Keepers of the Story, Stewards of the Trail  SM

Icon of Lewis and Clark pointing to the west

Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation

human-size display boards with maps and text

Reimagining America: The Maps of Lewis and Clark

A traveling exhibit from the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation

These graphic layouts are a work in progress by Steve Feldman Design, LLC.

Exhibit Schedule

  • TBD to Christmas 2020: Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, Great Falls, MT
  • 9 January to 6 March 2021: Travelers' Rest State Park, Lolo, MT
  • 15 March to 26 April 2021: Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center, Charlottesville, VA
  • 10 May to 30 June 2021: Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Visitor Center, Nebraska City, NE

Exhibit Specifications

  • Lightweight, easy-to-assemble vinyl banners on collapsible frames
  • Ships by commercial carrier
  • Requires 500 square feet or 60 linear feet of indoor space
  • Available for 6 weeks
  • Rental fee $25/week. $50 deposit

To schedule the exhibit for your organization email director@lewisandclark.org.

This traveling exhibit—available to libraries, museums, and visitor centers everywhere—uses large-scale reproductions of historic maps, photos, and explanatory text to show how America looked before the journey of Lewis and Clark, and what it looked like after.

In 1804–06, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led an expedition from the Mississippi to the Pacific. Their primary goal: to reveal the geography of the West. Using cutting-edge scientific techniques and methods as old as humanity, they created a new portrait of America so persuasive we still recognize it today.

This exhibit shows how they did it.

You can help fund this project! Donate

Exhibit Contents

The maps of Lewis and Clark
In 1803, Native people knew the West, but Americans could only speculate.

The Race to Map the West
British cartographers had drawn ahead, and America needed to catch up. Thomas Jefferson had an answer.

How Did They Find Their Way?
Lewis and Clark started by collecting information from people who had been there before.

Making Maps the Native Way
Native cartographic traditions reveal an older geography.

Making Maps the Scientific Way: Astronomical Observation
They measured the stars with precision instruments.

Making Maps the Practical Way: Dead Reckoning
Low-tech methods filled in the details

Revising the Continent
Their maps changed the future of America

Who Can Show the Exhibit?

Visitor centers, historic sites, museums, parks, schools, libraries, and historical societies run by nonprofits or government agencies along the trail are natural exhibitors. But the Lewis and Clark expedition is a story of national significance, so LCTHF also offers this exhibit to such organizations throughout the country.

Who Benefits?

Travelers who enjoy history and anyone interested in learning more about map making and exploration will see how geographic knowledge was gained, then displayed on paper and disseminated. Any institution with an educational mission can use the exhibit as a springboard for programs on discovery, exploration, and map making techniques.