Fort Ticonderoga Recognizes Long-Standing Employees

Fort Ticonderoga recently recognized several staff members for their long-time service and dedication to Fort Ticonderoga’s dual mission of education and preservation. Staff recognized include: Michael Edson, Robert Bartlett, Claire Bartlett, Stephen Teer, Catherine Burke, Richard Strum, Dorcey Crammond, Kenneth Olcott, Martha Strum, Earl Harrington, Debra Jordan, Carol Stanley, and the late John Hurlburt, who is sorely missed by the Fort Ticonderoga staff and our community. Each employee received a certificate in his or her honor with a slideshow presentation at a staff reception in the Mars Education Center at Fort Ticonderoga.

“Fort Ticonderoga greatly appreciates all employees and their dedication to the remarkable work underway, “said Beth Hill, President and CEO. “We are especially thrilled to thank our long-standing employees for their commitment to our educational work and guest experience. The employees recognized have contributed substantially to Fort Ticonderoga over the years with their time and talent.”

Fort Ticonderoga employs approximately 80 employees including 20 full-time year-round employees and supports 151 jobs in the Ticonderoga region with its economic impact of $12 million annually.

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

Photo Credit: Richard Timberlake


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Fort Ticonderoga Acquires Rare Muskets from the British 53rd Regiment of Foot

Fort Ticonderoga has recently acquired three British muskets that last served at Fort Ticonderoga 240 years ago. Three muskets carried by the 53rd Regiment of Foot are a part of one of the most exciting moments of the Revolutionary history of Ticonderoga and are rare examples of British military firearms from the Revolutionary War.

“The muskets are all marked with a series of numbers and letters that indicate their use with the 53rd Regiment beyond any doubt, even indicating the company and soldier they were carried by. Such information allows the Fort Ticonderoga Museum to say with confidence that these muskets have come back where they saw action 240 years ago,” said Matthew Keagle, Fort Ticonderoga’s Museum Curator. “A single such survivor is rare, for three weapons to emerge is almost unprecedented. The important history of these weapons has been acknowledged through their past loan to the museum, now they will permanently be joining the collection where they will be on display for visitors every day.”

In addition to their legacy at Ticonderoga, these muskets are also important examples of British military long arms from the late 18th century. Noted arms researcher Bill Ahearn first identified these as a unique pattern of weapon, produced in Ireland specifically for the 53rd Regiment. Although similar in their overall appearance, the exact proportions and details of these weapons make them distinct from any other British military weapon from the period.

About the 53rd Regiment of Foot:

General John Burgoyne’s British and German army captured Fort Ticonderoga in July of 1777. By August, the garrison consisted of Germans of the Brunswick Regiment Prinz Friedrich and the British 53rd Regiment of Foot, and then later were spread out across Mount Independence in Vermont all the way to the modern town of Ticonderoga, the head of Lake George, and the summit of Mount Defiance. An American raid on September 18 caught them off guard and succeeded in capturing four companies of the 53rd, Mount Defiance and its artillery, and freed American prisoners of war held by the British. Despite these initial successes, they were not prepared for a formal siege and after four days, the Americans withdrew, leaving the fort in British hands until early November.

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

Photo Credit: Fort Ticonderoga

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Fort Ticonderoga Generates More than $12 Million Economic Impact for Ticonderoga Region

Fort Ticonderoga, a not-for-profit educational organization and major cultural destination, announced today that it generates a total of $12.1 million annually in economic impact.  The total includes visitor spending from tourists; spending by the Fort Ticonderoga Association in its daily operations; the indirect and induced impacts created by labor income as it flows into the regional economy; and tax revenue generated by that spending.

In 2016, the Fort Ticonderoga Association of Ticonderoga, NY commissioned Magellan Strategy Group to perform an economic impact study analyzing Fort Ticonderoga’s impact upon the surrounding region. The report utilized data provided by guests visiting Fort Ticonderoga utilized the highly regarded IMPLAN software. The study employed a conservative approach to measuring guest spending that evaluated only those expenditures that occurred as a result of visiting Fort Ticonderoga.

