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North Country History Day is More than “a Day”

By Director of Education, Rich Strum.Students and parents at North Country History Day

Earlier this month, 59 students from across northern New York participated in North Country History Day held here at Fort Ticonderoga. Students placing first and second in their categories will advance to represent the region at New York State History Day in Cooperstown on April 24th.

Students were engaged and passionate about their projects—and passionate about history. I spoke with students who simply bubbled over with enthusiasm as they discussed their projects and the history behind them. This year’s theme was “Taking a Stand in History” and a brief sampling of topics chosen by students included: “The Twentieth Maine and the Stand that Saved the Union,” “Rosa Parks,” and “Taking a Stand for Women’s Suffrage: Lucy Burns, Alice Paul, and Carrie Chapman Catt.”

Thirty-three of these students will advance to represent the North Country at New York State History Day. These students have the opportunity to review the comments from the judges and make changes to their projects before the state contest.

Engaging students and creating a life-long love of learning is the goal of school programs here at Ticonderoga! We are expecting thousands of students to visit Fort Ticonderoga this spring. We have several school groups participating in our “Artificer’s Apprentice” program this March and April and thousands more are coming in May and June. They will be able to watch as soldiers prepare their noon meal, visit the Historic Trades Shop to see the making of clothing and shoes, and explore the exhibits in the Museum.

Many students will take part in the “To Act as One United Body” program while at Fort Ticonderoga. In this immersive program, students form a platoon and learn about the training of soldiers at Ticonderoga in the weeks following the outbreak of the American Revolution in the spring and early summer of 1775. Students learn teamwork skills as they experience aspects of the lives of soldiers.

For some schools, their spring visit to Ticonderoga comes after a visit to their school by a member of our outreach team. Our staff has visited over 30 schools on both sides of Lake Champlain this winter and spring, bringing reproduction clothing and objects to help illustrate the lives of the soldiers who journeyed to Ticonderoga in the late spring of 1775. These programs have helped illuminate the story of Ticonderoga while at the same time using language arts, geography, and math skills to help students grasp the enormity of the task of feeding and supplying an army in the northern wilderness.

We encourage a passion for history in not just young people, but all our visitors. Our staff is passionate, our visitors are passionate, and I hope you are passionate about Ticonderoga, the stories it has to tell, and all it can teach us about not just history, but life.