By Lee Howard
TICONDEROGA, N.Y. — “History is a dynamic process — it’s not just about memorizing facts and dates,” said Beth Hill, president and CEO of Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York, where the past is brought to life for students.
The fort’s significance in history dates prior to 1775, when the first American victory in what would become the American Revolution took place there.
“What we want students to take away is that Ticonderoga was defining in what made America,” Hill said. “It is where action mattered and where soldiers fought for liberty. But how do we know what they wore? What did they eat that was grown in our garden?”
Students discover answers to questions like those, guided by staff through archaeological investigation, document and object research in the fort’s museum, and by understanding the local landscape and the strategic importance of Ticonderoga.”
The fort was crucial in empire battles between France and Britain in the 1750s, and later when Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold captured the fort from the British at the outset of the American Revolution. It was referred to as the “key to the continent,” clear to see from the top of Mount Defiance, which gives a bird’s-eye view of the Lake Champlain region and has a pavilion picnic shelter for group lunches.
Groups of up to 30 can take canoe tours on Lake Champlain. A new option is a 90-minute tour of the lake on a board a 60-foot luxury vessel.
“We have 19th- and 20th-century history too, and our colonial revival and discovery gardens are connected to that layered history,” Hill said. “Students can roll up their sleeves and dig into the story through interactive programs and really engage the senses.”
For more information, call (518) 585-2821 or visit fortticonderoga.org/education/students.