Fort Ticonderoga will return to its roots — literally — during its 104th season. The fort, which opens Friday, May 17, will focus on the events of 1755. That’s the year French soldiers began construction of Fort Carillon, today’s Fort Ticonderoga.
Fort Ticonderoga will return to its roots — literally — during its 104th season.
The fort, which opens Friday, May 17, will focus on the events of 1755. That’s the year French soldiers began construction of Fort Carillon, today’s Fort Ticonderoga.
“Fort Ticonderoga becomes Fort Carillon this year,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga CEO and president. “Visitors to Fort Ticonderoga will be immersed in the year 1755 when French soldiers began the construction of the fort. Situated in what was considered New France, people can explore the first year in the fort’s life and discover how the Revolutionary War and an unprecedented restoration project turned this remote French outpost into America’s Fort.
“Our programs this year will reflect life at Fort Carillon and the experiences of New France,” she said. “It’ll reflect the life of a French soldier at the time.”
Fort Ticonderoga now features a specific year of its history each season. Last year it reflected 1775 and the year before 1759.
“This allows us to keep our programs fresh and gives visitors a reason to come back every year,” Hill said. “The experience is always changing. No other historic site in America highlights a specific year every year.”
That approach seems to work. More than 70,000 people visited Fort Ticonderoga in 2012. Paid attendance was up 6 percent. Program revenues were up 36 percent. Membership in the Friends of Fort Ticonderoga group increased 38 percent.
“We’re really seeing success across the board,” said Hill, who took over at Fort Ti’s leader three years ago when the site was struggling financially. “The (financial) turnaround has happened. Now we’re focused on sustained growth.”
Fort Ticonderoga has several new features this summer.
A new exhibit, “It would make a heart of stone melt — Sickness, Injury, and Medicine at Fort Ticonderoga,” looks at medicine at the 18th Century fort.
A new recreation trail will also be unveiled. The interpretive trail winds around the Carillon Battlefield and offers guests an opportunity to explore.
There is also a new canoe rental program that will allow people to see the fort from Lake Champlain.
Also new in 2013 is a renewed emphasis on educational programing for children. Last year the fort reached about 13,000 students through its programs, Hill noted. This year she expects that number to reach 24,000. She also pointed out new programs for Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts at the fortress.
“That really hits at the heart of our mission,” she said. “We want to reach as many people as possible, especially children. I’m very excited about out youth programs.”
Fort Ticonderoga will still have its traditional living history weekends, events, exhibits, gardens and its corn maze. The King’s Garden, one of North America’s oldest gardens and the largest public garden in the Adirondack-Lake Champlain region, will open on May 25 and offer new programs for children and adults as well as daily tours.
Popular exhibits also remain. “The Art of War: Ticonderoga as Experienced through the Eyes of America’s Great Artists” is again in the lower level of the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center. “Bullets & Blades: The Weapons of America’s Colonial Wars and Revolution” is on the second floor of the soldiers’ barracks.
“Fort Ticonderoga is a family destination and a center of learning,” Hill said. “A visit is an interactive, multi-disciplined experience. It’s exploring the beautiful gardens, finding adventure in our events, marching with the fife and drum corps, and learning about a historic trade. It’s a walk through the restored fort, a stroll overlooking Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains of Vermont, and an afternoon in our exhibit galleries exploring our premier collections.”
There will also be several special events.
June 15 will be Scot’s Day, a commemoration of Scottish heritage and the significant contributions it made to 18th Century North American. There will be Scottish clan tents and vendors.
July 8 will be the Battle of Carillon commemoration. Nearly 2,000 men were killed or wounded in the 1758 Battle of Carillon.
July 20 and 21 will be “Montcalm’s Cross, 1758 Battle of Carillon Battle Re-enactment.” Re-enactors will recreate the skirmish that lead to the death of Lord Howe.
Sept. 14 and 15 will be a re-enactment of “Brown’s Raid.” With Gen. John Burgoyne’s Army south at Saratoga in September of 1777, Col. John Brown and his militia men raided Ticonderoga, releasing prisoners, capturing supplies and turning British cannons on the British and German garrison of Ticonderoga.
There will also be several “after hours” and “premium” events at the fort in 2013.
The fort will have about 80 employees this summer, who will join 14 year-round staff members.
Fort Ticonderoga will be open daily through Oct. 20 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $17.50 for adults, $14 for those 62 and older and $8 for children ages 5-12. Children 4 and younger are admitted free of charge.
Friends of Fort Ticonderoga and Ticonderoga Resident Ambassador Pass holders are also admitted free. Ambassador Passes can be obtained at the entrance booth to the fort with proof of residency.
For more information go online at www.FortTiconderoga.org or call 585-2821.