fort Ticonderoga and learn more about our museum exhibits and daily demonstrations as you step into the first year of the Revolutionary War. Visit historic trades shops to discover daily routines for men and women at this strategic fortification in 1775. For the full event schedule, and to learn more about the event, visit www.fortticonderoga.org or call 518-585-2821.

“Step into a hive of military activity as you meet the soldiers working feverishly to maintain Fort Ticonderoga,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO. “Walk along teamsters and oxen as they help in the work. Visit a trades shop to discover how tradesmen known as artificers worked to resupply soldiers with clothing, shoes, and equipment. Discover how meals were prepared and rationed to feed an entire army.”

Bring your family along to experience this exciting living history event during Fort Ticonderoga’s new schedule of programs during Winter Quarters season. From November through April, visitors will be immersed in a more intimate experience at Fort Ticonderoga. From exciting living history events, insightful seminars, specialty programs, and hands-on workshops, guests will have the opportunity to explore Fort Ticonderoga during what was traditionally the “Winter Quarters” season for armies of the 18th century.

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

Photo: The Noble Train Begins Living History Event will take place on December 9, 2017 at Fort Ticonderoga. Visit www.fortticonderoga.org or call 518-585-2821 for more Winter Quarter events, programs, and seminars.

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Experience Fort Ticonderoga during Winter Quarters: November 2017 – April 2018

Fort Ticonderoga is launching a new schedule of programs during its Winter Quarters season. From November through April, visitors will be immersed in a more intimate experience at Fort Ticonderoga. From exciting living history events, insightful seminars, specialty programs, and hands-on workshops, guests will have the opportunity to explore Fort Ticonderoga during what was traditionally the “Winter Quarters” season for armies of the 18th century. Groups of 15 or more are also invited to schedule a visit to have the entire site to themselves and a dedicated historic interpreter for their tour during the Winter Quarters season. To learn more about the full schedule visit www.fortticonderoga.org or call 518-585-2821.

“Discover a new perspective of Ticonderoga’s epic history and stunning historic landscape during our Winter Quarters season,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO. “Just as the armies of the 18th century moved into Winter Quarters during this period of the year, Fort Ticonderoga is now launching a new program initiative to capture the story, activities, and winter-time beauty of the site. Unlike many regional tourist destinations who close their doors during this period, Fort Ticonderoga remains extremely active with a variety of unique and intimate guest experiences. From special group tours and field trips, classroom visits, incredible living history events, seminars and lectures series and a variety of other programs, Fort Ticonderoga’s Winter Quarters is a must-do for residents in the region as well as the many tourists who visit the Adirondacks for its story, beauty, and wintertime activities.”

Living History Events
December 9, 2017: The Noble Train Begins
Discover the epic story of Henry Knox’s “Noble Train” and witness the raw power of oxen and horses as these thousand pound animals pull sleds of cannon tubes. Examine the science of gunnery, preserved in Fort Ticonderoga’s massive cannon collection.

January 13, 2018: The Coming Campaign
Discover the defining story of 1777, the last year American troops held Ticonderoga. the roar of musketry and cannon and the intricate maneuvering of soldiers take on a whole new dimension in the stark beauty of winter.

February 17, 2018: 1775 British Garrison Event
See how British soldiers and their families lived at Fort Ticonderoga on the eve of the American Revolution. Discover what it was like to be a British soldier, soldier’s wife, or child. Was the British army prepared or unprepared to fight for control of Ticonderoga?

March 24, 2018: Ordered to Join the Northern Army in Canada
Discover how veteran New York soldiers and raw recruits assembled at Ticonderoga in the spring of 1776. See their training and preparation to join the on-going Continental Army campaign in Canada. Smell the sawdust and watch the wood chips fly as carpenters repair the fort barracks.

Fort Fever Series
Fort Ticonderoga’s popular wintertime Fort Fever Series returns in 2018 and features programs led by Fort Ticonderoga museum staff who will share their latest research and cutting-edge discoveries.

January 7, 2018: “Vigilance & Discipline to be observed through all the Vessels”
Join Assistant Director of Interpretation, Nicholas Spadone, as he explores the composition of the dozens of British Royal Navy Vessels on Lake Champlain during the American Revolution.

