Friday, December 4, 2009

Lewis & Clark

Last May the Schnickelfritz and I traveled to St. Charles, MO for the Lewis & Clark Heritage days.  He was so taken by the costumes, fife & drums, and cannons!  The reenactors, known as the Discovery Expedition, is spending this weekend in Hermann, MO.  They will be having a parade and Christmas Ball tomorrow night, but today was reserved for teaching school children.

According to their website: "Discovery Expedition volunteers, like their predecessors, sail separated from swift waters and eternity only by thin-but-sturdy layers of wood. Whether buckskins or uniforms, their clothing accurately re-creates the dress of 1804. Their weapons are firelocks. They cook over campfires. They sleep under canvas. They know their history, and they teach.

By bringing Lewis and Clark to life on the banks of rivers—and in classrooms and gyms—Discovery Expedition reenactors have helped more than 80,000 school children see their teachers as storytellers and know that history is high adventure. "

These men are passionate about their history--they have to be to sleep in a tent in freezing temperatures!!  If they have an event near you, by all means try to attend.  This event was set up in stations.  The students had the opportunity to learn about the uniforms, the medicine, the maps, fire-starting, and firearms of the expedition.  We started out joining a group of parochial 4th graders.  I'll admit my Schnickelfritz was a little bit young for the long lectures.  "Captain Lewis" himself invited us to explore the camp on our own and when we had one on one time with the reenactors, he really seemed to catch their enthusiasm.

We were welcomed by "Captain Lewis."  The man in the background was portraying President Jefferson.

The flag being raised only has 15 stars.  The Star Spangled Banner hadn't been written yet, so the reenactors sang a song called "hester, which according to Wikipedia was second only to Yankee Doodle in popularity during the American Revolution.  Look up the lyrics--no separation of church and state here.

This station covered all aspects of the uniforms worn by the Corp of Discovery. 

 Thanks to detailed record keeping, they were able to restock a recreation of Capt. Lewis' medicine chest.  He only received a few months of medical training by Dr. Benjamin Rush (signer of the Declaration of Independence).  

Fritz is not fond of modern doctors and shots--he was horrified to learn about the practice of blood-letting.  This reenactor also offered to take care of any of Fritz's loose teeth with another ghastly instrument.

Fritz got a personal lesson in starting fires with a flint and steel (something he'll need to learn for Royal Rangers down the road).  It was only in the teens that day so a big fire would have felt good.

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