By Ellen R. Stapleton
The Associated Press
LOUISVILLE - When Meriwether Lewis and William Clark departed on their expedition of the American West 200 years ago, the best map they had was full of detail east of the Mississippi River and through parts of Canada. The rest of the country, according to Aaron Arrowsmith's 1802 map, was emptiness until the Pacific coastline.
"Look at all the blank space," said Louisville Free Public Library director Craig Buthod, pointing to the map that went on display Monday along with 60 other Lewis and Clark items.
A post-expedition map that is also part of the exhibit shows the details the explorers provided - the route the Corps of Discovery took from 1803 to 1806, the location of mountains and population estimates of American Indian tribes.
The exhibit, "The Literature of the Lewis and Clark Expedition," left Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore., in January on a three-year national tour. It stays in Louisville through the end of the year.
The opening Monday morning was a precursor to the region's two-week bicentennial celebration featuring more than 50 events. Louisville was selected by a national committee to host one of 10 signature events - a re-enactment of Lewis' arrival in the city and meeting with Clark on the Ohio River. It takes place today at noon.
The activities end Oct. 26 with the Corps of Discovery's departure for St. Louis from Clarksville, Ind.
Lewis and Clark joined up in Louisville and spent 12 days getting provisions. They also recruited nine Kentucky men to join their corps. Special attention is being given to a particular member, Clark's slave York.
The city will unveil a bronze statue of York by sculptor Ed Hamilton today.
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