SIU to receive a grant for Lewis and Clark project

By Gus Bode

$200,000 federal grant money set for 200th anniversary commemorative project

SIUC is expecting to receive a $200,000 federal grant for an exhibit celebrating two famous American explorers, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.

But President Bush has not yet signed the direct appropriation bill from Sen. Dick Durbin’s office, which is supporting the bill.

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“It’s not official yet,” said Robert Swenson, an assistant professor in architecture and co-director of the grant. “But we are expecting it rather shortly.”

The Library of Congress is providing funding for the project. Joe Shoemaker, a spokesman for Sen. Durbin’s office, said SIUC will most likely receive the money for this exhibit.

“Only 13 appropriation bills are passed a year,” Shoemaker said. “The one for SIU is one of them; it’s only a matter of time before the president signs the bill.”

The grant is for a permanent exhibit held at the Custom House Museum located in Cairo. The exhibit itself is to commemorate the journey of Lewis and Clark and the group they traveled with, known as the Corps of Discovery.

Louis Ogg, the coordinator for Lewis and Clark through Alexander County Tourism, said SIU will research the displays held at the museum to dig deeper into the realm of Lewis and Clark history.

Some of the documents include rare surveys through which Lewis and Clark learned how to navigate by stars – a skill they learned when they spent seven days visiting Indians near the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers near present day Cairo.

The documents that have been discovered will be available on the SIU Morris Library and the Library of Congress website.

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“It’s going to be the 200th year anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition [this year],” Shoemaker said. “It’s going to be very big for Southern Illinois and for Lewis and Clark followers.”

Reporter J.D. Wright can be reached at [email protected]

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