Compiling, organizing, and digitizing institutional records is often a tedious process, especially when the museum has been around for more than a century. However, all of that hard work has never been more useful. Cataloging the Pavilion Collection marches on using digitized versions of all eighteen inventories and record photographs of objects taken by Elizabeth Gouin during her 2017 Edward W. Pell Fellowship to bring the records in line with the standards established by the Collections Department. An interesting trend emerged in the earliest documents, insurance inventories from the New York City home of museum co-founders Stephen and Sarah Pell.
In addition to revealing that the Pells transported the highlights of their furniture back and forth from New York City to Ticonderoga, the insurance inventories documented an extensive collection of 16th and 17th century European furniture and works of art. Exploring institutional scrapbooks lead to the receipts for other pieces purchased for the Fort Ticonderoga Museum itself, including long refectory tables once used as display tables in the South Barracks and the gates that graced the entrance of the museum until the early 2000s.
While visiting England and mainland Europe to purchase artifacts for the Fort and King’s Garden, Sarah Pell was contacted about a pair of iron gates recently removed from Burleigh House in Enfield, England. Built during the mid 17th century near Enfield Park, a royal hunting lodge near London, the house was demolished in 1913. The gates have been attributed to Thomas Warren as (1675-1735) a skilled smith whose ironwork can be seen at Clare College and Trinity College in Cambridge and at Blenheim Palace. Sarah ultimately purchased the gates and they were installed at the gatehouse where they welcomed visitors for nearly a century.
Not designed for modern vehicles, the gates were severely damaged by a delivery truck and removed for repair in 2002. Their restoration by master blacksmith William Senseney took over a year, supported by a donation in honor of Schuyler F. E. Bankes. Now the gates stand at the entrance to the allée leading to the King’s Garden where they are better preserved and enjoyed.