The economic impact announcement made today at Fort Ticonderoga’s Mars Education Center was celebrated by regional and state officials, as well as local and regional business leaders, regional non-profit leaders, and tourism representatives. Featured speakers at the major announcement included New York Assemblyman Dan Stec and James McKenna, President and CEO of the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism.  Also in attendance was Joe Giordano, Ticonderoga Town Supervisor; Matthew Courtright, Executive Director of the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce; Sanford W. Morhouse, Fort Ticonderoga Association Chairman of the Board; and Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga Association President and CEO.

“We are very fortunate to have Fort Ticonderoga within our beautiful Adirondack Park,” said Dan Stec, New York State Assembly, District 114. “Promoting significant economic development initiatives along with providing important educational opportunities to residents and visitors alike will have a long term benefit for our Adirondack Communities.”

“Our research shows that a combination of heritage and culture, and unique, authentic experiences appeal to the younger generation of traveler, and Fort Ticonderoga’s programming and expanded product offerings more than meet that criteria,” said James McKenna, president of ROOST. “Fort Ticonderoga contributes significant economic impact to the region, but more importantly, the staff and board have uniquely positioned the institution for long-term sustainability. This will catapult the region into the future, providing ever-changing experiences that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world.”

“This report quantifies what we already know to be true,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO. “Fort Ticonderoga’s iconic story and mission of education and preservation translate into real and substantial economic impact confirming Fort Ticonderoga’s place in the present and more importantly, in the region’s economic future. Fort Ticonderoga is a major statewide and regional asset with transformative plans for the years ahead.”

Report Details:

Impact Upon Jobs:

  • Visitor spending by the over 75,000 annual Fort Ticonderoga guests while in the region generates a substantial direct economic impact- over $6.7 million annually.
  • Guest spending and Fort Ticonderoga’s operations support 151 regional jobs, representing $6.3 million in labor income that flows into the regional economy.

Impact Upon Tax Revenue:

  • Over $2.5 million in annual tax revenue generated to federal, state and regional governments.
  • $1.1 million in state and local taxes and an additional $1.4 million in federal taxes.
  • The state and regional revenue reduces the annual tax burden for every local household in Essex County, NY by an estimated $73.28.

Impact Upon Tourism:

  • 85% of guests say that Fort Ticonderoga is the primary reason for visiting the Ticonderoga area.
  • 75% of Fort Ticonderoga’s 75,000 guests visited the area for the first time in 2016.

Impact Upon Lodging:

  • 54% of Fort Ticonderoga guests spent at least one night in regional commercial lodging (hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, rental cabins, etc.) specifically as a part of their Fort Ticonderoga visit.
  • 24% of Fort Ticonderoga guests spent the night in commercial lodging in and around the town of Ticonderoga.
  • Average stay by Fort Ticonderoga guests in commercial lodging on their visit is 2 nights.
  • One-quarter of Fort Ticonderoga guests stayed 3 or more nights in commercial lodging.

Economic Impact of the Spending by Fort Ticonderoga Guests:

  • Total spending per guest associated with a visit to Fort Ticonderoga is $89.24 including food and beverage, lodging, gas/auto, retail, and entertainment.

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

Photo: Credit Carl Heilman; Copyright Fort Ticonderoga

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Top Late-Season Flowers

Dr. Leonard Perry, Horticulturist in Residence

A question I have often received over the years is “what can I plant for late season color?” The problem, I realized, is that many gardeners buy their flowers early in the season, so have predominantly early-summer blooms. When I started at North Country garden, I was always busy early in the season, finally getting somewhat caught up by August, so I went to nurseries then to buy perennials. Getting ones in bloom, my garden was mainly late-season bloomers.  Therefore, I eventually started making a point to go shopping earlier in the season and to focus on flowers for earlier blooms. Check out local nurseries now to see what they have in bloom, or shop now online. Ideally, just make sure to get perennials in the ground by the end of September, preferably by mid-month, to make sure they have some time to be rooted before the ground gets cold enough to stop root growth.

