Friday, August 31, 2012

Fort Clatsop

As part of our Lewis & Clark studies we also visited Fort Clatsop. The Corps of Discovery stayed here during the winter months from December 1805 - March 1806. There is a nice exhibit hall full of Lewis & Clark memorabilia, but the highlight of Fort Clatsop is the replica of the Fort that the Corps of Discovery built & lived in during that rainy, stormy winter.

The Lewis & Clark National Historical Park is located in both Washington & Oregon. Fort Clatsop is located in Oregon and about 30-40 minutes from Cape Disappointment.

Chinook Canoe

Plants of Fort Clatsop
Many of these plants grow wild around our house, so this was interesting to look at. Also, the kids recently pressed their own plants, so it was fun for them to see pressed plants in a museum.

A large map showing the Journey of the Corps of Discovery.

The Corps of Discovery brought many items with them to trade or give to the local people, including this Jefferson Peace Medal. The Indians along the Pacific were used to traders, though, so their prices were high.

Arrival by Stanley Wanlass
The sculpture depicts Lewis, Clark, a local Clatsop Indian, & Lewis's dog, Seaman.

Diorama of a beached whale.
Clark & a few others went in search of a reported beached whale. By the time they arrived only the skeleton was left. The locals had already gotten to it. Clark was able to trade for some much needed blubber and oil.

Sacagawea & baby, Jean Baptiste.
I love that they are surrounded by the old growth forest. I am not sure if this was a life size model of Sacagawea. If it was, she was not a very tall woman.

Part of Lewis & Clark's job description was to journal about various plants & animals. Throughout the park were small signs naming plants that were "discovered" by Lewis and Clark. Each sign had a short blurb about the plant from their journals. This one written by Captain Clark on November 22, 1805 said... "we purchased a fiew Wappato roots... those roots are equal to the Irish potato, and is a tolerable substitute for bread."

There was a man showing how they turned animal skin into clothes. It is quite a process. I tell ya, it's much easier just to go to the store to buy our clothes.

The 2 things somewhat in the middle of this photo are sinew. Sinew is animal tendons that Native Americans used as thread.

Traditional Native American tools made from animal bones.

An interpretation of a scene at Fort Clatsop.

Replica of Fort Clatsop
It wasn't very big. It certainly wouldn't have helped them if others came with the intent of harming them. But, it was cute & quaint. The only interaction they had with the Clatsop Indian Tribe was when they occasionally got together to trade.

Sacagawea, her husband & baby stayed in this room. My boys were impressed that a bear skin was large enough to fill the entire bed. They weren't as impressed with the baby carrier when I showed it to them.

Captain's Quarters
Lewis & Clark shared a room. One side seemed to be their living area with a fireplace, table & a couple cabinets. The boys enjoyed touching all the stuff. They asked what the silver, tallish, 2 pillared thing was on the table. I was fairly certain & told them it was a candle mold. I hope I was right.

The other side of the room served as a sleeping area.

Lewis & Clark each had their own bed and a small amount of storage. Notice the cedar hat on the right. These were typical of the Chinook/Clatsop Indians. The Corps of Discovery also wore them to protect themselves from the rain.

Storage Room

The enlisted men shared three rooms on the other side of the fort. These rooms had four sets of bunk beds, a fireplace and table and chairs in the middle. The Corps of Discovery had 3 squads, each led by a Sergeant. The squads each had 7 - 9 Privates. I'm guessing each squad had their own room. Sounds like cramped quarters.

The flagpole in the fort.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center

As part of our Moving West unit, we are learning about Lewis & Clark. We spent part of the weekend exploring the Lewis & Clark National & State Historical Parks in both Oregon & Washington. This is along the Pacific Ocean, the final destination of Lewis & Clark's Expedition. At Cape Disappointment we toured the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center.


Lewis & Clark's team, The Corps of Discovery, carried a 15 star & 15 stripe flag (similar to this one) on their expedition. By the time Lewis & Clark went on their adventure (1803) there were 17 states, but the flag hadn't been redesigned yet.

A half scale replica of the dugout canoes used by the Corps of Discovery.

There were many hands on activities, which of course, my kids loved. This one is trying to stack a canoe with as many supplies as possible without tipping your boat. The Corps of Discovery had to repack their boats daily.

At the time, Officers of the US Army wore the coat & hat on the right. By the time the Corps of Discovery made it to the Pacific Ocean, though, their clothes were ragged. 

