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Documenting the Pavilion Collection for the Future

Sarah Pell portrait
Sarah Gibbs Thompson Pell was a strident supporter of history and the advancement of equal rights.
Unlike insurance inventories that focus on accurately describing and valuing objects, Sarah carefully documented the provenance of her collection.
Unlike insurance inventories that focus on accurately describing and valuing objects, Sarah carefully documented the provenance of her collection.

Fort Ticonderoga co-founder Sarah Gibbs Thompson Pell was passionate about preserving the legacy of the past to inform present and future generations. Recognized as the driving force behind Fort Ticonderoga’s restoration, Sarah applied the same principles and ideas to ensure that the history of the objects in the collection of fine, decorative, and folk art at the Pavilion would be preserved alongside the objects themselves. Her records are invaluable in researching the collection and designing future exhibits to go on display in the Pavilion once the restoration is complete.

As the descendants of prominent New York City and Newport families, Sarah and Stephen Pell inherited pieces from around the world, acquired through global trade, international travel, and diplomatic and military service. They also purchased early American pieces from the region to compliment pieces they used and displayed at the Pavilion and reached out to family members to keep heirlooms together and capture their history before it was lost to time. Sarah corrected and augmented a number of early inventories to make sure information was preserved as accurately as possible.

Sarah’s dedication to future generations was not limited to recording and preserving history here at Ticonderoga. She championed suffrage on both sides of the Atlantic and passionately pursued equal rights with the National Women’s Party. Visit the Mars Education Center to learn more about her work beyond Fort Ticonderoga.