On a recent visit to the King’s Garden (which has a stunning display, thanks to Rose, Garden Foreman, and her team), four flowers particularly stood out to me for their show or unique growth—two annuals and two perennials.


Salvia ‘Lady in Red’ has been one of my favorites for some years (it was an All-American Selections winner in 1992), and this year lined the walk on either side as you entered the King’s Garden through the gate on the fort side from the maple allee. This red-flowered salvia reaches 2 feet or slightly taller, and has red flowers through the season. It is different from the common saliva most know (Salvia splendens), being a different species (Salvia coccinea)—the species name meaning “red.” It will grow with some blooms in part shade, but has best flowering in full sun. It can tolerate dry soils once established, and does not like wet soils.

The spikes, up to a foot long on ‘Lady in Red,’ of small red flowers are very attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies—hence another common name of ‘Hummingbird Sage.’   Goldfinches and other small birds like the seeds.  There is a newer series of similar salvia—the ‘Summer Jewel’ series, but I find ‘Lady in Red’ is as good, or often better with more flowers, than ‘Summer Jewel Red’ (a 2011 All-America Selection). The species is native to sandy areas such as in coastal plains, through southern states west to Texas and Mexico. It is often called ‘Texas Sage.’


A second annual flower that is found spilling out onto a walk in the King’s Garden, near the Pavilion, is nasturtium.  For many, including myself, this has been a great year for this vining or trailing flower. There are several cultivars (cultivated varieties) of this flower, some spreading (Tropaeolum majus) and vining and others more bushy (T. minus). This flower has been around for many years, and was a main flower used by the artist Claude Monet at his home in Giverny, France on each side of the main allee ( They love to hang, so they are best seen growing on berms or raised pots and containers, such as window boxes. A great example of this can be seen each spring at the Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston, where they start them almost a year prior at the April opening, where they hang up to 20 feet down from window boxes for a few weeks of blooms (

Nasturtiums prefer full sun for best flowering, but will grow in part shade. They prefer soils that are cool and moist, but not soggy. They have round leaves an inch or more wide, held on long leaf stalks. The attractive flowers are on inch or more wide, with five flaring flower parts, and come in several colors. Flowers are popular as an edible plant part, especially to decorate salads, with a peppery flavor. They are high in vitamins A, C (10 times that of lettuce), and D.

Trailing cultivars you may find include the ‘Jewel of Africa’ mix with flowers in yellow, red, cream and pink. ‘Moonlight’ has pale yellow flowers, while ‘Apricot Twist’ has double flowers in apricot-orange, splashed with red.  Bushy, semi- to non-trailing cultivars include the popular ‘Empress of India’ with bright scarlet flower—a nice contrast to the blue-green leaves. ‘Peach Melba’ has cream flowers with a raspberry red center, ‘Strawberries and Cream’ has pale yellow flowers with splashes of red, while the ‘Whirlybird Mix’ has semi-double flowers in cream, salmon, gold, and cherry-rose.  Look through seed catalogs this winter to find many others, which can be easily started at home from seeds next April.

Waxy Bells

A couple of less common perennial flowers in the King’s Garden stand out during the end of summer each year. Inside the walled garden on the more shady, southeast side, you will find ‘Waxy Bells,’ or yellow wax bells (Kirengeshoma palmata), named for its yellow waxy bell-shaped flowers that are drooping in clusters.  The scientific name comes from the Japanese for yellow (ki), lotus blossom (renge), and hat (shoma). The species name refers to the palmate (palm-shaped) leaves, similar to a maple. ‘Waxy Bells’ is native to Japan, Korea and northeast China.

Plants get three to four feet high, and a bit less wide. They need part shade-to-shade, and moist soils.  Hardy to USDA zone 5 (-10 to -20 degrees minimum in winter on average), they have a nice protected setting within the King’s Garden wall, which also gets some temperature moderation from the lake nearby.

