Eighth Annual Material Matters: It's in the Details

November 3 & 4, 2018

Fort Ticonderoga presents the Eighth Annual Material Matters: It’s in the Details weekend on November 3 & 4, 2018, 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. 

Confirmed Sessions

At the Edge of Diplomacy: Razors as Tools of Self-Fashioning, Surgical Instruments, Trade Objects, and Diplomatic Gifts during the 18th Century—This presentation delves into the multi-faceted uses and meanings of razors in mid-18th century North America and Europe. In the 1740s-1780s, razors were tools of self-fashioning and surgery, but also of trade and diplomacy between Europeans and their Amerindian allies. William Johnson noted their use as diplomatic gifts to support British strategy with their Amerindian allies. A well-advertised commodity, a razor’s value could exceed a laborer’s monthly wage. Jacqueline Delisle, a practicing attorney in Maryland and Virginia, earned her law degree at the University of Baltimore School of Law and is an independent researcher.

Sprang Interlinked: 18th-Century British Army sashes—A discussion on the history, study, and replication of 18th-century sprang sashes. Suzannah Emerson holds a BA in Mathematics from Gettysburg College; when she's not elbow deep in calculations, Suzannah enjoys exploring the great perplexities of fiber arts.

More than White Wigs!—Haircare at Fort Ticonderoga—Personal grooming above the neck was a crucial and daily part of the lived experience of every man and woman who served at Ticonderoga from 1755 onward. This presentation will contextualize period practices and beliefs surrounding bodily hygiene, facial hair and fashionable hairdressing within the various cultures and military units which served at the Fort. Adam Hodges-LeClaire is an Artificer Tailor at Fort Ticonderoga.

Handmade Industry: The Camp Colors of the Royal Highland Emigrants and the 18th-Century Military-Industrial ComplexVery few military textiles from the 18th century survive in quantities large enough to inform us about the conditions of their manufacture. One exception might be the camp colors of the Royal Highland Emigrants. These rare, but small and unassuming flags, represent just a portion of the massive quantities of war materiel made annually in Great Britain. Fort Ticonderoga’s Curator Matthew Keagle will explore how these simple pieces of cloth can inform our knowledge of the military-industrial complex that supported Britain’s imperial war effort during the 18th century, and even paved the way for the modern world.

“Let them be made double, & one side painted”: Knapsack Evolution During the American War—Did knapsack design alter radically between 1775 and 1783? Hear an argument for the affirmative, the role of Fort Ticonderoga’s Benjamin Warner pack in that transformation, and see the various forms of knapsacks used by troops of both sides. John Rees is the author of numerous monographs on the world of the common soldier during the War for Independence. 

Locks, Stocks, and Barrels: Philadelphia Gunsmiths and the Fight for Independence—Gunsmiths in Philadelphia made and repaired thousands of firearms to equip Continental troops and American militiamen during the Revolutionary War. This presentation will examine how the city’s gunsmiths responded to military supply demands and helped lay the roots of American industry. Matthew Skic is the Assistant Curator at the Museum of the American Revolution.

Download a Registration Form for Material Matters

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 Academic Programs. The application deadline is October 15, 2018.

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.