Friday, March 05, 2010

Camp DuBois

Back in 2004, I went to watch the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Expedition reenactment launch at Camp Dubois in Hartford, IL. Camp DuBois is the site of Lewis and Clark's winter camp as well as the starting point of the famous expedition. At the time, I was with a group of history teachers and our schedule only allowed for the launch so I didn't get to visit the interpretative center. But, a couple of weekends ago, Bill, Willa, and I drove over so that Bill could check it out as a potential field trip location for his middle school students. If you get a chance to go, it's worth checking out, both as a piece of local history and as a piece of national history. The museum is bright and informative. The movie is pretty good too (not George Rogers Clark good, but still good). Maybe it was because of the sparse crowd but I was especially amazed by the friendliness and attentiveness of the museum staff. However, two things have struck me as I have visited museums lately that I must comment on. First, the movies are getting a lot better - more dramatic, more accurate, more generally appealing, especially to non-historian types. Second, the museums are getting a lot better too (for many of the same reasons plus they are more interactivity, utilize more user-friendly primary source materials and interpretations, new walking tours/pod casts, etc). But, and this observation applies to both, they are getting really, really formulaic! Is there like a Museum Exhibits for Dummies book floating in and around and between curator circles now? It seems like it. Anyway, if you get some time, check it out.

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