Cup Plant

The other perennial that many visitors notice and inquire about in late summer is the ‘Cup Plant’ (Silphium perfoliatum). This you will find growing outside of the walled garden, in the children’s garden in full sun. This native of eastern North America is generally six to eight feet high, and three feet or more wide. The yellow, daisy-like flowers mean it is in the composite or aster family like the sunflowers. Similar to these, they are attractive to butterflies and birds (for the seeds).  Flowers are held on top on long stalks in clusters, above the large leaves, which come together around the square (in cross section) stems to form a cup. These cups are the plant’s means of collecting rainwater. It grows best in moist to wet soils, but is quite adaptable. The stems, when cut, exude a gummy sap.  This gives rise to another common name of ‘Cup Rosinweed.’ If you have a prairie planting or one of native plants, or back of a border with plenty of room, consider this quite hardy, USDA zone 3 perennial (surviving to -30 degrees F in the winter).

Happy gardening and be sure to come visit our late season blossoms in the King’s Garden!

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Abigail May’s Visit to Ticonderoga in July 1800

Late last month, we hosted the Fifth Annual Fort Ticonderoga Teacher Institute. This year’s Institute titled “Last of the Mohicans: Early American History and Literature” used the novel The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper to explore themes related to the French siege and capture of Fort William Henry in August 1757.

While the majority of the week focused on the history of the 1757 French campaign against Fort William Henry, we spent the last day and a half of the Institute focusing on the early 19th-century history of Ticonderoga at the time Cooper wrote his classic novel. The Last of the Mohicans was published in 1826—the fiftieth anniversary of American independence. It was also the year William Ferris Pell built the Pavilion here on the Ticonderoga peninsula.

Over 75,000 visitors make the trek to Fort Ticonderoga each year from all fifty states and from numerous other countries. Visitors have been touring the Ticonderoga peninsula, soaking in the history and scenic beauty, since the end of the American Revolution. In fact, we often think of George Washington as the first tourist to visit Fort Ticonderoga. His visit came in July 1783. Future presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison also visited the Ticonderoga peninsula, traveling north from Philadelphia in the spring of 1791.

This needlework of the ruins of Fort Ticonderoga is dated 1801, the year following Abigail May’s visit to Fort Ticonderoga (Collection of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum. Photo by Gavin Ashworth)

During the first quarter of the 19th century, visiting Ticonderoga as a part of the “Northern Tour” was firmly established. One of the earliest records of a visit to Ticonderoga by someone on this “Northern Tour” comes from Abigail May, who visited in July 1800.

Abigail May was from Boston and 24 years old in the summer of 1800. She, along with her mother and a younger brother, traveled to Ballston Spa in May 1800 in search of a cure for an undisclosed malady in the natural springs there. In mid-July, another guest at the Aldridge House at Ballston Spa invited Abigail to accompany a number of other guests on a trip to Lake George. In the days before trains, steamboats, and even improved roads, the journey proved difficult and challenging.

“Ruins of Fort Ticonderoga, New York” based on a painting by Thomas Cole, 1831 (Collection of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum)

The caravan of travelers departed from Ballston Spa in a combination of two- and four-wheeled carriages, with at least two gentlemen traveling on horseback. After a quick stop in Saratoga Springs, the group continued to present-day Schuylerville, “2 miles from the spot where General Burgoyne surrender’d.” The overnight accommodations were in a “house that did not promise much… Our room communicated with the one occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Bowers—indeed the partition was so thin we could hear even a whisper…we three Girls had two beds in this room.”

The following day, the group crossed the Hudson by ferry and continued to Sandy Hill (modern day Hudson Falls). From there, they rode “through a wild interesting country, to Queensbury, on the banks of Lake George—the first view of this Lake is most noble—A long sweep of mountains, extending as far as the eye can reach embosoming this smooth tranquil piece of water….”

