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Lewis and Clark: The National Exhibit

In 1804, Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led a U. S. Army "Corps of Discovery" from St. Louis up the Missouri River into the vast, newly acquired Louisiana Territory. Following instructions from President Thomas Jefferson, their aim was to become the first Americans to traverse North America to the Pacific via an imagined water route.

Today, the journals of Lewis and Clark provide a priceless glimpse into a world few of us can imagine. Theirs was a journey into new cultural and mental landscapes as well as new lands.

Lewis & Clark: The National Bicentennial Exhibition will bring together, for the first time since 1806, hundreds of rare and priceless artifacts and documents.

The core of this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition will be formed by artifacts, artwork, and documents entrusted to the Missouri Historical Society by the Clark and Lewis families in the early 20th century. Period objects and art will represent the equipment the explorers used, the landscapes they saw, and the Native American tribes they met. More than 600 artifacts will illustrate cultural encounters along the journey of Lewis and Clark.

The Missouri Historical Society's collections will be augmented by objects from other institutions with significant Lewis and Clark and ethnographic holdings, including the American Philosophical Society, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, the Smithsonian Institution, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscripts Library, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the Oregon Historical Society.

This exciting exhibition will compare the assumptions of Lewis and Clark and the Indian peoples they were among on such topics as politics and diplomacy, women, geography, animals, military heroism, language, trade and property, curing and health, and plants. These cultural contrasts reveal how the expedition overcame barriers to communication-or failed to overcome them.

The exhibition will be open to the public at the following venues:

Missouri History Museum
in Forest Park, St. Louis
January 14, 2004 - September 6, 2004

Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia
November 2004 - March 2005

Denver Museum of Nature and Science
May, 2005 - September 2005

Oregon Historical Society, Portland
November 2005 - March 2006

National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
May, 2006 - September 2006
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