MRB-Lewis & Clark Living History Corps Reenactors Live Demonstration

The Missouri River Basin

Lewis & Clark

Living History Corps




will be presenting a live demonstration

Sunday, May 11

10:00 am to 4:00 pm

at the

Interpretive Trail and Visitors Center

100 Valmont Drive, Nebraska City, NE  68410

just west of theMissouri Riverbridge on Highway 2



This unit portrays the soldiers and engages of the expedition and demonstrates the duties, skills and way of life during the journey in 1804-1806


The Living History Corps provides free performances

every second Sunday during the summer months

May 11,   June 8,   July13,   August 10,   September 14

Posted in Lewis & Clark Re-enactors, Upcoming Events

Lewis & Clark Reunion 6

September 14 & 15, 2013
Big Boot Book
on display
Saturday, September 14, 2013
9am – 4pm Butch Bouvier “Mr. Keelboat” interpreting on and around the
9am – 4pm John “Lizard” Wilcox mountain man exhibit, front lawn
10am – 11am Judi gaiashkibos, Director of Nebraska Indian Commission on
Indian Affairs, will be speaking, Judi is a member of the Ponca
10am – 4pm Mary Langhorst interpreting in the Earth Lodge
10am – 4pm Lewis & Clark Re-enactors demonstrating frontier skills
10am – 4pm Kids activities, just inside the front door hosted by MOP (Mouth
of the Platte Lewis & Clark Chapter) face painting, tipi building,
pipe cleaner mosquito making
10am – 4pm Jeff Troupe aka Pvt. George Gibson will be interpreting in the
vicinity of the pirogue
Sunday, September 15, 2013
9am – 4pm Butch Bouvier “Mr. Keelboat” interpreting on and around the
9am – 4pm John “Lizard” Wilcox mountain man exhibit, front lawn
10am – 4pm Mary Langhorst interpreting in the Earth Lodge
10am – 4pm Lewis & Clark Re-enactors demonstrating frontier skills
10am – 4pm Kids Activities, just inside the front door hosted by MOP (Mouth
of the Platte Lewis & Clark Chapter) face painting, tipi building,
pipe cleaner mosquito making
10am – 4pm Jeff Troupe aka Pvt. George Gibson will be interpreting in the
vicinity of the pirogue
1pm – 2pm Judi gaiashkibos, Director of Nebraska Indian Commission on
Indian Affairs, will be speaking, Judi is a member of the Ponca
2pm Christening of Scale Model Boat Exhibit, lower level
Kimmel-Harding-Nelson Center for the Arts
801 3rd Corso, Nebraska City, NE. 402-874-9600
Open Monday – Friday 10am to 5pm
Reception with Joslyn Art Museum folks: Saturday, Sept. 14, 4:00pm

Posted in Lewis and Clark History, Upcoming Events

Go Afloat with the Corps of Discovery

Visit Lewis & Clark State Park to ride a replica keelboat and live 1804-style at the Rendezvous.Lewis & Clark State Park

Posted in Uncategorized

Lewis & Clark Postage Stamp Exhibit

Due to the generosity of Boys Town in Omaha our center now has an exhibit of Lewis & Clark Postage Stamps and a related history of the expedition.  It is an exhibit worth seeing and is located in the classroom on the loft level of our center.

Posted in Lewis and Clark History

Sites to see on the Lewis and Clark Center Trails

When the weather in Nebraska City cooperates, the trails at our Lewis and Clark Visitors center are a great activity. One of the highlights of the trail hike is the Native American Earth Lodge – which is a replicate of a Plains Indian home.

During Lewis and Clark’s journey to the Pacific, they traveled through the Plains area. Though most Plains Indians were nomadic buffalo hunters who lived in tipis, a few of the tribes – including Mandans and Pawnees – lived in permanent housing for most of the year. Lewis and Clark encountered Osage, Sioux, Cheyenne, Crow and Mandan tribes on their expedition.

