By Andrea Winkjer Collin, Editor, North Dakota Horizons
North Dakota Horizons readers get updates on the Center and its related programs in every issue of our magazine. Over the past year we have been reading about its plans for expansion and revamped exhibits.
Those who gathered came to observe the 15th anniversary of the opening of the Center and the new exhibits. The restoration of the grounds and interpretive programs after last year's Misssouri River flood was also observed with many thanks for all who helped protect the property through the crisis.
Those speaking at Saturday's program heralded the public-private partnerships that have come together over the years. Senator Conrad spoke about being at the dedication 15 years ago and what the Lewis & Clark story and the development of the Center's programs have taught us as we have faced our own personal challenges. Governor Dalrymple noted how close North Dakotans are to the historical milestones that shaped our state. Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Tex Hall praised the Center's interpretation of the area's Native Americans.
Washburn native Tracy Martin Berg, spoke on behalf of her husband, Rep. Rick Berg. She praised the community of Washburn for the national leadership it has shown in telling the Lewis & Clark story. Through a letter, Senator Hoeven praised the historical significance of the Center. Mark Weekley, Superintendent of the National Park Service Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail, commended North Dakota on the uniqueness of its interpretation of the Corps of Discovery. Others from the community, state and Lewis & Clark Fort Mandan Foundation also added comments on the significance of the day.
The story of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, which began nearly 210 years ago, will always have a special place in North Dakota's history. The legendary hospitality shown the expedition by the Mandan People during the winter of 1803-04 set a very high bar for future generations in welcoming visitors to North Dakota. It is a story that will never grow old and will always resonate with all who hear it.
For more information on the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and its related programs, visit www.fortmandan.com.