- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 9, 2003

Trekkers exploring the National Mall yesterday discovered a traveling exhibition that celebrates two of the nation's greatest trekkers: Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.
The exhibition, titled The Corps of Discovery II, is named after the original Corps of Discovery, conceived of by President Jefferson and led by Lewis and Clark through the unknown Northwest 200 years ago.
In one of the exhibit's two tents visitors can take a 37-minute audio tour that guides them through 20 picture panels showing Lewis and Clark on their expedition. The trail starts at historic Camp Wood, near what is now Alton, Ill., and goes on to the Pacific Ocean. An 8-by-20-foot map of their tortuous route is also displayed.
A second tent, the Tent of Many Voices, features the "reminiscences" of people all along the route who tell audiences what the expedition meant to them. Six hours of performances, films and lectures are scheduled every day from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
The exhibit is sponsored by the U.S. National Park Service and 24 other federal agencies. It will be on display in the District until March 24. Then it will travel the trails Lewis and Clark took.
"Lewis and Clark were pathfinders. The fact that they survived is a great achievement. They brought back journals, the first documented information on what the West was really about," said John McCarthy, National Park Service ranger.
"They proved that there was no Northwest passage [by water] and brought back the first eyewitness accounts," he said.
Steve Morehouse of Dillon, Mont. dressed in buckskin jacket, pants and moccasins brought history to life with a 45-minute talk about Camp Fortunate in Montana and the explorers' lucky meeting with the Lemhi Shoshone Indians, the tribe to which Lewis and Clark's guide, Sacagawea, belonged. The Shoshones provided horses and guides for the expedition.
Mr. Morehouse, 57, said the men's adventure is significant for many reasons.
"This is not just about Lewis and Clark, it's bringing out the Native American story and the story of York, the black slave of Capt. Clark who was called 'Big Medicine,'" Mr. Morehouse said.
Mr. Morehouse, who works for the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Reclamation, demonstrated methods of tanning deerskins, the garments the explorers and their men wore once their own clothing had fallen to shreds. He also showed a peace pipe belonging to Lewis and a unique pipe made of talc that belonged to a Shoshone chief.
"I'm a Lewis and Clark fanatic," Mr. Morehouse said. "I think everybody should come out because this is a big part of history. It opened the West and tells so many people's stories."
Once the exhibit leaves the Mall, it will travel to Harper's Ferry, W.Va., and other eastern states this year. From 2004 until 2006 the Corps of Discovery II will travel from Illinois to Washington state.
Bob Bruesch was in town from California for a convention and decided to visit the Mall and take in the exhibit. He's followed the trail of the two explorers, he said.
"I was in Missouri when they uncovered the latrine of Lewis and Clark," Mr. Bruesch said. "It's amazing what modern science can do. They could determine where the bathroom was located by measuring the mercury levels."
He was also delighted that the American Indian story was being told, he said.
"Had it not been for the Indians, on two occasions they would have perished," Mr. Bruesch said.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide