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A President's Vision, a Captain's Challenge
(copyright Bill Barker and Dick Cheatham 2002)

This dramatic hour-long living history program offered at Harper's Ferry features President Thomas Jefferson (Bill Barker) and Captain Meriwether Lewis (Dick Cheatham) discussing plans for the extraordinary journey through the "Louisiana Purchase" to the Pacific which made "Lewis and Clark" household words. Jefferson and Lewis will also answer questions from the audience.

This dialogue takes place in the White House as Jefferson and his personal secretary, Virginian Meriwether Lewis, plan this amazing exploit. Program elements include:

A recognition and discussion of the links held in common between Jefferson and Lewis, Lewis' service on the frontier which prepared him so well for this great challenge, Jefferson's long interest in and fascination with the American west and his previous attempts to initiate an exploration of this vast uncharted area so important to America's future.

Plans to send George Rogers Clark, John Ledyard, Dr. Moses Marshall, and Andre Michaux had all foundered for one reason or another. Lewis' preparations for the journey, including his selection of personal friend William Clark as co-commander, extensive study with astronomy Andrew Ellicot (to learn to plot longitude and latitude), training with the famous Dr. Benjamin Rush (to learn about medicine) intensive study with Dr. Benjamin Smith Barton (to learn about botany,zoology, and Indian history), instruction with Robert Patterson (surveying) and finally with Dr. Caspar Wistar (to be instructed about natural science), will be discussed.

This Program is designed to be adaptable so that it can be presentable in various locations across the country, including details which focus upon specific locations within the journey as a report to President Jefferson.

For information on offering this exciting program please contact




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