Fort Clatsop
Administrative History
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Sewing moccasins
Ranger Phil Jones sewing moccasins, 1970.
(FOCL photo collection)

Over the last thirty-five years, the staff at Fort Clatsop has developed a nationally recognized interpretive program, designed to present to the public the story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and its stay at Fort Clatsop during the winter of 1805-1806. The 1958 Suggested Historical Area Report described a potential memorial where the site of the replicated fort structure, in combination with the restoration of the historically documented coastal forest environment of 1805-1806, could offer the visitor a physical setting in which to imagine the Expedition party. Since the opening of the visitor center in 1963, the memorial's interpretation has evolved into a comprehensive presentation of the Expedition, its encounters and effects at the turn of the 19th century.

The memorial began telling the story of the Expedition through exhibits and other media utilized at the visitor center and the fort replica. From 1963 to the present, the memorial has broadened the scope of its interpretation through: the development of costumed demonstration programs, held throughout spring and summer and on special occasions; increased seasonal staffing; utilization of the memorial's growing reference library collection; an expanded collection of educational films and videos; expanded and improved exhibit displays, temporary displays, including artifacts from the Lewis and Clark Expedition on loan from other institutions; the filming of costumed demonstrations on laser disc format, shown in the visitor center; and the development of a variety of educational school programs, held both on and off site. Memorial staff have broadened both the depth and reach of its interpretive programs.

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Last Updated: 20-Jan-2004