Overnight accommodations here “had very much the appearance of a gaol—we however had a good dinner of Bass and Perch.” The next morning seven members of the party traversed the length of Lake George in a boat with four oarsmen. After rowing fourteen miles, the party stopped “and had a fire kindled, fish caught, and cook’d, which with our cold provision gave us an excellent dinner.”

The boat arrived at Ticonderoga at the north end of Lake George at eight o’clock that evening “hungry, tired, sleepy and wet.” Following a night in a rustic inn where the entire party had to share one room, they boarded a “wagon to cross to Lake Champlain…. Our driver a smart shrewd young man satisfied our curiosity as to “what’s that” and “what’s this”—the old French war was described, and we were shown vestiges of that calamity, but how shall I convey any idea to you of the delight I experienced, when the ruins of Fort Ticonderoga, and Lake Champlain appear’d in view—never in my life did I see such a prospect—our waggoner stop’d—to the right and in front of us, lay the Lake smooth and tranquil—its banks romantically sloping to its verge—and in a much higher state of cultivation than the borders of Lake George—a distant range of blue almost indistinct mountains, in the back ground, on our left lay the ruins, much more magnificent  then I supposed existed in our new country, built of stone, and the stone alone remaining—wood, glass, all devour’d by the insatiable monster—but the chimnies are intire, the walls of the houses, and peaks of the roof—the windows and door frames—the ramparts, fortifications yet remain—but overgrown with nettles and weeds, such a scene of desolation I never beheld—we alighted, I paced over the stones awe struck—this, said our guide was the house of the commanding officer.”

“Carillon and the Ruins of Ticonderoga” c. 1840 (Collection of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum)

May commented “Our guide though he knew a great deal—but I wish’d he knew more, I wanted to know every particular, of a spot that interested my feelings so much—but could obtain very imperfect information.”

The party dined at the inn on the peninsula run by Mrs. Charles Hay, the mother of the party’s guide around the ruins of the fort. At four o’clock in the afternoon, the party returned by wagon to Lake George and again headed south. Abigail May arrived back at Ballston Spa two days later.

Thankfully, getting to Ticonderoga is not so arduous today. We look forward to seeing you at Ticonderoga in the near future!

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Behind-the-Scenes in Collections! There & Back Again: The Ella Ferris Pell Collection

Anna Faherty, Edward W. Pell Graduate Fellow, reading one of Ella’s travel diaries from the 1870s.

This year has taken an in-depth focus on the women of Fort Ticonderoga. Costumed interpreters discuss women’s importance and their roles at Ticonderoga in the 18th century every day for our guests. Sarah Gibbs Thompson Pell, Museum co-founder and advocate for suffrage and equal rights, is highlighted in a new exhibit at the Mars Education Center (, where several of her pieces from her collection are on display. This summer, the Museum’s Collections Department has also been working on a project that rediscovers a famous female from our past–Ella Ferris Pell.

Ella Ferris Pell was the niece of William Ferris Pell, who bought the ruins of Fort Ticonderoga in 1820. She was born on January 18, 1846 in St. Louis, Missouri, and trained as an artist with William Rimmer at Cooper Union School of Design for Women in New York City, graduating in 1870. After school, she traveled extensively in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East with her sister and brother-in-law, Evie A. and Charles H. Todd. She visited France, Austria, Egypt, Algeria, Syria, and many other countries between the years of 1872-1878.  In the 1880s, she studied at the Académie des Beaux-Arts des Champs Elysées in Paris. She returned to New York from Paris in 1892 and was listed in various artist directories as a painter, sculptor, illustrator, and teacher throughout the 1890s and early 1900s. During this time, she created works for reproduction by lithographer and printer Louis Prang.  In 1897, she illustrated Through the Invisible, by Paul Tyner, a supernatural love story with Eastern philosophical influence, which included reincarnation as a primary theme. Pell was known to use similar themes of the spiritual and mystic and aspects of orientalism in her art. During her lifetime, she was respected as an artist and displayed many paintings in galleries in New York as well as in the salons of Europe. Ella Ferris Pell died in 1922 in Beacon, NY, and is buried in the nearby town of Fishkill, NY next to her sister Evie.

