​​Grant Cottage Special Events for 2017
 
The Cottage will be open for tours on Wednesday through Sunday through Labor Day, with BONUS DAYS on Tuesdays during the Saratoga Racing Season, July 25 - Sept. 1. We are open on Saturdays and Sundays from Labor Day through Columbus Day  There is a suggested donation of $5 for programs.


Remarkable Flowers of Mount McGregor
Saturday, July 1, 1 p.m.
The woods and waters surrounding Mt. McGregor have long attracted attention from both professional botanists and amateur wildflower lovers alike. Presenter Jackie Donnelly, nature writer and photographer, has been exploring the area for over twenty-five years, documenting in words and photographs the amazing variety of plants that flourish on the mountain. Her illustrated talk will explore several distinct habitats of the mountain, from rocky outcroppings to upland forests to the boggy islands of Lake Bonita. Weather permitting, a guided wildflower walk on the grounds surrounding Grant’s Cottage will follow the presentation.


Grant and the Press

Sunday, July 2, 1 p.m
One thing that has not changed since the 19th century is that fame inevitably brings with it media attention. Find out how the press of the 19th century treated Ulysses S. Grant as he rose to fame and how he responded to it.  Join Grant Cottage staff member Ben Kemp to explore the press of Grant's time. We will also highlight the emergence of the political cartoon led by famous cartoonist Thomas Nast and its effect on Grant's political career. The program will feature displays of original Thomas Nast prints; copies of The General and The Journalists will also be available for purchase.

Love Letters from Mount Rushmore
Saturday, July 8, 1 p.m.

From March to September of 1940, Arthur Cerasani, a sculptor and artist from Rochester, New York, worked on Mount Rushmore while his family remained 1500 miles away.  Over this vast distance he and his wife Mary stayed connected through their letters to one another.  Arthur recorded the trials of carving sixty-foot heads on a mountaintop, severe weather conditions and the unpredictable moods and fortunes of master sculptor Gutzon Borglum.  Join author Richard Cerasani, Arthur’s son, to learn how the discovery of an old trunk would lead him to a story of love, opportunity and yearning set against the background of the carving of Mount Rushmore.
 
Mark Twain Erupts
Sunday, July 9, 1 p.m.

Mark Twain was one of the most prolific and acerbic commentators on religion and politics in his time, and his words are remarkably relevant to today’s headlines, over 115 years after his death. He also knew how to poke fun at himself, a refreshing talent sadly lacking in many public figures today. Join us as living historian and ordained Baptist minister Rev. Jim Ketcham presents a program as Mark Twain, using Twain’s own words to describe “the whole damned human race.”
Fine art photographer Craig Murphy will be onsite (weather permitting) to share the magic of 1860’s tintype photography with visitors from 10 AM to 4 PM. Tintypes created will be available for purchase and may include volunteer subjects!

Music in Grant’s Time
Wednesday, July 12, 1 p.m.

“Music in Grant’s Time” will take the audience on a song-filled trip through the 19th Century. Significant events in Grant’s lifetime, spanning 1822 through 1885, will be introduced with music that was popular during those years. Tom will entertain with his banjo, some singing, and several musical and historical discussions. Many of the melodies presented will be recognized from earlier times in our own lives and may even strike an occasional emotional chord. Join us for history, music and memories!

Fictions Told Until They are True: Telling History vs. Making Art
Saturday, July 15, 1 p.m.

“Wars produce many stories of fiction, some of which are told until they are believed to be true,” Ulysses S. Grant said in his Personal Memoirs. He set about writing his memoirs out of financial need, but he also did so because he was genuinely disturbed by the way facts were interpreted by the growing Lost Cause school of thought. His final battle, which ended at Mount McGregor, was a war of words over the interpretation of facts – an attempt to advocate the truth. Historian and Grant author Chris Mackowski returns to Grant Cottage to discuss the fundamental question that Grant and other writers of history face: What truth am I trying to tell, and how shall I tell it?

Knee High History
Wednesday, July 19, 10 a.m.

The Civil War years were more than soldiers at war. It was a remarkable time in our country’s history. In song and story, program facilitators Diana O’Brien and Tom Smith will remind us that there were heroes on the battlefields, cities, towns and villages who built upon the legacy left by our nation’s founders and who envisioned a country of freedom and opportunity for all.  Designed specifically for young learners ages 3-9, this program is the first in a series of three Civil War-themed programs for children. This program is FREE and lasts approximately 45 minutes.

Grant Remembrance Day
Sunday, July 23, 1 p.m.

