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Filson on Main

artwork from the Filson exhibit

Louisville played an important role in the legendary journey of Lewis and Clark, who set out 200 years ago to explore the vast Western territories President Thomas Jefferson had just acquired from France. As part of the regional bicentennial salute to the two captains and their Corps of Discovery, the Filson Historical Society has put together an extensive Lewis and Clark exhibit at its new Main Street exhibition space, Filson on Main.

Filson on Main The exhibit features more than 100 items from the society’s collection, including portraits, Native American artifacts, surveying and navigational tools, firearms, and original letters—among which are six written by William Clark to his brother Jonathan during the expedition. Items on loan from other collections and individuals include military equipment from the early 19th century, knives, pistols, Jefferson peace medals, a buffalo robe, a grizzly bear rug, and an Indian headdress and saddle.

The Filson exhibition places special emphasis on the role of Louisville and Kentucky in the Lewis and Clark expedition. Co-leader William Clark, George Rogers Clark’s younger brother, lived in Louisville with other members of his family. Meriwether Lewis came to Louisville to meet him on October 14, 1803, thus forming one of the most famous partnerships in American history. And it was in Louisville and surrounding areas of Kentucky and Indiana that Clark recruited many of the men who would make up the Corps of Discovery. In the end, more than half the corps were Kentuckians, and a third were from the immediate Louisville area. That number included the “Nine Young Men from Kentucky” who enlisted together and became some of the most important members of the expedition.

That number also included York, Clark’s enslaved “manservant.” York is the first known African American to cross the North American continent.

Filson on Main is at 626 West Main Street in Louisville. The Lewis and Clark exhibit is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm ET and Sundays from 12:30 to 5:00 pm. For more information, call (502) 566-0084.

Program 608

A very unusual clock at the Lexington Public Library, the Filson Historical Society’s new gallery in downtown Louisville, the new director of the Louisville Visual Art Association, and music by Wishing Chair. (#608)


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