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Lewis & Clark bicentennial

Lewis & Clark bicentennial
Many University programs to mark milestone

By Robert Brickhouse

William Clark
William Clark

Like its founder Thomas Jefferson, the University will be looking to the West with intense interest when classes begin Jan. 15.

That week marks the start of the 200th anniversary commemoration of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the great transcontinental journey that changed the face of North America. With Charlottesville and Monticello hosting the national kickoff of the bicentennial, U.Va. will contribute to public education and scholarship about the exploration and development of the West.

Among many commemorative events throughout the area, U.Va. will host or sponsor a rich array of West-related exhibits, lectures, classes, Web archives and research projects.

Meriweather Lewis
Meriweather Lewis

“With the tremendous national interest in the expedition, the University has been focusing on the West from numerous perspectives,” said Douglas Seefeldt, director of U.Va.’s multiyear Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Project.

Following are highlights of key events and projects at U.Va. For details about local and national programs, see U.Va.’s Lewis and Clark Project Web site at


Honoring the Legacy: Native American Art and the 19th-century American West
U.Va. Art Museum exhibit about Native American art and culture. Tuesday-Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Jan. 11-March 2. Free admission.

Jefferson’s West: Base Camp for Discovery Exhibit Hall
West-related demonstrations, vendor and exhibitor displays at Newcomb Hall Ballroom, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 15-17.

Lewis and Clark: The Maps of Exploration, 1507-1814
University Library exhibit that highlights the maps used in planning the expedition. Special Collections, Alderman Library, through May 5. Special hours during exposition week: Jan. 14, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Jan. 15-16, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Jan. 17, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Jan. 18, noon to 5 p.m. Free admission.

Many Nations - Many Voices
Native American project organized by the Circle of Advisers of the National Council of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial. Newcomb Hall Student Gallery. Jan. 15-17, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Jan. 18, 2 to 5 p.m.

Lewis & Clark statue on Main Street in Charlottesville
Lewis & Clark statue on Main Street in Charlottesville

Natural History Pioneers: The Flora and Fauna of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
Exhibit at the U.Va. branch of the Virginia Museum of Natural History, 104 Emmet St., will open Jan. 16, with an evening reception from 4 to 6 p.m. Exhibit hours: Monday-Thursday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free admission.


Thursday, Jan. 16
An Evening with Jefferson and Lewis
A one-man show with author Clay Jenkinson, who portrays both Thomas Jefferson and Meriwether Lewis. 8 p.m., Old Cabell Hall. Admission is free, but advance tickets must be obtained by calling 982-5252.

Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery
Filmmaker Ken Burns and his longtime collaborator Dayton Duncan will screen and discuss an episode from their 1997 award-winning public television documentary. 8 p.m., Culbreth Theatre. Admission is $7, and tickets may be purchased at the door.

Friday, Jan. 17
Corps of Discovery: A Musical Journey
The Show-me Opera Company of the University of Missouri will present excerpts from its interpretation of the expedition. 8 p.m., Old Cabell Hall. Admission is $15 for adults, $8 for students. To purchase tickets, call 434-982-5252.

Saturday, Jan. 18
Hearts Thus Lightened: Music in the Days of Lewis and Clark
Concert with various performers, 3 to 5 p.m., Old Cabell Hall. For ticket information, call 982-5252.


The Roots of Exploration: Lewis and Clark’s Charlottesville-
Albemarle County, Virginia

Seefeldt and the Lewis and Clark Project have helped research and create this 10-minute video about Lewis and Clark family properties and houses in Albemarle County, all privately owned today. For details, contact the local visitors bureau at 293-6789.

Encountering the West: The Changing Vision of Lewis, Clark, and Jefferson
Digital history project devoted to elucidating the Virginia landscape that Lewis, Clark and Jefferson knew, and to explaining how their views of nature and geography were severely challenged by what they encountered in the West. The innovative Web project will show early cartographic views of the West, the international geopolitical context of the expedition and some of the changing ideas about the natural world held by Lewis, Clark and Jefferson. When completed it will be on the U.Va. Lewis and Clark Project Web site at


Student-researched digital archives soon to be available on the same U.Va. site. It will include histories of the Lewis and Clark family properties in central Virginia; the creation of the area’s Lewis and Clark statues and other public sites such as York Place (honoring the African-American expeditioner York) on the Downtown Mall; the history of the area’s Monacan Indian tribe; and Jefferson’s knowledge of Native Americans in Virginia.


Jefferson’s West: A Lewis and Clark Exposition
A program sponsored by Monticello, leading scholars and other experts from around the country will discuss numerous topics at U.Va. about the expedition and the West. The cost of the Jan. 15-17 program is $225 with registration required. Among the many speakers are University of Tulsa historian James P. Ronda, U.Va. historian Peter Onuf, U.Va. anthropologist Jeffrey Hantman, University of California historian Daniel Botkin, filmmaker Ken Burns and writers Rick Bass and William Least Heat Moon. For information or to register, call (434) 982-5252 or see Monticello’s Web site at


© Copyright 2002 by the Rector and Visitors
of the University of Virginia

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