Exhibit explores 18th century medicine

A new exhibit at Fort Ticonderoga will allow visitors to explore 18th century medicine.

The fort’s newest exhibit, “It would make a heart of stone melt: Sickness, Injury, and Medicine at FortTiconderoga,” opened on May 17. The exhibit explores early medical theory, practice, and experience as each relates to the armies that served at Fort Ticonderoga in the 18th century.

 

Organized into several sections, the exhibit presents an overview of medical practices, diseases of the army, and the treatment of wounds for the armies that fought in America during the French and Indian War and American Revolution.

“Medical care of troops was of paramount concern to the armies that sought to attack or defend Ticonderoga, and lessons learned at Ticonderoga had a direct impact on the outcome of the American Revolution” said Chris Fox, Fort Ticonderoga Curator of Collections. “The health and well-being of an army had a direct impact on its effectiveness on the battlefield.” 

When the American army was struck with a smallpox epidemic in the aftermath of the invasion of Canada during the winter of 1775-1776, the army had to take swift action.  American commander Colonel Benedict Arnold implemented a comprehensive, but controversial inoculation program to rid the army of the disease. As a result of his actions, the American army in New York was largely free of smallpox by the spring of 1777. So successful was the program of inoculation that General George Washington implemented a similar program for the army as a whole following year. As a result, the American army became virtually free of one of its most serious ailments, which led to a stronger army and helped secure American independence.

The creation of this exhibit is an important step in a process to improve Fort Ticonderoga’s exhibits and make them more engaging and informative for the public,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO. “Our exhibits, combined with related interpretive programming, bring the Fort to life in a groundbreaking approach that continues to place FortTiconderoga as a premier destination experience and nationally recognized center of learning.”

The exhibit is included in FortTiconderoga’s general admission price and will be on display throughout the 2013 season.  For more details visit www.fortticonderoga.orgor call 518-585-2821.

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