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Pluckemin Cantonment, Site of US's First Military Training Academy

A screenshot of the Academy Building from the 3D virtualization of the Pluckemin Cantonment  commissioned by the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House.
A screenshot of the Academy Building from the 3D virtualization of the Pluckemin Cantonment commissioned by the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House.

Nation's First Military Training Academy Comes to Life

Archaeologist Dr. John Seidel To Discuss America's First Military Academy

The Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House invite the public to a free presentation about the Pluckemin Cantonment, site of the nation’s first military training academy, on Sunday, February 23 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Jacobus Vanderveer House and Museum in Bedminster. The historic home, once headquarters for Gen. Henry Knox,will be open for tours from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

 

Dr. John Seidel, Director, Center for the Environment & Society at Washington College in Chestertown, MD and lead archaeologist on the Pluckemin Archaeological Project, will present a 3D visualization of the Pluckemin Artillery Cantonment, recently commissioned by the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House.  The one-hour presentation will also highlight the significance of the cantonment to the Continental Army, its abandonment and eventual discovery in the 1970s, the archaeological dig that ensued, and the wealth of artifacts that were uncovered.

 

“Lacking the presence of a physical site to visit, the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House felt it was important to use digital technology to tell the story of America’s first military academy, the remarkable leadership of General Henry Knox and Somerset County’s central role in the American Revolution,” remarked Sean Blinn, president of the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House Board of Trustees.

 

Working with Dr. Seidel, historical geographer Stewart Bruce, other historians, and students at Washington College, the Friends authorized the use of sophisticated mapping software to create a 3D visualization of the lost Pluckemin cantonment (now located in the Hills Development) in a series of digital animations that is interpreted and narrated by scholars.  The animated visualization of the 1778-79 cantonment depicts buildings (officers’ quarters, armorers’ shop, artificers’ quarters, tin smith’s shop, etc.) as well as the physical materials, tools and daily activities of life on the site. 

 

The 21st century digital presentation complements the Friends’ more traditional interpretive programs – authentic artifacts, beautiful period rooms, history center, museum displays, art works, maps and printed materials.  The virtual cantonment is presented on-site at the Jacobus Vanderveer House Museum, and excerpts are posted on the museum’s website and Facebook page.  For more information and a sneek peek at how history meets high-tech in telling the story of Pluckemin’s long lost cantonment, visit:  http://www.jvanderveerhouse.org/.

 

Funding support for the 3D visualization was provided by two recent grant awards: a grant of $45,000 from the Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission and a grant of $10,000 from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

 

The presentation is intended for audiences 14 and up.  There is no charge for admission, but registration is suggested by phoning (908) 396-6053.

 

The Jacobus Vanderveer House

 

The Jacobus Vanderveer House served as headquarters for General Henry Knox during the winter of 1778-79 and is the only known building still standing that was associated with the Pluckemin Artillery Cantonment, believed to be the first installation in America to train officers in engineering and artillery.  The Jacobus Vanderveer House interprets Dutch colonial life in America as well as the stay by General Knox and his family during the 1778-79 encampment.  A National and New Jersey Historic Site, the Jacobus Vanderveer House is a true landmark that offers a vivid look into the history of our country and the lives of those who made it. 

 

The Jacobus Vanderveer House is located at 955 Route 202/206, Bedminster, NJ, behind River Road Park.  Entrance to the house is through River Road Park. For directions and more information about the Jacobus Vanderveer House, visit http://www.jvanderveerhouse.org.

 

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This presentation was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this presentation do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. This project was also made possible with support from the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission, and the Somerset County Open Space, Recreation, Farmland, and Historic Preservation Trust. The Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the New Jersey Department of State.

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