Some images in this exhibit, George Rogers Clark and the Fall of Fort Sackville, are reproductions of primary source documents from the time period. Most illustrative material used, however, was produced by artists of later time periods. These later images provide some challenges regarding authenticity, but they are interesting commentaries nonetheless.
The Frederick C. Yohn paintings used in the Lowell Thomas book (1929) are action-oriented and reflect his desire to create in the reader an emotional reaction to the activities portrayed. Yohn's knowledge of the time period is limited, as indicated, for example, by his portrayal of the Indians in Plains--rather than Woodland--dress.
The illustrations from the Indiana State Museum exhibit catalog in 1976 naturally demonstrate more knowledge of the period. They also are primarily oriented to portraying the activities as related by the primary sources--the accounts of the participants-- which have survived.
The goal of these and other sources is to celebrate the heroic activities of Clark and his men. The authors' and artists' visions are based on their own perceptions of Clark's time and their own interpretations of the written words that are available from that time. The American perspective obviously dominates all of these visions.
The goal of this exhibit, also, is to celebrate that American heroism. The need to select for use here a minute amount of the material available does not allow for a thorough presentation of the complexity of the interactions among the players--the American and Virginia governments, Clark and his men, the American Indians, the British, and the mainly French inhabitants of the Illinois country.
With this brief introduction, however, perhaps some visitors will be intrigued or inspired to dig deeper into the many sources for this fascinating time in history.