One hundred and thirty-two years ago, at age 63, U.S. Grant finally bowed to the only enemy who could defeat him – cancer.  It has become a tradition at Grant Cottage to mark this somber occasion by recreating the Grant family circle and allowing those who loved him most to speak about Grant the husband, father and grandfather.  Reenactors portraying Grant’s family and closest friends will gather on the Cottage porch and bid the man they loved and respected a final, very personal farewell.  Speakers will be Ben Kemp (in the character of U.S.G.’s youngest son, Jesse Grant) and Steve Trimm (in the character of Grant physician Dr. John Hancock Douglas). The program will include music and, while acknowledging grief, will be a true celebration of Grant’s truly extraordinary life.
Fine art photographer Craig Murphy will return to Grant Cottage to share the magic of tintype photography from 10 AM to 4 PM.  Craig will create new tintypes using the same equipment and wet plate process as were used in the 1860’s.  Tintypes created will be available for purchase and volunteer subjects may request a picture with a reenactor Grant family member!

Like the Fabled Centaur
Tuesday, July 25, 1 p.m.
Ulysses S. Grant told a friend, “I have two weaknesses, my family and my horses.” U.S. Grant was acclaimed as the best horseman of his generation. Join the General today as he reminisces about his life in the saddle, the war horses that helped him win the Civil War, and his retirement dream of “settling down on my own farm and raising horses.” General Grant will be portrayed by Grant Cottage tour guide Steve Trimm.


The Wheatfield, Gettysburg

Saturday, July 29, 1 p.m.
Historian Marilyn Jess first visited the Gettysburg battlefield over 15 years ago. She has expanded her knowledge of Civil War battlefields through reading, joining preservation efforts, and visiting other Civil War and Revolutionary War battlefields. In 2010, she attended the multi-day Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, and continues to do so annually. Join us for her reflections of the place and the soldiers who fought at the Wheatfield, where over 20,000 of them fought.


Researching and Writing Leaves Torn Asunder: A Novel of the Adirondacks and the American Civil War

Sunday, July 30, 1 p.m.
Award-winning local author Glenn L. Pearsall’s most recent work is a historical novel set in the Adirondacks during the American Civil War. Deeply researched, Leaves Torn Asunder weaves a story that portrays what it was like for local farm boys as they went off to war and fought with the 22nd and 93rd New York Volunteer Infantry, units principally recruited in the Southern Adirondacks. Join us for their stories and the equally compelling ones of the folks left at home; the parents, siblings, wives and children, and how they struggled on those hardscrabble farms during the war.


General Grant Remembers President Lincoln
Tuesday, August 1, 1 p.m.

It’s August 1st, 1865.  The assassination of Abraham Lincoln took place four months ago.  General Ulysses S. Grant has recovered from his shock and sorrow and is finally able to talk about the late President.  Lincoln and Grant were the leadership team that won the Civil War.  The General will discuss the unique working relationship he had with his Commander-In-Chief and the human qualities that made Lincoln, the man, so remarkable.  General Grant will be portrayed by Grant Cottage tour guide Steve Trimm.


Flags at Half Mast: The Price of Freedom: US Grant and the Politics of Race

Saturday, August 5, 1 p.m.
Ulysses S. Grant will explore America’s “color-line,” both as slaveholder and as Civil Rights architect, through watersheds like the Fugitive Slave Law, the Dred Scott Decision, John Brown’s Harper’s Ferry Raid, the enlistment of African Americans, the surrender at Appomattox, and reconstruction legislation. Grant will explain why his views on Black Lives continue to Matter. Historian Randy F. Weinstein may assist him from time to time.


The Man Who Ruined Ulysses S. Grant
Tuesday, August 8, 1 p.m.

In May 1884, Ferdinand Ward robbed Ulysses S. Grant and his family of every dime they had.  For his crimes, Mr. Ward (one of the boldest embezzlers of the Gilded Age) was sentenced to 10 years in prison.  None of the money he stole was ever recovered.  Mr. Ward is about to be released from Sing Sing.  Before the prison gates swing open, he will be questioned about his role in General Grant’s tragic downfall.  The infamous Ferdinand Ward will be portrayed by Steve Trimm, Grant Cottage tour guide.

Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier: 1776 – 1976

Saturday, August 12, 1 p.m.

Join us for a film and music tribute to the “Citizen Soldier.” Music by the 77th Regimental Balladeers.


Welcome Home, President and Mrs. Grant!
Tuesday, August 15, 1 p.m.

U.S. Grant couldn’t wait to leave the White House (although his wife Julia wanted very much to stay). Retirement allowed Grant to indulge in his favorite pastime: travel.  Within weeks of leaving Washington, D.C., the former President and First Lady began a tour of the world.  It would take them more than two years to circle the globe.  They returned to the U.S. in the fall of 1879. It is now 1882 and the Grants have returned to Saratoga to visit the “Queen of the Spas.”  Join Grant Cottage tour guide Steve Trimm (portraying Grant) and Site Historian Melissa Trombley-Prosch (as Julia) on the porch of Grant Cottage as they share stories of foreign cultures & societies and how America is viewed by the peoples of Europe, the Middle East and the Orient.

