SIBLEY – Only three weeks remain to catch a special exhibit at the Fort Osage National Historic Landmark that is being shown outside of its home state for the first time.
“The Life & Legend of Daniel Boone,” a series of 10 framed color panels summarizing the life of one of the most America's most famous frontiersman, is on display through June 30 in the gallery of the site's Education Center. It's the first time the exhibit has been shown outside of the Kentucky, the state where Boone is buried and, along with Missouri, with which he is most synonymous.
The exhibit originates from the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort, a few blocks from where Boone and his wife Rebecca are buried after they were disinterned and moved there in 1845.
Boone, who died in eastern Missouri in 1820 at age 85, visited the original Fort Osage in the fall of 1816 and stayed for a couple weeks on his way to a hunting and trapping expedition in Platte River country – what is now Nebraska. Such a trek is something Boone did often, according to Fred Goss, site administrator for Fort Osage National Historic Landmark, which is run by Jackson County Parks & Recreation.
Even at that advanced age, Goss said, Boone “was still very spry, very adventurous, able to do a lot physically.”
Furthermore, Goss said, Boone's son Nathan had been with William Clark with when Clark traveled upriver from St. Charles in 1808 and established Fort Osage at a spot overlooking a bend in the Missouri River. At the time, it was the westernmost fort in the U.S., and until abandoned in the mid-1820s, it served mainly to supervise the trading business with local Native Americans.
Goss, who became site administrator in December, said he had been looking around for traveling special exhibits, noticed the Boone one and inquired the Kentucky Historical Society how much it would cost to host the exhibit.
With shipping costs (the panels are specially packed) and two months display, Goss said, the total bill is just $200. The panels discuss Boone's life as an explorer, hunter and trapper, militia man and land surveyor and speculator – the last of which he struggled at and had to pay off debts.
“I thought it was something that worked for our mission and history,” he said, adding that visitors thus far have been pleasantly surprised to learn of the exhibit and its local relevance. “They learn they're literally going to walk the same path where Daniel Boone trod, seeing the same view of the river. You can mentally put yourself back in that time period.”
While Boone was well-known at the time of his Fort Osage visit, tales of his life over the decades tended to be more of mythical heroism than reality, Goss said, something explained to some degree in the exhibit.
“His life is a reflection of a lot of people at the time,” Goss said, “He did a number of things.”