Anna and Collections Department team member, Tabitha Hubbard, helped preserve many of the paintings by re-framing and backing those that needed more support in order to be exhibited. Preserving exhibit pieces requires specific conditions such as light and humidity regulation, and providing acid-free supports for the backs of fragile artworks which might otherwise be warped from improper storage and hanging.

In the last few years, more interest in her works was generated by a 2000-2001 exhibit at the Sterling and Francine Clark Institute, “Noble Dreams, Wicked Pleasures: Orientalism in America 1870-1930.” The exhibit showcased Pell’s painting Interior of the Sybil, that depicts the inside of a stateroom on the Dahabeah Sybil, the boat which Ella rode during her journey down the Nile in 1874.  This painting is part of Fort Ticonderoga’s Museum Collection, and can be viewed in our Thompson-Pell Research Center as a part of There and Back Again: The Ella Ferris Pell Collection, an open storage exhibit featuring 43 pieces of Ella’s works.

The exhibit was created by Edward W. Pell Graduate Fellow Anna Faherty. In addition to the exhibit, Faherty also cataloged and created a finding aid for Ella’s archival collection. The collection includes Ella’s travel diaries from her trip to Europe, Africa, and the Middle East between 1872-1878. The diaries refer to many paintings and sketches made by Ella and her sister Evie while abroad, and reference specific events, which influenced their art and lives. The object collection includes about 60 paintings, 43 of which are included in the exhibit. The paintings depict various scenes of Ella Pell’s life, both abroad and here, in upstate New York, between the 1870s and 1920s. Anna is studying a dual Master’s degree in History and Archives Management at Simmons College in Boston, MA. “The Edward W. Pell Fellowship has been a great opportunity for me to expand my resume as an archivist, to handle object collections, and to create my first exhibit.” says Anna. “I have spent lots of time with Ella’s collection, and am glad that everyone will now have the chance to appreciate her work as I do!”

Researchers using the Thompson Pell Research Center may make an appointment with Curator, Matthew Keagle, to examine the archival collection or to see the exhibit. For more information about appointments, check out:

If you are interested in learning more about the Edward W. Pell Graduate Fellowship, please visit

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Fort Ticonderoga Awards Peter S. Paine, Jr. the Marquis de Montcalm Award for His Monumental Leadership

Fort Ticonderoga recently awarded Peter S. Paine, Jr. the Marquis de Montcalm Award. The award is Fort Ticonderoga’s highest honor and was given in recognition of Paine’s years of leadership and monumental service to the museum.  The award was presented at Fort Ticonderoga’s Annual Summer Gala held at Fort Ticonderoga on August 12th. Paine was presented the award and given a reproduction of a Chevalier of the Order of Saint Louis, a prestigious French medal given to the Marquis de Montcalm in 1757.

“Peter is a force of nature. He exudes competence and inspires confidence in others,” said the Fort Ticonderoga Association Board Chairman, Sanford W. Morhouse.  “Peter took the helm during Fort Ticonderoga’s darkest hour in 2008. Under his leadership, he put the organization’s finances in order, preserved the museum’s priceless collections, completed the construction of the Mars Education Center, brought order to governance, attracted new and talented Board members, and hired Beth Hill, the President and CEO.”

Paine, a lifelong resident of Willsboro and New York, was elected as a Member of the Fort Ticonderoga Association (later named National Council) in 1990. He served several terms on the Board of Trustees, was elected Chairman of the Board in 2008 and served in that role until January 1, 2013. Since that time, Paine has served as a Trustee Emeritus.