The more permanent villages for these tribes included the earth lodges, semi-subterranean dwellings dug into the earth with a dome build over the top – typically a wooden frame covered with earth or reeds. These homes were best build in a terrain with little to no trees, since roots get in the way of digging a foot or two into the ground. These dwellings were typically from thirty to forty feet in diameter, from ten to fifteen feet high in the center, and from five to seven feet high at the eaves.

This type of housing benefited those tribes who lived in harsh climates. Nebraska summers can be very warm and its winters very cold and the earth lodge kept a temperate climate for families to live. Additionally, the earth lodge was a natural way to protect from the whipping winds of the plains.

Come to our center to experience a real earth lodge – winter or summer. It’s a great way to learn about the Native Americans of our area and learn about the people who Lewis and Clark met on the expedition.

Posted in Lewis and Clark History

Lewis and Clark Searches for Omaha Tribe

In August of 1804, Lewis and Clark passed the Omaha village of Tonwantonga and found it empty. The Omaha lived in what is now northeastern Nebraska, where the Niobrara River flows into the Missouri.

During the 1790’s the settlement had over 1000 members and was led by Chief Blackbird. Blackbird was well renowned throughout the region in his time and the legends of his accomplishments and tyrant rule grew even after his death.
Through a desire to rule by fear and force, Blackbird learned, though a trader, how to maintain his power. By giving Blackbird a large supply of the deadly poison arsenic, he terrorized his enemies and those who spoke out against him. The Omaha chief was also a great warrior, and even as a young boy escaped other tribes and burned down neighboring villages.

Eventually, a killer struck the Omaha tribe that not even Blackbird’s mystery and medicine could withstand. An outbreak of small pox traveled from lodge to lodge, village to village killing two-thirds of the Omaha tribe, including Blackbird. He was buried on the top of a hill, now called Blackbird Hill.

During Lewis and Clark’s journey they passed this hill and the grave of Blackbird. The expedition left a token of their respect – despite the fact that he lead by fear and cruelty. A one-of-a-kind flag was left at the site, which it’s expected that the flag was made special in St. Louis before the start of the journey, though there is no mention of it in journals.

Lewis and Clark wanted to form a council of the Oto-Missouri tribe and the Omaha in order to secure peace, after much fighting. But the remaining Omaha couldn’t be located in time for the August 18th council. The only encounter with the Omaha Lewis and Clark had was in September of 1804 when Clark saw 48 Omaha prisoners who had been captured in a battle with the Teton Sioux.

Today, the Omaha are on a reservation in Nebraska and our Lewis and Clark Center in Nebraska City helps celebrate the Lewis and Clark Journey’s relationship with tribes across the expedition, and specifically that of Nebraska tribes.

Posted in Lewis and Clark History Tagged , , , |

MRB Lewis & Clark Re-enactor Recruiting Information

Purpose of the Corps

The Missouri River Basin Lewis & Clark Living History Corps was created in the spring of 2004 by the Missouri River Basin Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center to commemorate the bi-centennial of the expedition.  This unit is unique as its purpose is to portray the common soldiers and contracted boatmen of the expedition and to demonstrate the duties, skills and way of life that were necessary to make the expedition a success. Although the bi-centennial festivities were completed in 2006, the unit continues to  provide public demonstrations to educate the Center’s visitors.


Unlike most re-enactor units, members of the MRB Corps do not have to provide their own     equipment.  Through grants and support from the Lewis & Clark Center, re-enactors are   provided with their basic equipment and clothing.  However, as the Center provides the clothing there are basic requirements to become an MRB Re-enactor.  To portray a   soldier, a re-enactor must be male, have short hair, appear between the ages of 17 and 34 and be in good physical condition.  As the contracted boatmen’s ages were not well  recorded, boatmen or engages, can be of any age, older than 17, can have long hair and must be in good physical condition.  In return for equipment, re-enactors are asked to attend as many of the training sessions and demonstration days as their schedule will allow.

In 2009, the Corps expanded to include interpreters.  Interpreters can of either gender and of any age.  Their primary role is to work on and interpret the Native American garden and the earth lodge.  Volunteers wear the Corp’s t-shirts and may provide other demonstrations as skills and materials allow.


