Seaside Signal, May 13, 2004
by Mark Tolonen
Keeping the Past Alive
Lewis & Clark Exhibit
Have you ever wondered why the salt makers of the Lewis and Clark expedition came so far south to boil water? The answer is that the salinity of the coastal water is much higher in Seaside than further north in Clatsop County. As much as one million cubic feet of fresh water per second floods out the Columbia River during the winter rainy season, therefore the expedition had to travel many miles south of the Columbia to set up their salt works.
“… as Salt is an Objt.” is the new major exhibit at the Seaside Museum & Historical Society. The exhibit details the story of the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery’s Salt Makers at present-day Seaside, Oregon. The title is a quote from Lewis’ journal, dated Nov. 24, 1805.
The new exhibit examines the Salt Maker’s experience from a scientific perspective (answering questions such as “How many BTUs were needed to produce 3 ½ bushels of salt?”) and the human perspective (dealing with weather conditions and daily life), as well as extensive quotes from the journals of the explorers.
The museum is open to the public daily, excluding major holidays.
Generous exhibit funding was provided by the National Park Service Challenge Cost Share Program and the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial in Oregon / Oregon Heritage Commission.
(Mark Tolonen, curator at the Seaside Museum, writes the History column for the Seaside Signal. The Seaside Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and located at 570 Necanicum Drive in Seaside. For more information, call (503) 738-7065.)