Point of Beginning

Montpelier to Host Corps of Discovery II 05.15.2003

May 15, 2003
National traveling exhibit commemorates Lewis and Clark expedition.

From Saturday June 7, through Sunday June 15, James Madison's Montpelier will host Corps of Discover II: 200 years to the Future, a national traveling exhibit on the Lewis and Clark Expedition created by the National Park Service.

Corps II will be open daily from 9:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. and will be free and open to the public.

During 2003, the nation has begun a multi-year commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition-called the Corps of Discovery. Corps II, the popular National Park Service component of that national commemoration, is following the path that Lewis and Clark took from the East Coast to the Pacific Ocean, with stops scheduled for major cities, small towns, and American Indian reservations across the nation, with a final stop in St. Louis in 2006.

Corps II has already traveled to Monticello, Poplar Forest and the Washington D.C. mall. Montpelier is the final East Coast stop of Corps II as it begins its westward journey.

Corps II includes:

  • An exhibit tent on the Lewis and Clark expedition;
  • Special presentations by Park Service rangers on the natural, cultural and historic aspects of the trip - programs on other members of the Corps of Discovery, including York (a slave) and Sacajewea, the "strange animals" seen during the trip, period music and map making;
  • Four brief films that will be shown throughout the week, including an excerpt of the Ken Burns documentary on Lewis and Clark and "In Our Own Words: Voices of Virginia Indians"; and
  • The 'Tent of Many Voices' - a 150-seat performance tent for concerts, demonstrations, lectures, films, folklore, and community events.

Montpelier also will be organizing special programming, ranging from a colonial dance demonstration to the performance of a Lewis and Clark play by a local school group to a presentation by Professor Daniel Thorp, Associate Chair of the Department of History at Virginia Tech and author of Lewis and Clark: An American Journey.

Corps II will be set up on Route 20, behind the Montpelier Museum Shop.

Montpelier was the lifelong home of James Madison - Father of the Constitution, chief congressional author of the Bill of Rights, and fourth President. Madison served as Secretary of State and America's chief diplomat in the administration of his close friend Thomas Jefferson and played a vital role not only in the Lewis and Clark Expedition but also in the Louisiana Purchase - two events that opened the door to America's westward expansion.

Montpelier also is featuring another special Lewis and Clark exhibit as part of a year-long commemoration of the expedition. The exhibit, James Madison: Secretary of State in an Age of Expansion & Exploration, focuses on Madison's pivotal involvement in the Expedition as well as Dolley Madison's participation in a drive to help outfit Lewis and Clark with donations of dried foods, sundries, utensils, and clothing. This special 2003 exhibit is included with paid admission to Montpelier.

Montpelier is a National Trust historic site administered by The Montpelier Foundation, an independent non-profit organization. Additional information about Montpelier, including a calendar of special events, is available at www.montpelier.org.