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Lewis And Clark Trail Museum 50th Anniversary Celebration, June 29, Alexander, ND

Entertainment, history, food and fun to honor the past and look to the future


The 50th anniversary celebration for the Lewis and Clark Trail Museum in Alexander on Saturday, June 29 will be a stellar event befitting the legacy of Lewis and Clark and the president, Thomas Jefferson who sent them. It will be a testament to the character, ambition, ingenuity and perseverance of the pioneers and settlers who followed them. There will be something for everyone at this great event.

Lewis and Clark were sent west in 1804 by President Thomas Jefferson to explore and map the great unknown west. They spent 214 days on two separate visits in North Dakota. It was here they met Sakakawea who traveled with them and was instrumental in their success. This expedition opened up the west to the European explorers followed by the homesteaders who began coming to western North Dakota in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

1n 1967, a group of local community members had a vision that preservation of seemingly everyday items would be an important window to the past and worked to preserve the great heritage they shared. The McKenzie County Historical Society organized an Alexander chapter, which led to a special committee for the Lewis and Clark Trail Museum. They were offered and accepted the old Alexander school built in 1914 for their proposed museum. The museum opened in June 1969, 165 years after Lewis and Clark first passed through North Dakota. Using innovative displays that use each classroom to feature a different aspect of history the museum currently has one of the largest inventories of historical artifacts in North Dakota.

The program will start at 4 p.m.. It will open with the Williston Drum and Bugle Corps playing with Leslie Bieber, Superintendent of the Alexander School, singing the National Anthem. Pastor Kevin Beard will do the invocation. Master of Ceremonies is Dr. Paige Baker, Dr. Baker's many accomplishments include over forty years of experience in the private, public and tribal sector. He has worked in energy and has been the superintendent of two national parks and the Bureau of Indian Affairs at Fort Berthold. He has been the director of several university programs and is a past member of the board of directors for the North Dakota Humanities Council.

The keynote speaker for the event is Clay Jenkinson, award winning scholar, film maker, author, historian, dramatist, and creator and star of The Jefferson Hour podcast. Mr. Jenkinson has appeared in three Ken Burns documentary films, including the film The Roosevelts: An Intimate History. He has made four documentary films and written nine books, including the critically acclaimed The Character of Meriwether Lewis. He has played a dozen historical characters including Lewis and Thomas Jefferson. The Jefferson Hour has been running for 25 years.

There is more...Bob Petermann, acclaimed cowboy poet and singer, will also be performing. Bob has three recordings and one book to his credit. Bob's style of cowboy music is pure and strives to preserve the true west. He has been the featured performer at numerous venues over the years including the world renowned National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada. There will also be a short "tech meets history" presentation about the QR scams. The program will end with the Sixth infantry firing their cannon in salute.

Honored guest will be Grace Link, former First Lady of North Dakota. She and Governor Art Link raised their five children on a farm south of Alexander. Mrs. Link celebrated her 100th birthday last summer.

Following the program, feel free to roam the museum and see updated rooms and historical exhibits with hors d' oeuvres to enjoy as you explore. The hors d' oeuvres are being created especially for the celebration and will have a connection to the room that features them. KBgraFZ Custom Signs and Graphics have generously donated new signs for the Days of the Week room, just one of many new improvements.

In addition to the days of the Week room, there are rooms that focus on Lewis and Clark, the last lynching in McKenzie County, pioneers, country store, former Governor Art Link and family, historical classroom and the Hall of Fame room with memorabilia of remarkable past residents. The grounds of the museum include a log cabin from the Madison Ranch south of town and the old Boy Scout cabin that houses photos and maps of the area as well as the Old Settlers Days honorees. The old Highland Lutheran Church building is also on the property with the museum's massive prehistoric petrified tree stumps unique to western North Dakota decorating its front lawn.

The first grade room exhibit at the Lewis and Clark Trail Museum.

In 2018, the museum completed an extensive addition. The new space permitted the museum to display many items that needed to be relocated. Some items complement existing displays, such as fire apparatus, wagons, carriages and our largest threshing machine, which is particularly unique because of its wooden structure. Other items help to round out the variety of businesses represented at the museum, including a soda fountain, saddlery items from the saddle maker's shop, and tools and equipment from the blacksmith shop. Over a dozen horse-drawn items show the importance of horses to homesteaders' agricultural practices as well as horse drawn transportation. Antique automobiles provide insight into the importance of the introduction of mechanized transportation to North Dakota's largest county. For the model train enthusiasts, the museum's model train will be running.

We invite you to share in our celebration on June 29 and all of the 2019 season. Watch our Facebook page for upcoming events at, and come by and enjoy a specialty drink at James Gang Java located on the grounds in the old Charbonneau School building.

The museum is open Memorial Day through Labor Day, every day except Wednesday, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. with Sunday hours of 12-5 p.m. and is located at 102 Indiana Ave. E., Alexander, ND.

The 50th anniversary celebration is June 29 beginning at 4 p.m.

For more information about the museum and its history visit


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