It was time to explore our location. For us, it was only a matter of driving in our car a few miles. But Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and the crew of the Corps of Discovery weathered extremes and survived many travails in two years and over 4,000 miles –one way, that is. The intriguing story is told at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls, MT. We enjoyed increasing our knowledge about the 1803 expedition commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson. What exactly did he hope to find? Why did he choose these individuals to take the mission to find a northwest passage to the Pacific Ocean via this new land purchased by the U. S.? The exhibits in the Interpretive Center capture your interest, keep you wanting the next piece of information about the river and animals, the differing geography, the indigenous peoples’ traits, as well as the explorers’ own personalities. One featured film presented in the theater concerns the 18-mile very rigorous portage that the crew experienced when they reached this area of the Missouri River, the “great falls”, five of them in fact. Too treacherous to traverse in their wooden boats, they created another way. Can you imagine them building wooden wheels and manually hauling the boats and belongings? This life-like, full-size diorama depicts the hardships they encountered. Through help from local tribes and Sacajawea’s influence they found their next waterway, the Columbia River, and eventually the way to the Pacific.
There are a multitude of aspects of the Corps of Discovery expedition explained in interesting ways at the Interpretive Center. You might want to make this a stop should you be passing through Montana. The album below is a tiny glimpse. If you would like to learn more, click on the boxes.