Historic site educators bring lessons about colonial soldiers to life

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Fonda-Fultonville seventh grader Jordan Chatwin needed just one word to describe what it was like to be dressed in a colonial soldier’s uniform.

“Stuffy,” she said from beneath a floor-length undershirt, vest, jacket, wool blanket coat and knit cap, with a knapsack full of supplies hoisted on her back. “But it was really fun to learn about all the clothes and equipment that colonial soldiers had to wear and carry.”

The experience was made possible during seventh grade social studies teacher Holly Thompson’s classes on April 4, featuring educators from the Fort Ticonderoga historic attraction. Thanks to grant funding from the Stewart’s Shop Holiday Match program, Thompson’s classes welcomed school and youth programs interpreter Kevin Maher and museum education coordinator Joshua Mason for an immersive experience. The pair donned full colonial garb, dressed student volunteers as 18th century soldiers and talked about their supplies and habits, comparing and contrasting them to those used today.

Fort Ticonderoga is a non-profit educational organization and museum on Lake Champlain. The fort holds historic significance for multiple 18th century colonial conflicts. According to the organization’s website, the fort boasts North America’s largest 18th century artillery collection and served as a battlefield on 2,000 acres of historic landscape.

“This experience was perfectly timed and helped bring to life our study of the colonial period,” Thompson said. “My classes did three weeks worth of research and participated in hands-on projects about the French and Indian War as well as the American Revolution. We are fortunate that our presentation covered both of these historic events.”

Thompson expressed sincere gratitude to Stewart’s Shops for the $1,000 grant, which will additionally fund the purchase of colonial era supplies for her classroom as well as a local field trip to Fort Johnson later this school year.