Philadelphia Chapter Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation

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Lewis and Clark in Philly? Find Them May to September!

Navigating by the stars, buying ruffled shirts, army boots and gunpowder, planning for starvation, stocking up on Rush’s “thunderclappers,” corralling scientific books of the time, and guessing what Indian tribes would like best in trade…

All this and much more occupied the mind of Meriwether Lewis in five weeks of May and June of 1803 while he was in Philadelphia. Members of the national Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation (LCTHF) are meeting here August 9-13 at the Loews Hotel, 12th and Market to study the contributions of Philadelphia to Lewis and Clark history and the aura of the times. Museums, libraries, a hospital, a cemetery, and educational institutions are also offering related exhibits for the public around the city.

Get together an inquisitive group of friends and visit special spots to sop up the Philly connections to Lewis and Clark’s epic trek, and the aura of the times. Learn where artifacts of the expedition are archived and include lunch at the City Tavern, a replica of the original where members of the Continental Congress gathered and Lewis undoubtedly imbibed. The menu is authentic.

The Philadelphia Chapter of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation thanks these museums, libraries, educational institutions and other venues for their participation. Please tell your friends. Additional sites will be added when available.

Ongoing in Independence National Historic Park through January, 2004: The portraits of Lewis and Clark by Charles Willson Peale, painted in Philadelphia after the expedition, hang among 14 early explorers of North America. First Bank of the United States. Exhibit:Victory over the Wilderness-1750-1825.Open 2-5 pm, seven days. 215-965-2305. Curator, Karie Diethorn.

Ongoing through December 29, 2003: "The Living Landmark: Philadelphia's Independence Hall," then known as “The State House.” Meriwether Lewis visited there to see Charles Willson Peale’s natural history museum and gallery on the second floor. New at the Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia, 15 S. 7th St., Philadelphia, PA Admission. See

Through Tuesday, September 30. Haverford College Library: The library's latest exhibit showcases the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition, enormous expansions of U.S. physical territory and geographic knowledge. With this exhibition of rare manuscripts, maps, portraits and books from our own Special Collections, Haverford College joins the national bicentennial commemoration of this exploration of native cultures, languages, and terrain that were unknown and mysterious for European Americans, who anticipated unprecedented prosperity and profit from acquisition of these "new" lands. Along with physical expansion and exploration, this exhibit asks us to look at the philosophical and diplomatic ideas that led to such important benchmarks as the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 and the Doctrine of Manifest Destiny of 1845. We see correspondence from Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe; a Lewis diary; period maps; and even contemporaneous humor. The exhibit is open weekdays, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sharpless Gallery and Foyer, Magill Library. See

Ongoing through December, 2005, 10 am-5 pm daily: The College of Physicians, 19 S. 22nd Street, will continue its exhibit Only One Man Died, Medical Adventures on the Lewis and Clark Trail. Medical instruments and practices the explorers used to bring back all but one of their Corps of Volunteers. Exhibits feature Benjamin Rush’s list of 10 practices for keeping the Corps healthy that he gave to Meriwether Lewis, an American Indian sweat lodge, a nine foot bear and other dangers, and treatments of the times for diseases. Admission fee, $8, seniors and students, $5, under 6, free. Info: 215-563-3737.

Ongoing from mid June though fall, 2003: In the cemetery of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church at 3rd and Pine Streets, seven huge Osage Orange trees hover over the graves of the Nicholas Biddle and Charles Willson Peale families, among many other historic figures. The trees are believed to be descendants of cuttings sent back to Thomas Jefferson by Meriwether Lewis and cultivated by Bernard McMahon, Philadelphia’s leading nurseryman in 1805. The trees drop their inedible green and bumpy fruits upon the gravestones in the fall, and visitors are encouraged to take home a sample. This summer a small Lewis and Clark specimen garden germinated from seeds in Monticello’s Lewis and Clark Collection (listed at ) will be planted under the trees. Church member Dorothy Stevens, a member of the church property committee arranged to provide a garden site within the cemetery. Parishioners are, because of the Osage Orange trees, used to being identified with the famous explorers. Tom Davis of Fort Washington and Chris Cook of Blue Bell, both gardeners and members of the local Lewis and Clark Chapter have been monitoring the production of the plants, some in Chris’s cold frame in her yard and others in a corner of the new greenhouse at the Barnes Arboretum where Dr. Alfred E. Schuyler, curator emeritus of the Lewis and Clark Herbarium at the Academy of Natural Sciences, often teaches botanical courses. The Lewis and Clark garden can be visited daily from 9-5. Plants are identified. Year round, guides are available at the historic church every Saturday, 11 am to 3 pm and Sunday from 1-3 pm. Group tours can be arranged by calling Parish Administrator Kate Randall at 215-925-5968. The Rev. Ledlie Laughlin is rector of the church. A map may be found near the Pine Street gate. See chapternewsstpetergarden18.html

June 21 through December 31, 2004. American Philosophical Society in Philosophical Hall, 104 South 5th Street, an exhibit “Stuffing Birds, Pressing Plants, Shaping Knowledge: Natural History in North America, 1730-1860,” will feature over 260 images and artifacts that explore the study of natural history as it developed in North America. Historic natural history specimens, including plants collected by Lewis and Clark on their epic trek across the continent, will be on display as well as rare books, manuscripts, and works of art. . Curator Sue Ann Prince. Summer hours, Wed. through Sun. 10 am-4 pm. For group tours contact Brian Gregory at 215-440-3427. A virtual version of the natural history exhibition in Philosophical Hall is available on the Society’s web site, (Media liaison, Elaine Wilner, 215-599-4283). For information, see chapterapsexhibit.html.

November of 2004: The Athenaeum on Washington Square will also mount an extensive exhibit of its engravings of Birch’s Views from November 6, 2004 through March 20, 2005, to coincide with the Missouri Historical Society’s visiting exhibit Lewis and Clark: the National Bicentennial Exhibition hosted by the Academy of Natural Sciences, 19th and the Parkway. Another artifact from the Athenaeum, Lewis’s 15 inch telescope, is on loan as a part of this exhibit and will travel the country.

August 31, 2004, through September, 2006: Events in the Bicentennial Commemoration will continue moving westward along the path of the original trek, until September, 2006. August 31, 2003, will see the launch of a replica keelboat with rotating crews made up of 300 volunteers. It will travel from Elizabeth, Pa, near Pittsburgh, to Ft. Mandan near Bismarck, ND with a winter over at Wood River at DuBois, Illinois. Keep in touch with to link to many web sites across the country.
Words: 1,935 Copyright free: by Norma M. Milner


Updated September 15, 2003