February 11, 2018: “Soldiers of Color at Ticonderoga”
In celebration of Black History month, join Vice President of Public History and Operations, Stuart Lilie, to explore the diversity of soldiers who fought at Ticonderoga and examine how attitudes about soldiers of color varied dramatically within these various armies.

March 11, 2018: “A ‘Charmingly Aggressive Woman’ Sarah Pell’s Struggle for History & Human Rights”
Celebrate women’s history the month with us! Join Miranda Peters, Collections Manager, as she shares images, archival materials, and collections never-before-seen by the public, and recently cataloged by museum staff that reveal glimpses of Sarah Pell’s impactful work.

• April 15, 2018: “Somewhere in France–Stephen Pell’s Great War”
Curator Matthew Keagle will explore the service of Fort Ticonderoga’s co-founder Stephen H.P. Pell during the First World War. As a volunteer ambulance driver, Stephen saw the Great War first-hand on the Battlefields of France. Learn about Stephen’s war through never-before-seen artifacts, photographs, and letters from Fort Ticonderoga’s collection.
To learn more about the 2018 Fort Fever Series, visit www.fortticonderoga.org under the “Education” tab by selecting “Workshops and Seminars” on the drop down menu.

Winter Workshop Series
Join Fort Ticonderoga’s professional staff and tradesmen as you make your own 18th-century clothing and accoutrement during hands-on Trades Workshops. Each workshop includes a coat kit, sewing materials, and lunch. Pre-registration required.

January 27-28, 2018: “Surtouts & Straight-Bodied Coats”
Learn construction details as you build your own men’s 1770 civilian coat. Choose between making a blue, brown, or drab breadcloth surtout (a fitted overcoat) or a straight-bodied coat.

March 10-11, 2018: “British Regimental Coats”
Learn the latest research on British enlisted regimental coats as you construct your own. Bring your own lace and buttons to customize your trim.

April 14-15, 2018: “Hunting Shirts”
Explore the origins and construction of this unique American military worn garment during the War for Independence.

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

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Fort Ticonderoga Seeks Applicants for 2018 Graduate Fellowships

Fort Ticonderoga is seeking applicants for its 2018 Edward W. Pell Graduate Fellowships designed for students seeking practical, hands-on fellowship experience at a historic site and museum with dynamic and transformative programs. The Fellowships run from June 11 to August 17, 2018, and include Fellowships in Education, Exhibitions, and Collections Management. Continue reading

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Fort Ticonderoga Presents Seventh Annual “Material Matters: It’s in the Details” Weekend Seminar November 4-5, 2017

Fort Ticonderoga will host its Seventh Annual “Material Matters: It’s in the Details” seminar on November 4 & 5, 2017. This weekend event focuses on the material culture of the 18th and early 19th centuries and is intended for collectors and people with a general interest in learning more about objects and what they can tell us about history. “Material Matters” takes place in the Mars Education Center at Fort Ticonderoga. Continue reading

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Fort Ticonderoga Announces 2017 Volunteer Awards

Fort Ticonderoga recently held its annual Volunteer Reception to thank volunteers and recognize volunteer leadership. Bonnie Sheeley of Putnam, New York, received the 2017 Fort Ticonderoga Volunteer of the Year award for her dedicated service working with a variety of museum departments throughout the year. A number of other awards were presented to volunteers during the reception, celebrating volunteers’ creative skills and dedication. Fort Ticonderoga volunteers have given nearly 10,000 hours so far in 2017 in areas including public history, administration, special events, horticulture, education, development, collections management, and buildings and grounds. Continue reading

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Explore Fort Ticonderoga’s Heroic Corn Maze at Night! October 27-28, 2017

Discover fall fun of historic proportions at Fort Ticonderoga’s Maze by Moonlight Friday, October 27 and Saturday, October 28. Navigate through the six-acres of towering corn stalks at night! Visitors will find clues connected to Fort Ticonderoga’s story as they make their way through the maze in the blanket of darkness. Will Fort Ticonderoga’s unexplained and ghostly past find you in the maze? Bring your flashlight and find out! Continue reading

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