- Associated Press - Friday, May 6, 2016

ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. (AP) - Amid the ongoing massive overhaul of the Gateway Arch grounds, another part of the project got underway Friday further west.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/1SE9H3e ) reports that a movie crew captured shots of re-enactors portraying a late-1700’s American Indian hunting scene in a rustic area near Weldon Spring for use in the Arch’s revamped Museum of Westward Expansion.

On April 30, the crew was a few miles south, filming men portraying members of the Lewis and Clark expedition on a replica keelboat on the Missouri River.

The scenes shot this weekend will be displayed on 9-foot-tall video screens that museum visitors will encounter as they enter. Scenes taken previously in Wyoming and Colorado also will be featured in the entrance area, to be called Heading West.

“The idea is to immerse people,” said Josh Colover, the chief executive with California-based Aperture Films and the crew’s director. “This is the first thing people will see when they go into the museum.”

The “stars” of the April 29 shoot, on the edge of a pine-shrouded trail at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area, were six Native Americans recruited to play the hunting party.

Over and over, they silently and purposefully walked through the forest with bows and flintlock muskets at the ready as a camera on a moving dolly captured multiple takes.

Shouts of “quiet on the set” and “roll camera” and other movie-making lingo added to the atmosphere.

“Raise your gun every so often,” 38-year-old Jeremy Turner advised fellow re-enactors during one brief break between takes.

Turner is an Indianapolis firefighter and a member of the Shawnee tribe who has done re-enactments for about 20 years on movies and at places such as Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.

He said it was an outgrowth from his longtime interest “in the way we used to hunt and live.”

“We’re historical interpreters of our own culture,” Turner said. “We’re telling our own story.”

Another re-enactor, 40-year-old Levi Randoll, of Copan, Oklahoma, said past portrayals of native Americans had inaccuracies in clothing, hair styles, mannerisms and on other points.

“We knew we could do it better,” said Randoll, who works for a Wal-Mart distribution center and in cultural preservation for the Delaware tribe.

The other re-enactors also were from Oklahoma.

Bob Moore, historian for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, said most of that shoot’s re-enactors were from tribes that lived in Missouri during the period depicted. He said the goal was to make the scenes as accurate as possible.

“A couple of them actually made the clothes they’re wearing today especially for the shoot,” Moore said of the re-enactors.

Aperture, the movie company, has had various other history- and museum-related clients, including an organization preserving the Appomattox Court House site from the Civil War era and a D-Day museum in France. “We’ve done everything from Hamilton to George Washington to Lincoln and the Wright Brothers,” Colover said.

The $172 million museum expansion, expected to be completed next year, is the single largest component of the $380 million renovation of the Arch grounds.

Taxpayers in St. Louis and St. Louis County are projected to cover $13 million of the museum costs through a sales tax increase passed three years ago.

The National Park Service, which owns the museum and grounds, will add $4.5 million. Private contributions are covering the remainder.

After museumgoers walk past the video screens, they’ll encounter several story galleries. One will depict colonial St. Louis and its relationships with indigenous people here before European settlers arrived.

The other galleries will deal with Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase vision, further U.S. westward expansion, St. Louis’ role as an inland river port city and destination, the importance of the West in American culture and the building of the Arch.

“Monument to the Dream” - the iconic movie on the Arch’s construction - will continue to be shown in the Arch visitors center.

Filming on April 30 focused on a 55-foot-long keelboat of the type used in the Lewis and Clark expedition. The boat is one of three usually on display at the Lewis and Clark Boat House and Nature Center on the St. Charles city riverfront.

The boat is owned by the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles, a nonprofit group that does re-enactments and operates the boat house.


Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com



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