Elk Skin Coat: Typically the frontiersmen wore buckskin clothes
Knapsack: US Army issued bags painted to repel water
Flintlock Rifle: Replica of the type of gun used by the Corps of Discovery

The Corps of Discovery encountered 24 different Indian tribes on their journey, including the Chinook.

Arrows & a barb, typical of the Chinook.

The Interpretive Center also had examples of the journals kept by the Corps of Discovery.

Once the Corps of Discovery made it to the Pacific Ocean they needed to decide the best place to spend the winter.

Experts don't know if this knife was used on the expedition. But, it was found in William Clark's home & is typical of a knife used during that time.


The items in this case belonged to Patrick Gass, a member of the Corps of Discovery. On the left is the flask he used. To the right is a wooden razor box believed to have been carved and given to him by Sacagawea.

More amazing to me than the items in the case, though, are the words around the case on the right. It says each of the men in the Corps of Discovery received 320 acres of land & double pay. Lewis & Clark each received 1600 acres and double pay. York and Sacagawea got nothing. Zilch. Nada. I know this was a sign of the times. But, it's still awful. Obviously the US government was happy with their expedition for the men to receive double pay plus land. It's appalling that the time, effort & sacrifice from an Indian Woman and a Black Slave weren't compensated in the same way. 

The end of the exhibit had pull drawers describing what happened to each member of the Corps of Discovery. York got his freedom sometime after 1811.


A 3-D map showing where the fresh water Columbia River meets the salt water of the Pacific Ocean. Cape Disappointment is on the Washington side of the river. You can just barely see the You Are Here arrow in this pic.

Outside the building is a large version of the nickel featuring the Pacific Ocean in the Westward Journey series. Just the other day we discussed and did rubbings of the Westward Journey nickels.  I wish I would have known this large one was there. I would have brought paper and a crayon for the kid's to make a rubbing.

Cape Disappointment is one of the foggiest places in the US. I believe it. Not too far from us was the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. We could barely see it do to the fog.

The Interpretive Center sits back on a rocky ledge. Many cormorants live on these rocks.

The Interpretive Center sits where what once was Fort Canby. The fort was built to defend the Columbia River from enemy warships. The US Army was here from the mid 1800's until the end of WWII.

The Lewis & Clark National & State Parks are within the beautiful old growth forests of the Pacific Northwest.

The words "Welcome to the Edge of the Continent" amaze me . I have lived near the Pacific Ocean all my life and I take it for granted. I can't imagine the joy the Corps of Discovery felt when they first saw it.

To make the trip even more fun, we saw a bald eagle not too far from the Interpretive Center!

I love the field trips as much as my kids. I always learn something new & it's always a great excuse to go see something we wouldn't normally get to see. We drove across the crazy-steep, then low to the water Astoria Bridge. Made it to the edge of North America. Walked through an amazing old growth forest. Saw a lighthouse in the fog, making it a great time to show the kids why we have lighthouses in the first place. Explored an old army fort. Saw a bald eagle! We learned that the white stuff on the rocks with the cormorants was guano. The kids loved that. We experienced all this and more while the intent was to simply learn a little something about Lewis & Clark. I'm already plotting when we can go back & make a bigger trip out of it.


I'm sharing this post with the History & Geography Meme hosted by All Things Beautiful.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Melted Crayon Art

I'm going to try and post a couple times per month about art projects we've been working on. I've come up with the ingenius name: Tuesday's Art. This inaugural post is melted crayon art, something I've been drooling over for months on Pinterest. This was one of those projects I actually wanted to try myself, not just help the kids with their masterpieces. But honestly, by the time all 3 kids were done I didn't want to make mine anymore. I guess I will save my creation for another day. The kids loved this project and thought the melting crayons were flat-out awesome!

There are instructions all over the internet, so I'll just give a quick run down on how we made ours.

I had canvas stored away for a different project I never made, so I dug it out for the kids. I also gave them the box of used crayons.

I told them they could choose to leave the wrappers on the crayons or peel them. Mr. T chose to peel only the wrappers off his red star.

They layed out their design, then I hot glued the crayons to the canvas.

Mr. T used all sorts of crayons - different brands, different sizes. I'm sure if you want your wax to melt equally, you should use the same type of crayon.

The kids & I took turns using a hair dryer to melt the crayons. I will warn you that we had melted wax splatters all over, so cover yourself & your workspace.

At some point we decided we had melted the crayons enough. This is Mr. T's finished product. I don't think his star turned out exactly how he had planned, but I think he's still happy with his art.

Capt. N's started out like this...

... and became this after we melted it.

Princess K decided on this design...

... After we melted the crayons, it looked completely different.

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