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

Photo: Featured left to right: Beth L. Hill, President & CEO of Fort Ticonderoga; Sanford Morhouse, Fort Ticonderoga Association Board Chairman; Peter S. Paine, Jr., Fort Ticonderoga Trustee Emeritus and award recipient, and Anthony Pell, Fort Ticonderoga Trustee Emeritus. Photo credit: Fort Ticonderoga.

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Fort Ticonderoga Presents Brown’s Raid 1777 Battle Re-enactment September 9-10, 2017

Join Fort Ticonderoga for an exciting two-day battle re-enactment highlighting the epic 1777 Brown’s Raid! 240 years later, follow this real-life action adventure, as patriot Colonel John Brown will lead a surprise attack against British troops garrisoning Fort Ticonderoga on Saturday and Sunday, September 9-10, from 9:30am- 5pm.

Highlighted programming throughout the weekend brings to life the American raid on Ticonderoga in their attempt to recapture this strategic fortification. Explore the Royal Navy’s role in the attack and experience the battle from a completely new angle on Lake Champlain aboard tour boat, Carillon. 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 major battle re-enactment and living history weekend will recreate what has become known as Brown’s Raid. Fort Ticonderoga will bring to life the little-known 1777 action adventure story pulled straight from the pages of Fort Ticonderoga’s history. During the dramatic event, Fort Ticonderoga’s guests will witness first-hand the high stakes mission undertaken by Colonel John Brown and his patriot militia. The Brown’s Raid battle re-enactment will take place each day at 1:30 pm when the raiders will rush forward against the British held lines, overlooking Fort Ticonderoga.

“Brown’s Raid will be an epic weekend of immersive programming and demonstrations. Military activities demonstrations of artillery firing; inspection of troops; and musket drill and firing,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO. “Fort Ticonderoga guests can experience the event on the water aboard the tour boat, Carillon, or step into the moment in 1777 in the American camp and British fort to be an eyewitness to the command discussions and decisions during this must-experience weekend event.”

Admission to Brown’s Raid is included in a Fort Ticonderoga general admission ticket.

For the full event schedule and to learn more about the event.

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

Photo: Fort Ticonderoga presents Brown’s Raid: 1777 Battle Re-enactment on September 9-10, 2017.  Photo credit Drifting Focus. Copyright Fort Ticonderoga.

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Homeschool Day at Fort Ticonderoga: September 8, 2017


Fort Ticonderoga will host Homeschool Day for homeschool students and their parents on Friday, September 8, 2017 from 9:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Homeschool families will participate in interactive and immersive programs, visit museum exhibitions, and explore the historic site, including the King’s Garden, Carillon Battlefield Hiking Trail, and the Heroic Corn Maze. Other special opportunities will also be available during the “To Act as One United Body” program and aboard the Carillon tour boat.

Special this year, Homeschool Day will feature the story of 1757 as participants step into Fort Carillon (later named Ticonderoga) bustling with activity with French soldiers and cannon preparing to take the fight for New France all the way up Lake George to British-held territory. Practice first hand in the artillery laboratory. Learn the epic history of Fort Carillon during guided tours. Embark on a 90-minute narrated boat cruise aboard the Carillon for an in-depth waterway perspective at 10:30a.m.

Programs for homeschool groups take place in the historic trades shops at 10:40a.m., 12:40p.m., and 2:30p.m. A program at 12:00p.m. illustrates the process of feeding the troops as the mid-day meal is prepared. Students in grades 6-12 can learn about how to be a part of the National History Day program at 1:30p.m.

For a unique and immersive experience, practice drills and formations of American soldiers at Ticonderoga during the Revolutionary War and observe a musket demonstration during the “To Act as One United Body” program, which begins at 12:30p.m.

Other highlighted activities feature the Battlayers of horticulture during programs in the King’s Garden. Become inspired with the surrounding beauty and participate in the activity “Watercolors in the Garden” from 11:00a.m.-1:00p.m. Find your way through towering stalks of corn in the new 2017 Heroic Corn Maze design.

