Local News

July 28, 2008

Fort considers collection sales

Fort Ticonderoga considers selling collection assets


Paine also mentioned selling Charles Polk's painting of George Washington, and a nearby farm the fort owns.

Paine and Westbrook are asking the State Board of Regents for an exemption to sell paintings to raise operating funds. The regents would have to approve any such sales.


To generate more revenue, the fort raised its adult admission from $12 to $15 this year. Despite the hike, the fort says attendance is up about 14 percent.

From a high of about 126,000 in 1998, visitors had fallen to a low of about 85,000 a year in 2006 but came up slightly last year.

Attendance at historic re-enactments has been up by about 30 percent, said fort Director of Finance Kelly O. Rafferty.

She said the Education Center is a great accomplishment.

"The challenge is the last million dollars of fundraising that we're struggling with. But one thing that affects us is the decline in interest in history, in general."

From a high of about 110,000 in the late 1990s, visitors have fallen to about 80,000 a year.

Rafferty said people are looking for amusement, not history.

"We're losing attendance numbers every year at a pretty dramatic pace. The challenge is, what do we offer visitors now? If we can attract more people into the town, the quality of life will be better for all of us."


Restoration of the fort's pavilion, the former Pell summer house, was to be the next project but may be postponed, she said.

"Because of finances, that project will be at least four or five years out."

Some of the problems began when Forrest Mars Jr., the billionaire co-owner of the Mars Inc. candy company, and his wife, Deborah, a Ticonderoga native, announced they were ending their support for the fort.

Mr. Mars cited disagreements with fort Executive Director Nicholas Westbrook.

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