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Fort Ti celebrates 100 years

Fort Ticonderoga, located on the southwestern shore of Lake Champlain, has been open to the public for 100 years and is proud to say 2008 is the first year the skyline looks as it did during the French and Indian War 250 years ago. The 250th Anniversary of the French and Indian War features a series of history making events to entertain, enlighten, and educate. Celebrations, memorials, reenactments and one very special new facility, The Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center, all help underscore the momentous events that shaped our country. The brand new Deborah Clarke Mars Center, named after the wife of Forest Mars, owner of Master Foods, the people who bring you everything from M&Ms to Uncle Bens Rice, is a reincarnation of the French magasin du Roi. A structure that was used to house provisions, including the armory, was blown up in 1759 by its own troops as they retreated from the advancing British. Like the original structure, the Mars Center was made out of on-site quarry stone. Craftsman from the area rebuilt the building chipping away at the stone all of last winter in order to assure the historical correctness of the outside. Inside, the building is state of the art and affords the Fort a climate controlled exhibition space for the first time. July 6th will mark the opening of Fort Ticonderogas first exhibit in over 50 years as the Mars Center is officially dedicated in a ceremony beginning at 2pm. The Face of War, Tragedy and Triumph at Ticonderoga, 1758-1759 exhibit delves into the three very different histories of this war-torn era from French, Indian, and British perspectives. This intense look at the 3 differing views of the war are depicted through a collection of original texts written by soldiers fighting on the front lines, communications between commanders, and illustrations created by the natives using their language to narrate what they saw, felt, and experienced. The exhibit will also feature four life size figure displays created by Gerry Embleton, a world famous artist, illustrator, and researcher of historical costume. Gerry has created a depiction of an Iroquois Indian, two French soldiers, one handing a musket to the other, and a Provencal soldier fighting the British from behind a stump to avoid enemy fire. The Face of War exhibit will be on display through Dec 2009. Also inside the Mars Center are two large classrooms and a great room which seats up to 220 people. The rooms will host daily programs, with one room this summer dedicated to the 18th century. Children are able to try on reproduced 18th century clothing and take pictures. Costumed interpreters are on hand to assist and educate the children. Marci Hall, Director of Marketing and Communications for Fort Ticonderoga said, From a historical perspective the center completes the original skyline from the 1750s and allows us to exhibit selections of our collection that before now has not been possible. Ms. Hall continued, The Mars Center also allows us to link our beautiful Kings Garden to a building. This will make for beautiful weddings or celebratory events that would like to have an equally beautiful outside and inside element. Rental space in the Mars Center is available by request. Please contact privateevents@fort-ticonderoga.org if you would like to inquire about hosting an event at the center. Additional information can be found at www.fort-ticonderoga.org or by calling (518)585-2821on weekdays. Chris Ward is the Communications Manager at the Lake Placid/Essex County Visitors Bureau and can be reached at chris@lakeplacid.com.

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