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Fort changes are necessary

To the Times of Ti:

In response to your recent article “Re-enactors upset with Fort Ti” (a letter from Jeanette Siatkowski in the Times of Ti, Sept. 17) I would like to offer my perspective on the current direction of Fort Ticonderoga.  

The fort is nicknamed “America’s Fort.” I believe this is an appropriate branding given the rich heritage and importance of the Site over its military lifespan.  Likewise I believe current operations require reaching-out to all stakeholders in this “America’s Fort,” including those from far away states.  I happen to be one of those visitors and re-enactors from a far away state — Virginia.  

This weekend past during the “Struggle for Liberty” event I visited two restaurants with my friends.  This weekend represented the first time many of us visited Ticonderoga.  We thoroughly enjoyed the community and look forward to visiting it again for many years to come.  Many of my friends and I are professionals in the museum, history, travel/tourism, intelligence and archaeology industries.  We bring decades of educational and professional experience to our re-enacting.  We offer the community and the fort a perspective many hobbyists do not have.   For my part, I can attest to the fact that museums must rethink business-as-usual policies and begin the process of improving professionalism and site reputation as a peer-approved and subsidized facility worthy of international acclaim and local pride.  Multi-use options must be explored so sites such as Fort Ti may be fully self-sufficient and utilized year-round.  

There is a reason why Ms. (beth) Hill is the executive director of Fort Ti.  Perhaps concerned citizens should ask her superiors why she is there and what they hope to achieve during her tenure.  With changes, particularly difficult changes, people are bound to become upset.  I recommend people stay the course and support the current staff and perhaps even lend support.  History has shown people either bend with changes and survive or remain rigid and become irrelevant like a military machine of ancient years — a fort.  May the greater Ticonderoga community embrace change, bend, and not only survive this transition, but thrive in its and the fort’s future prosperity.

Todd Ballance, Smithfield, Va.

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