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The Lewis and Clark expedition exerts a powerful hold on the American imagination. Sacagawea, Lewis, Clark, and other members of Jefferson's Corps of Discovery have been taken into the national heart and mind. In 2004, the Missouri Historical Society unveiled the 6,000-square-foot National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Exhibition, which included original specimens, journals, maps, manuscripts, art, and pieces of equipment from the expedition reassembled for the first time in 200 years. This exhibition catalog tells the story of the expedition, from its inception in Jefferson's mind to the explorers' highly publicized return. But rather than concentrating on Lewis and Clark's encounters with the physical and natural landscape, this book instead focuses on human geography, giving prominence to the Indian nations the explorers met and the mental and social landscapes they traversed. Accompanied by original research on artifacts and documents, the catalog's core is the pictorial section. Photographs include:
The Lewis and Clark story, which was once celebratory and nationalistic, now has broadened to include explorations of the 21st-century frontier of cross-cultural viewpoints. As Americans have learned to navigate a more complex society, the lessons we seek in the past have matured.