The primary demonstrations offered by the re-enactors are blacksmithing, canoe making, leather making, cooking, military drill and weapons and cabin construction.  Other demonstrations available are hygiene, fire making, tomahawk throwing, packing, and weapons cleaning and repair.

Time Requirements

The unit meets the second Sunday of the month from January through October.  The January through March sessions are for training and equipment repair / replacement.  The unit presents demonstrations to the public from April to October from 10:00 to 4:00.

The Men Portrayed

There are three groups of men portrayed by the unit:

Regular Soldiers – These men are primarily from the First Regiment of Infantry.  However, members from the Second Regiment of Infantry and the Corps of Artillery were also on the expedition.  The soldiers primarily wear variations of the white fatigue uniform.  When portraying the expedition in late 1804 and afterwards, the soldiers can wear moccasins and some civilian or hand-made leather clothing.

Men from Kentucky – Nine men joined the Army just to go on the expedition.  These “Nine Young Men from Kentucky” wear a uniform designed by Captain Lewis and wear a combination of soldier’s gear and frontiersmen costumes.

Engages – Captains Lewis and Clark hired approximately sixteen civilians to go on the expedition.  The boatmen were contracted for only one year and  returned to St. Louis with the keel boat in the spring of 1805.  The others were contracted for the entire expedition as hunters, translators and guides.  A majority of these men were French-Indian Creoles, wearing a combination of Eastern Woodlands Indian clothing and trade clothing such as shirts and sashes.   They brought their own weapons on the expedition, which were usually trade muskets.

Volunteer Benefits

While the Living History Corps are volunteers they do receive some benefits from the Lewis & Clark Center.  Volunteer hours include not only demonstration days, but training sessions, parades, and prep time that the re-enactor does on their own time to prepare for demonstrations.

Trial        Every volunteer, even if they only come out once to try it, receives a Living History             Corps t-shirt

10 Hours      Thirty percent Volunteer discount in gift shop

50 Hours       The incentive changes each year based on an overall consensus by the volunteers.  In the             past a variety of shirts, books and blankets have been awarded.

Contact Information

Unit Coordinator

Brian Volkmer
c/o Nebraska City Museum  Association
917 Wildwood Lane, Suite F
Nebraska City, NE 68410
Office      402-873-4262
Cell      402-209-0549

Posted in Uncategorized

Thomas Jefferson, Founder of a Nation

Did you know that Thomas Jefferson (sent out the Lewis and Clark Expedition) was a very remarkable man who started learning very early in life and never stopped.

Age 5,  began studying with his cousin’s tutor

Age 9,  studied Latin, Greek and French

Age 14,  studied classical literature and additional languages

Age 16,  entered the College of William and Mary

Age 19,  studied law for 5 years starting with George Wythe

Age 23,  started his own law practice

Age 25,  was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses

Age 31:  wrote the widely circulated “Summary View of the Rights of British America” and retired from his law practice

Age 32,  was a delegate to the Second Continental Congress

Age 33,  wrote the Declaration of Independence

Age 33,  took 3 years to revise Virginia’s legal code and wrote a Public Education bill and a statute for Religious Freedom

Age 36, was elected the second Governor of Virginia, succeeding Patrick Henry

Age 40,  served in Congress for two years

Age 41,  was the American minister to France and along with Ben Franklin and John Adams,  negotiated commercial treaties with European nations

Age 46  served as the first Secretary of State under George Washington

Age 53,  served as Vice President and was elected president of the American Philosophical Society

Age 55,  drafted the Kentucky Resolutions and became the active head of the Republican Party

Age 57,  was elected  the third president of the United States

Age 60,  obtained the Louisiana Purchase, doubling the size of the nation

Age61,  was elected to a second term as president of the United States of America

Age 65,  retired to Monticello in Virginia

Age 80,  helped President Monroe shape the Monroe Doctrice

Age 81,  almost single-handedly created the University of Virginia and served as its first president

Age 83,  died on July 4, 1825, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  He and John Adams died on the same day.


