The Missouri River Basin Lewis & Clark Re-enactors 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.
The re-enactors present demonstrations once a month from May until October, usually on the second Sunday of the month, from 10:00 - 4:00. The primary demonstration is the construction of a replica of Ft. Mandan, the Corps’ winter quarters in 1804-05. Other demonstrations include military drill, cooking, leather preparation, tomahawk throwing, and hygiene. Additional demonstrations will include hunting, black smithing, and gun smithing.
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 engagees, 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.