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Before they could leave, they had to arrive

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Historic site celebrates anniversary of Lewis and Clark arriving at camp where they prepared for famed expedition

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Displays of Native American artifacts, frontier medical tools and military weapons on Dec. 13 and 14 will help the people of today connect to the moment in 1803 when the Lewis and Clark Expedition arrived at its Illinois winter camp.

The Lewis and Clark State Historic Site in Hartford, Ill., will celebrate the anniversary from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13, and Sunday, Dec. 14. Activities for the “Arrival at Camp River Dubois” take place at the Interpretive Center and the replica of the expedition’s camp.

The event is free and open to the public.

Other exhibitors will be present for the entire weekend. Paul Imes will exhibit medical tools used by Captain Lewis. Michael Stout will display tools of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, while Bob Mitchell exhibits rocks, minerals and fossils of Illinois.

The 2nd Regiment U.S. Artillery will be presenting (but not firing) their cannon. Jim Duncan will display firearms and accoutrements carried by soldiers on the expedition, and Ken Porter will exhibit frontier artifacts.

The Lewis and Clark State Historic Site, administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, marks the spot where the Corps of Discovery wintered before launching the historic expedition to the Pacific Ocean. They arrived Dec. 13, 1803.

The site features an interpretive center about the Illinois role in the expedition, as well as an accurate reconstruction of Camp River Dubois. It is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for free public tours, and is located along Illinois Route 3 a few miles north of I-270 in Hartford, Ill.

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