PENINSULA - If Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark had been able to travel in an 18-wheeler; they might not have arrived at the west coast in such dire straits. While the members of the Expedition did not have such luxury, the mobile exhibit, which represents them, will arrive in a big blue Kenworth T2000 with pictures of Lewis, Clark, Sacagawea and the infant Jean Baptiste stretched across the 53-ft landscape, which makes up the truck's sides.
From Nov. 7 through Nov. 15, Long Beach will be the temporary home of the National Park Service's traveling exhibition "Corps of Discovery II: 200 years to the Future." This exhibit, a joint effort of federal and state agencies, private and nonprofit organizations and American Indian Nations, is designed to provide interactive and other learning experiences for people wanting to know about the original Lewis and Clark Expedition and its significance in American history.
The exhibition's main attractions - the Tent of Many Voices, a 2/3-scale keelboat and a full-scale American Indian teepee - will be set up in Long Beach between 3rd and 4th streets on Oregon. The Tent of Many Voices seats 250 people and will have slide shows, living history presentations, cultural presentations, live demonstrations, lectures and audio-visual programs. The teepee also includes objects from the daily life of Plains Indians as well as a "touch table."
Many exciting speakers and events are on the roster for the Tent of Many Voices, ranging from trail music to lectures with such titles as "Lewis and Clark and the End of the World," "Lewis and Who: Pre-Expedition Trade on the Northwest Coast" and "Dirty Hairy Strangers Encounter the Chinook Nation: A Native View of Lewis and Clark." There will also be presentations on "Guardians on the Pacific Graveyard," "Sacagawea: Stories, Statues, and Symbols," "Captain Clark: The Bigger Picture," and more, with Chinook Nation fishing traditions, coastal wildflowers and an aerial presentation of "Changing Lewis and Clark Across America" in the mix. Also speaking will be Bonnie Dunbar, NASA Astronaut, whose talk is titled, "Exploring Space from Apollo into the Millennium."
In Epping Field, just north of the Tent of Many Voices, members of Captain Lewis' company, an encampment of re-enactors from the Frontier Army Living History Association and the Corps of Engineers, will set up a fully operational encampment. The camp will be set up according to military customs of the time, with drills and formations conducted in military fashion. Re-enactors will interpret camp duties such as molding bullets, washing clothes, sewing, writing in their journals, repairing equipment and practicing the manual of arms.
Nearby, the Corps of Engineers will have a period-looking museum tent that will house a supply of tools, scientific instruments, medical devices and other artifacts from the Corps' collection.
A Chinook canoe and the Lady Washington long boat will also be onsite, demonstrating two crafts in use at the time of the Expedition's journey. The 40-ft Lady Washington is representative of a craft in which small parties of sailors ventured out into anchorages and bays from their tall ships. The high-browed Chinook canoe was the main vessel used by members of the Chinook Nation to travel up and down both the Pacific Coast and the Columbia River for fishing and the Expedition's leaders noted that the Chinook oarsmen were the best they had ever seen.
Another colorful vehicle is scheduled to arrive in the area for the Signature Event and this one, a highly decorated Sprinter Cargo Van, will be carrying the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service exhibit Wildlife Tales: Rediscover Wildlife Along the Lewis and Clark Trail. This innovative and fun exhibit features wildlife demonstrations, state-of-the-art audio-visual imagery and interactive interpretation. It will occupy a tent space near the encampment (just behind the Long Beach Police Station.)
The Elks Building, two blocks north, will be the setting for several other federal partners bringing exhibits to the area as part of Destination: The Pacific. The Corps of Engineers will have a five-part display on view, which includes a description of the Expedition, the Corps' mitigation efforts on the rivers, a display of the Discovery Box, a trade kettle, and prints of the five commissioned paintings by Michael Haynes.
Also at the Elks will be two displays staffed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The first of these will offer five hands-on activities for youngsters and will highlight the BLM's role in land stewardship, western expansion and features of the Lewis and Clark Trail. The BLM will also sponsor living history presentations by Rob Nurre, affectionately referred to as the "Surly Surveyor", in which Nurre ties the Lewis & Clark story to the settlement of the West.
The Pacific Northwest Region of the USDA Forest Service will have a booth, which will provide hands-on activities for children highlighting the legacy of national forests and grasslands.
An opportunity to view the entire Confluence Project will also be available to visitors in the Elks Building. The exhibition, which focuses on the Confluence Project's mission of recognizing the confluences of cultures, peoples and rivers through the works of renowned artist/architect, Maya Lin, best known for the creation of the Vietnam Wall. Featured will be concepts, plans and schematic drawings of the comprehensive project, including construction at the mouth of the Columbia River in Cape Disappointment State Park.
The U.S. Coast Guard will also have a display at the Elks, which will include a video of lifeboats operating in heavy weather, photos and a boating safety display.
Nearby will be a three-panel photomural display, sponsored by the U.S. Geological Survey, covering a variety of topics related to the agency's mission as the nation's largest science agency, including information on plants and animals, mapping of land, mineral resources, the agency's work with American Tribal Nations, and work on the Missouri, Columbia and other rivers.
Corresponding displays will be located at the Port of Ilwaco during the Signature Event. Titled 'Enjoy the Estuary', the venue will feature two components: a water safety program and an environmental program. The water safety component will feature 'Seamore' - the Water Safety Sea Monster, a computerized simulator of a railroad locomotive, a Coast Guard lifesaving vessel and an Army humvee used in the Middle East. There will also be a landing made by a Coast Guard helicopter. Agencies responsible for these displays include the US Army Corps of Engineers, US Coast Guard, US Navy, South Pacific County Technical Rescue Team and Operation Lifesaver.
The environmental component will feature Washington State Fish and Wildlife and the Regional Fisheries Enhancement Group, Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership, Columbia Land Trust, Ducks Unlimited, ShoreBank Pacific, and the Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce. Each entity will being presenting a project, including the Lower Columbia River Water Trail, Sea Resources' Watershed Education Center, and restoration work on the Chinook River.
Visitors to the Ilwaco Port will have the opportunity to pick up a transit ride with connections to the Ilwaco Heritage Museum, Cape Disappointment, Corps II and to Clatsop County sites and events on the south side of the Columbia River. Those who do not have a chance to get to Corps II while it is in Long Beach will be able to view it when it moves to Seaside, Ore., from the Nov. 19 to the Nov. 22.