LIGONIER (November 1, 2021) – Fort Ligonier will unveil a new interactive multimedia exhibit featuring a rare circa the 1760s “map” powder horn that depicts sites along the Forbes Road, including Fort Ligonier and Pittsburgh following a presentation by Fort Pitt Museum’s Assistant Director, Mike Burke on Friday, November 12, 2021, at 6:00 PM at the Fort Ligonier Center for History Education. Burke’s insightful presentation, “Made at Philadelphia & Sent from Thence…” Powder Horns of the Forbes Road will focus on a unique group of Pennsylvanian powder horns carved along the Forbes Road during the French and Indian War.
One of Western Pennsylvania’s earliest decorative arts, colonial American civilians and soldiers used lightweight, watertight, hollow cow horns to carry precious gunpowder and keep it dry. In addition, the smooth, blank surfaces of the horns became canvases for carving personal stories, artwork, and maps.
“Having grown up in the hills of Western Pennsylvania, I have been studying and making powder horns for nearly three decades,” said Burke. “I was inspired by numerous childhood trips to historic sites, including Fort Ligonier, and as Fort Pitt Museum’s assistant director had a special opportunity to design and co-curate Fort Pitt’s temporary powder horn exhibit in 2017.”
Fort Ligonier acquired the Forbes Road powder horn thanks to the generous support of the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation and the extraordinary collection of Walter J. O’Connor in fall 2018. The new exhibit, created by Visitor Experience Solutions LLC will be located beside the museum’s signature model of Fort Ligonier at the entrance to the galleries.
“Visitors will easily see the fine etching on the horn is extensive with the way it is displayed,” said Fort Ligonier Director, Mary Manges. “The interactive elements also enhance the exhibit, providing an opportunity for visitors to listen to a brief audio about the Forbes Campaign and zoom in on an iPad and see the horn’s intricate carving. I am so pleased that we are now able to share this extraordinary addition to our French and Indian War collection.”
Fort Ligonier holds a special program each November to commemorate George Washington’s Friendly Fire Incident that occurred on November 12, 1758. Young Colonel George Washington rode deep into the misty, dark woods; about two miles from Fort Ligonier, desperate to stop his confused troops from shooting at each other during a patrol gone wrong. Dozens of soldiers were wounded or missing, but Washington miraculously escaped unharmed. He often referred to that incredible “Friendly Fire Incident” as the most peril he faced during his life.
This event is open to the public and begins with a reception at 6:00 PM, followed by the program and unveiling of the new Forbes Road Powder Horn Exhibit at 6:30 PM. The cost is $25 for Fort Ligonier Association members and $35 for non-members. Register at fortligonier.org or call Fort Ligonier at 724-238-9701.
About Fort Ligonier
Fort Ligonier (fortligonier.org) is open 7 days a week through November 28 (closed Thanksgiving Day) from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The museum is open winter weekends, Fridays through Sundays 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Contact: Julie Donovan