Profiles in Courage: Abolitionists, Civil Rights Activists, Humanitarians – The Grimke Sisters and their Nephews

Saturday, August 19, 1 p.m.
Hear the remarkable story of three generations of the prominent South Carolina Grimke family, whose contributions to the abolitionist movement, women’s rights, civil rights and the arts spanned well over a century beginning in 1820 through 1950. Sisters Sarah and Angelina Grimke were born into a South Carolina slaveholding family. They became fierce abolitionists before and during the Civil War and, later in life, advocates for women’s rights. In 1868, the sisters discovered their deceased brother had three sons with one of his slaves. Join program presenters and Grant Cottage docents Diana O’Brien and Pat Smith, along with historian Duke Paden, to learn how two generations of the Grimke family joined a third to become brave architects and advocates for pathways to justice and opportunity.
In addition, fine art photographer Craig Murphy will provide the magic of tintype photography to visitors from 10 AM to 4 PM (weather permitting). Craig will create new tintypes using the same equipment and wet plate process as were used in the 1860’s.  Tintypes created will be made available for purchase and may include volunteer subjects!

Tintype Photography Demonstration & Talk

Sunday, August 20, 1 p.m.
Fine art photographer Craig Murphy will provide visitors with the magical experience of bringing photographs into existence exactly as it was done in the 1860’s. Join us to learn about the history of photography, including the equipment used to make tintypes, the chemistry behind the collodion wet plate process and how tintypes were finished and placed in their signature cases.  Subjects may include a still life or a volunteer portrait!

Knee High History
Wednesday, August 23, 10 a.m.

The Civil War years were more than soldiers at war. It was a remarkable time in our country’s history. In song and story, program facilitators Diana O’Brien and Tom Smith will remind us that there were heroes on the battlefields, cities, towns and villages who built upon the legacy left by our nation’s founders and who envisioned a country of freedom and opportunity for all. Designed specifically for young learners ages 3-9, this program is the first in a series of three Civil War-themed programs for children. This program is FREE and lasts approximately 45 minutes.

In his Father’s Shadow: The Life and Career of Frederick Grant

Sunday, August 27, 1 p.m.
Explore the lesser known figure of Frederick (Fred) Dent Grant, eldest son of Ulysses and Julia Grant, from a childhood on a Missouri plantation to a teenager who found himself on Civil War battlefields to West Point graduate, U.S. diplomat and Major General.  Join us to learn about his illustrious life and career.  Fred, like his father, encountered hardships and found himself in the midst of scandals and controversial wars, but displayed the same characteristic resolve to fulfill his duty through it all.  When needed by his father in his final months, Fred faithfully and tirelessly assisted his father, served as the family’s spokesman and provided critical support to his mother and other family members following the death of the elder Grant.  Fred Grant will be portrayed by Grant Cottage staff member and living historian Ben Kemp.

Elmira, NY Civil War Prison – Death Camp of the North

Sunday, September 10, 1 p.m.
The Civil War prison camp in Elmira, NY was called by some Hellmira or the Andersonville of the North. Why a prison in Elmira? Why the high rate of deaths? The purported poor management of the prison by the government will be examined by presenter Dave Hubbard, Grant Cottage Site Manager.

Edison Bulb Tour of Grant Cottage

Saturday, September 16, Guided tours from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Reservations required.
What was life like for the Grant family during the long evenings at Grant Cottage in 1885?  Step back in time and experience the awe and wonder of the beginnings of the Electric Age as you take a tour through Grant Cottage lit with 19th century style Edison light bulbs.  Reenactors dressed in period 1880’s clothing will be on hand to help bring the Grant family and their visitors to life.  Take the opportunity to immerse yourself in the same charming environment that surrounded an American hero in his final days.  Registration required.  Early registration is recommended as space is limited.


The Grant Cottage Arts Festival – A Plein Air Event

Saturday, September 4

Music provided by the Lost Radio Rounders.

The Yanks are Coming

Saturday, October 7

Civil War Encampment

 

Rev. Jim Ketcham talks about how Mark Twain published Grant's best selling memoirs.

Author Marilyn Jess

The Grimke Sisters

Author Randy Weinstein

Wilton's Cerasani talks about his father's

role as a sculptor on Mt. Rushmore.

Traditional Musician Tom Smith


Author Chris Mackowski

Craig Murphy

Wildflowers of Mt. McGregor.  Image of the orchid Rose Pogonia, one of the flowers that thrive on the shore and islands of Lake Bonita.

Elmira, NY Civil War Prison – Death Camp of the North

Archibald Grimke