The Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation's 35th Annual Meeting in 2003
Some Memories Big and Small, for National Fans as They Proceed On! by Norma M. Milner
As 380 Lewis and Clark fans from 35 states across the country left
their annual meeting at the Loews in Philadelphia, I heard many say,
It was wonderful, well be back! That made it worth
the effort and our host committee is glad you felt that way!
Our count tells us that there were 42 folks from Pennsylvania, 33 from Washington, 21 each from Virginia and California, from 17 to 19 each from Nebraska, Montana, and Missouri, 8 to 12 each from Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana, Michigan, Oregon, Massachusetts, Texas, South Dakota, Illinois, New Jersey, 5 to 7 each from Ohio, Florida, New York, Georgia, Arizona, North Dakota, Minnesota, Kentucky; 2 to 4 each from West Virginia , Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Idaho, Wisconsin, and one each from Vermont, District of Columbia, Utah, Nevada and Louisiana-- and two from the State of Maine! An amazing range of participants, with non-trail states outnumbering present trail states. Thanks for coming so far and making the meeting such a successful one the first Annual Meeting in the four Bicentennial Years.
An Offer Well Taken at City Tavern
At our recent Evaluation Meeting of the Steering Committee, we talked about what we thought you enjoyed the most, and what we learned and what we might do differently next time. A Saturday night event won our approval hands down for the best hook we could have devised to inspire registrations early.
Most Awe-inspiring Were Journals and Herbarium
Just as inspiring to many, we could see, were the seldom-seem specimens from the Lewis and Clark Herbarium which were displayed at the Academy of Natural Sciences at the Tuesday night reception. Munching veggies, fruit, and delicious sandwiches among the dinosaur bones was a perfect prelude to seeing the plants and notations in Lewiss small precise hand and then gazing at actual mineral specimens picked up by the explorers and returned to Jefferson, never before displayed. (The exhibit The Literature of the Lewis and Clark Expedition plus other specimens remain on display until September 14, 2003.)
We then filed into the auditorium past a moving display of our daily newspapers photo coverage here and out West by photographer/writer Tom Gralish. His six-day series published in May may still be seen on this web site by linking to it on the home page.
Two Philadelphia Institutions Named Sites on the Lewis and Clark
At noon that day Dick Williams, National Park Service Trail Manager, named the American Philosophical Society (APS) as a certified site on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. It all happened at Philosophical Hall just in time to be interrupted by a power outage at 5th and Chestnut Streets. In the dark, Williams presented a plaque bearing the Lewis and Clark logo and a certificate to Drs. Mary and Richard Dunn, CEOs of the venerable institution, because Thomas Jefferson, also president of APS at the time, chose to send Meriwether Lewis to five of its scientists to hone his skills for the journey, and because of the role it has played in archiving the Lewis and Clark Journals and other documents related to the Expedition.
APS was preceded in receiving this designation by two sites, Monticello, named a site on the Trail on Jan. 16, 2002, and Harpers Ferry where Lewis ordered his rifles, iron frame boat, cutlery and fishing gear. The military arsenal museum was named a site on March 28, 2003, in a special ceremony at the opening of a new exhibit of the artifacts Lewis ordered there.
We are sorry that the electrical problem kept some of you from enjoying the wonderful exhibit at Philosophical Hall, Stuffing Birds, Pressing Plants, and Shaping Knowledge: Natural History in North America, 1730-1860. That particular exhibit will be at Philosophical Hall until Dec. 31, 2004, and it is free.
Names of Plants, and Quip of the Meeting
Next we heard what we agreed could be called the Quip of the Meeting by President Bob Weir, who as he introduced Gary Moulton said When I asked Gary what I could say about him, he replied Nothing flowery.' And now that Im up here, I cant think of a bloomin thng to say! Gary, editor of the 13 volume latest edition of the Lewis and Clark Journals, and an expert on the travels and travails of the fabled plant collection, (11 of which still remain at Kew Garden, he pointed out,) gave a clear picture of their complicated journey on their way to the safe home they now have at the Academy. From November, 2004, through March 2005, ANS will host the national traveling exhibition from the Missouri Historical Society: Lewis and Clark, the National Bicentennial Exhibition.
Three Demonstrations Bring Lewis to Life in Philadelphia
Chapter volunteers offered three demonstrations taken directly from the new experiences Lewis got here in 1803 when Jefferson sent him on his Quest for Knowledge, which became your own! (Jefferson was also president of the American Philosophical Society at the time.)
Volunteers from the Philadelphia Botanical Club, Bartrams Historic Garden, the Pasquotank County Agricultural Extension Service, in Elizabeth City, N.C., and the Academy of Natural Sciences Botany Department in Philadelphia showed how Lewis labeled and pressed plants on the trail, a skill he learned from Benjamin Smith Barton, a University of Pennsylvania botany professor. On Tuesday night, faces of our members as they poured over those original specimens were intently absorbed . How did you feel? Please send us your comments.
Secondly, silhouettes were offered to remind us that art was even more important then it is now and Lewis made use of it. He had his own silhouette made here. The Philadelphia Inquirers photographer Tom Gralish thought that the silhouette of J. Paul Petersen of Spokanewas captivating because it looked just like a silhouette of George Washington. The photo appeared in the paper on Monday, August 11.and we have provided the owner of that historic profile a copy. One of the profilers confided that she had executed a double chin removal at the request of another subject!
