At the mouth of the
This is one of the older L&C museums anywhere, although the exhibits have been extensively remodeled over the past two years. I’ve been there twice before, and it’ll be interesting to compare my notes and photos from then and now. Cape Disappointment was the name given to the area by British sea captain John Meares in 1788 after he failed in his attempts to cross the treacherous sandbars at the
This is the time of year that Lewis and Clark reached the
The exhibits are arranged in chronological order (as they are in most interpretive facilities) and include text, lots of photos of the region, reproductions of both famous and lesser-known paintings and drawings, and some replicas of tools, dugout canoes, and so forth. It’s very well-done, in my opinion, despite not having the more spectacular sorts of exhibits like full-size keelboats and earthlodges. When I attended one of the planning workshops for the National Bicentennial Commission in
A couple of interesting aspects of the new exhibits: text that admits that the two Blackfeet Indians (“young warriors”) were actually killed by expedition members (as opposed to the vague, perpetrator-less text I’ve mentioned before), an exhibit about the books carried by the captains on the expedition, and a fifteen-star, fifteen-stripe flag like that carried by L&C.
An exhibit about the expedition's reference books. The brown interpretive panel reads, “Books in their Baggage. At every stage of the journey, the men of the expedition had to carry the Captains’ ‘traveling library,’ the first collection of books to cross
Replica of the expedition's flag. The text says in part: “The Corps of Discovery carried the national flag approved in 1795. It had fifteen stars and fifteen stripes representing the fifteen states in the union through 1792. By 1803 there were seventeen states, but the nation had not revised its flag. In 1818 Congress decreed that the flag should have thirteen stripes (one for each of the original colonies) and a star for each state in the union.”
The interpretive center also includes not only information about the traditional Chinook Indians in this region, but also a panel about the Chinook Indians today. I did not take pictures of the fabulous view because we were fogged in that day and there was nothing to see. The lush temperate rainforest ecology here is always beautiful, though, and emerald green even at this time of year.
Sword ferns, alder trees, and fog at Cape Disappointment.
Next: "The Vote"
[All photos by K. Dahl, copyright 2004.]