To view the schedule, visit and select Students under the Education tab. To register your homeschool students to participate, contact Fort Ticonderoga’s School and Youth Programs Coordinator at or (518) 585-6370. The cost is $6 per student, one free parent per family. Additional adults pay the group rate of $14.

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

Photo:  Families from last year’s Homeschool Day participating in the “To Act as One United Body” program. This year’s Homeschool Day takes place on Friday, September 8, 2017. Pre-registration is required by contacting Fort Ticonderoga’s School and Youth Programs Coordinator at or (518) 585-6370.

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3 Tips for Better Conversations with Visitors

After all the work that goes into a great living history portrayal–long nights of sewing, hours of driving to be at an incredible historic site–meaningful conversations with visitors make it all worthwhile. You have said, “Hello,” and you have sparked their interest. Here are three ways to make this conversation count.

Be Present

Enjoy the simplicity of great period moments. Don’t over-analyze these moments as you explain the neat things you are doing.

Whether cooking mess, cleaning a musket, or merely resewing a button on your shirt, so often these activities have drawn a visitor or a crowd. In explaining what you are doing, you do not have to be a historic person or a character. It is 2017; you have a smartphone and you know where the bathroom is. It is totally OK to be a completely modern person who happens to be dressed up in period clothing and is doing something from the period. Often visitors assume you are going to portray a character. Politely breaking this assumption may allow for a more engaging conversation, freeing you to discuss current surroundings and layers of history between the time you are portraying and the current moment. Conversely, you do not have to overanalyze your modernity. It is complicated and unnecessary to introduce yourself as a modern person portraying…X…Y, or…whatever you might be. Instead, just be present, in the moment of what you are doing. We all strive for those neat period moments in living history, and this can extend to conversations with visitors too. If you are slicing up beef to go into the camp kettle, that is what you’re doing right now in 2017 and what you would have been doing back at the time of your portrayal. Enjoy the elegant simplicity of these period moments and explain them in the present tense so that you can better capture what is the magic of living history.

Avoid Jargon

Carefully defining period terms is important to convey the period perspectives of people who might be very different from visitors.

In portraying a different period or people, new words from their vocabulary are inevitable. Historians and linguists alike study peoples’ vocabularies, dissecting the meanings of words to gain incredible insights into their perceptions of their world. Period words can be powerful bridges to the past, but quite often, they are foreign to visitors. It is easy to start throwing around terminology while visitors begin to smile, nod, and begin slowly backing away. Likewise, it is easy to start using shortcuts, well-worn phrases that seem insightful, but really leave visitors in the dark. Phrases like, “linear warfare,” or “rank & file system,” sound okay, but lack the much deeper understanding of the period.  Carefully using and defining period words is both essential and a great opportunity. This requires a real period understanding of an object or concept. Explain this period understanding, comparing and contrasting this with modern ideas of the same. These discussions, bridging peoples and ideas of the past with modern visitors, is the fundamental goal of living history interpretation and is a powerful goal in its own right.

Listening is just as important as talking to visitors. A conversation with visitors should have two sides.

It is Not About You

Well…sometimes it is. You are dressed in period clothes; people will want to know why. In as much as you are comfortable, feel free to briefly explain why you do what you do in living history. However, every conversation has at least two sides to it and the visitor is two-thirds of any good conversation. Just as spatially, you have to leave room for visitors, leave room in the conversation for visitors as well. Right, wrong, or in-between, visitors need the space to explain their understandings of the history you are portraying. Even if they are completely off the mark, respectfully listen. They have made the effort to come to your museum or event, so make the time to hear them out before responding to their thoughts. Often as you are speaking or immediately after, visitors—especially young visitors–will want to explain their understanding of what you describe. Visitors’ work to understand and articulate period concepts is good and healthy, and can be encouraged through questions too. You do not need to have all the answers, nor should you.  Reading visitors to best engage them in conversation with explanations, questions, and active listening is challenging and a skill that takes years to learn. Ultimately, this skill is vital. Talking about history is not about you, it is about the visitor and fostering their interest and understanding.

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