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Many members of the Corps of Discovery learned to be artists on the expedition. For instance, they drew pictures in their journals and on the maps they created. They drew the land, plants, and animals they saw.

The Corps also discovered the works of art created by Native Americans. They enjoyed beautiful beadwork and paintings and pictographs that told stories.

In the following activity you are an artist. You must make a buffalo skin like the ones the Native Americans made.


Make Your Own Buffalo Robe


  • JAZZ tempera paint in assorted colors, including brown
  • Large sheets of brown kraft paper or large kraft paper bags (cut down one side and across the bottom to open the large interior area)
  • Bucket of water
  • Assorted paint brushes
  • Paint trays
  • Newspaper, drop cloths, or large sheets of butcher paper


Image of a person painting a picture.
You'll create symbols or designs on your buffalo hide.

Cover the work area with newspaper, drop cloths, or large sheets of butcher paper. Tear (do not cut) the brown kraft paper into the shape of a buffalo hide. Crumple the torn kraft paper well with both hands.

Pour one cup of brown Jazz tempera paint into a bucket of water. Mix well. Immerse the crumpled paper into the tinted water. Knead the paper gently but firmly in the paint solution. When your paper is sufficiently saturated, spread it out to dry on your covered work area.

When your "hide" is dry, paint symbols or designs onto it using various colors. Let your artwork dry.

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