Posted in Lewis and Clark History, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , |

Lewis and Clark’s Nebraska Discoveries

The Nebraska City area is a place which holds much historical significance in Lewis and Clark Expedition history. It’s important to note that this journey was a scientific expedition, set out to discover and study new plants, animals and places never seen before. In the Nebraska portion of the journey, the Corps of Discovery found several noteworthy items of interest.

In June of 1804, the expedition first came near what is modern day Nebraska City. Clark records the discovery of a “boundless prairie.”  He writes:

“I Say bound less because I could not See the extent of the plain in any Derection, the timber appeared to be confined to the River Creeks & Small branches, this Prarie was Covered with grass about 18 Inches or 2 feat high and contained little of anything else, except as before on the River Creeks &c, This prospect was So Sudden & entertaining that I forgot the object of my prosute and turned my attention to the Variety which presented themselves to my view”

This same entry also mentions their discovery of cherries, more specifically choke cherries.
In their continued pursuit of the modern day Nebraska City/Cass County area, the Corps of Discovery came upon more prairie. Clark notes these prairies are “parched” as he travelled through. As their time in the prairie progressed it became known to the men that fires were an important ecological happening in these vast grasslands in order to foster secondary growth of the plants for animals. Whether the fires were natural or started by Indians, it was an important part of growth in this area of the country. Now, there are too many homes, business and farms in the Nebraska City/Cass County area to burn many acres of prairie.

Continuing on in Nebraska, the expedition moved into modern day Sarpy County, where the men named their camp “Camp White Catfish.” While here, game was scarce but catfish were caught for food– hence the name of the camp. Also, the men copied a map here and prepared letters to send back to Thomas Jefferson.

Much of the important details and discoveries of the Lewis and Clark Journey are noted in the Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Center. You can walk the trails and encounter interactive exhibits that allow our guests to learn about the expedition through experience. We would love to see you there!

Posted in Lewis and Clark History Tagged , , , |

Nebraska and its Relationship to Lewis and Clark

The Corps of Discovery included several non-military members, including the infamous Sacagawea – a Shoshone Indian who was kidnapped at the age of 12 by a war party of Hidatsa Indians. Throughout the expedition, the men encountered many Indian tribes; and when approached by a Shoshone or Hidatsa tribe, Sacagawea and her husband Toussaint Charbonneau, a French-Canadian fur trader, would act as a translator for the corps.

Lewis and Clark’s expedition encountered many Native American tribes along their journey – some fairly close to home for our Nebraska City Missouri River Basin Visitors Center. Two tribes who were located in or near Nebraska are the Missouri Indians and the Oto Indians.

The Missouri Indians were part of the Southern Sioux tribes who lived along the present-day border of Missouri and Nebraska. After an epidemic of smallpox depleted their numbers, the Missouri Indians joined the community of Oto Indians, who also lived along the same border.

The Lewis and Clark expedition encountered these communities in July of 1804, but the people were away hunting. In August, a small group from these tribes arrived at the Corps of Discovery site in what Clark had named Council Bluffs (close to where present-day Council Bluffs is located, at Fort Atkinson).

Lewis and Clark then met with these group of Native Americans in what is known as the first formal meeting between the US and western Indians. The meeting was ceremonial, as gifts were presented and Lewis told them that the US would provide trade and protection, and that the Missouri and Oto tribes were to make peace with other tribes in order to usher in this new trade. As a result of meetings in Council Bluffs, a delegation of Missouri and Oto Indians went to Washington to meeting with President Jefferson. Jefferson promised them trade and spoke of peace.

Nebraska and its surrounding areas hold many historical markers in the Lewis and Clark Journey, many of which honor the relationship Lewis and Clark had with the Indian tribes. Our Nebraska City Lewis and Clark Visitors Center offers a resource about the journey, highlights the Indian tribes the corps encountered and is surrounded by trails to follow their journey. This rich history is one to be celebrated and remembered and we look forward to seeing you at our visitors center!

Posted in Lewis and Clark History Tagged , , |