And for the third demo, Derrick Pitts, well-known astronomer at our Fells Planetarium at the Franklin Institute Science Museum, drew enthusiastic crowds both afternoons as he explained how the sextant was used to determine celestial readings for calculating longitude and longitude. We appreciate his professionalism and sense of humor which he regularly demonstrates here in the City.
Sunday evening-- Music and Dance
The next morning as we gathered for the formal opening and the Presentation of the Colors by the First Troop, Philadelphia City Cavalry, President Bob Weir confessed that he had been one of those late night dancers and enjoyed the unusual opportunity!
Frank researched and designed a brochure called The Eastern Legacy of Lewis and Clark funded by the National Park Service. On April 28, 2002, Michael Vitez, Inquirer People columnist, went on one of Franks walks in Lewiss footprints and wrote Working to put Philadelphia on the Lewis and Clark Map.
Now 83, Muhly saw his dream come true as 350 members began arriving
at the Loews Hotel on Saturday, August 9, to study another map he made
of sites where Lewis studied necessary skills with learned scientists
at the American Philosophical Society, and bought his supplies for the
Journey. Muhly co-chaired the meeting with Nancy M. Davis of South Philadelphia.
Past President Jane Henley of Virginia encouraged us to contact our legislators and urge them to co-sponsor HB 2327 now in our House of Representatives. That bill would extend the National Lewis and Clark Trail by including nine states east of the Mississippi and the District of Columbia to the 11 states now on the official Trail established in 1978. (See names of Congressmen and women who have joined on from Pennsylvania, Virginina, complete details on how to do this in separate story). Co-sponsors are needed and join the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Caucus.
The Academy of Natuaral Science Certified as Trail Site
Theres a Bill in Congress!
The proposal, HB 2327, will include the District of Columbia and nine states east of the Mississippi. The Trail was established in 1978 as part of the National Trail System of the National Park Service. The present 11 Trail states are Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. When approved, the bill would increase the number of states with a relationship to the epic trek to 20, adding the District plus Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana.
Advocates of the extension from the proposed states say the spin-off of added tourism to the regions, newly available resources in historical research, and a fresh educational focus on the Expedition which could enhance the Lewis and Clark curriculum for school students in the East are all possible results. We want a piece of the pie for our regions and for our schools, says Philadelphia Chapter President Robert Weir of Fleetville near Scranton. Bill # HB 2327 was introduced on June 3, 2003 by Virgil Goode, R-VA.5th District which includes Charlottesville, VA where the Bicentennial Commemoration was kicked off in January, 2003. On June 11, Pennsylvania Congresswoman Melissa Hart of District 4 signed on as a co-sponsor. In addition, a second member of Congress, Baron P. Hill (ID-District 9) has subsequently signed on as a co-sponsor.
The Philadelphia Chapter is urging Congressman Joe Hoeffel, who is a member of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Caucus in Washington, to become a co-sponsor as well. The Chapter has also asked Senator Arlen Specter to join the Caucus and take action. For details on the role of Pennsylvania and Ohio, contact facilitators Frank Muhly of Philadelphia at firstname.lastname@example.org or Thom Jones, working in western Pennsylvania at email@example.com or James Mallory, president of the Ohio River Chapter, at JMJlmallory@cs.com.
Virginia resident Jane Henley, immediate past president of LCTHF, has noted The current board of directors, at the urging of Frank Muhly (of Philadelphia) voted in April 2003 to make extension of the Trail a major priority as a legacy project for the Bicentennial. Muhly (above) has stated, Benefits would be limitless.
As the gavel bangs
Sunday was full of arrivals who had their silhouettes made as Lewis did. Botanists from the ANS demonstrated how Lewis collected and pressed the plants that visitors were to see a few days later in the Herbarium at ANS later on. Derrickk Pitts of the Fels Planetarium showed how the sextant and other instruments were used by Lewis to take hundreds of celestial readings.
On Sunday evening event at 7 pm. Robert McCracken Peck, a research scientist, gave an illustrated talk on Jeffersons Philadelphia: Setting the Stage for Lewis and Clark, followed by the Germantown Colonial Dancers and selections from Jeffersons music library on harpsichord and recorder by John Burkhalter and Eugene Roan.
Philadelphia Chapter President Robert Weir of Scranton, PA, opened the formal meeting on Monday morning at 8:30 am in the Regency room of the Hotel. A silent Quaker invocation preceded The First Troop, Philadelphia City Cavalry, who presented the colors.
After the closing banquet on Wednesday music lovers heard the winning Chamber Orchestra concerto depicting Lewis in Philadelphia by 24 -year -old Taiwanese student Chun-Hao Derrick Chang who has been studying in Paris. The 15-minute concerto was the world premiere by the Philadelphia Sinphonia youth orchestra, conducted by Gary White, director of instrumental music at Germantown Friends School, and Chang flew to this country to hear the concert and accept his prize.
Author Dayton Duncan, popular with Lewis and Clark audiences because
he wrote the script for Ken Burnss TV series on the exploration,
closed the meeting by comparing himself with Meriwether Lewis in a talk
on A Country Boy in a Big City.
The New Jersey Connection
Dickerson and Lewis had been introduced by Jefferson at his fabled dinner table in Washington in 1801. Political aspirant Dickerson returned to New Jersey in 1810 to operate his familys magnetite mine at Succasunna, N.J. and later became a member of the New Jersey Supreme Court, Governor of the state, and Secretary of the Navy under Andrew Jackson. Dickerson wrote a journal which is held jointly by the Rutgers Library and the N.J. Historical Society.
Resource: Jackson, Donald, Letters of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, with Related Documents, 1783-1854 .
|Updated August 31, 2003|