Marc A. Hefty photo
Photo by Bill Bevis
Left to right: Two concerned dugout canoe owners, one concerned expert paddler, and Joe grinning with delight
Joseph A. Mussulman is the founding producer, editor and sometime writer for Discovering Lewis & Clark. After five years of preparation and experimentation the website went online in 1998, under the auspices of a non-profit entity called VIAs Inc., and funded by grants from various sources, especially–throughout the bicentennial observance from 2003 to 2006–the Challenge Cost Share Program of the National Park Service. In 2009 the site was taken over by the Lewis & Clark Fort Mandan Foundation of Washburn, North Dakota.
Dr. Mussulman earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in music history and literature at Northwestern University in 1950 and 1951. As a Danforth Scholar he earned a doctorate in humanities from Syracuse University in 1967.
He has written and produced a number of interpretive programs in collaboration with audio specialist Richard H. Kuschel, also of Missoula Montana. In 1986 he wrote, narrated, and co-produced a multimedia presentation for the Blaine County Museum (MT) titled Forty Miles from Freedom, about the Non-Treaty Nez Perce Indians' final battle with the U.S. Army, at the Bear Paw Mountains in 1877. In 2012-13 Mussulman and Kuschel revised the 20-minute onsite production and updated it in High Definition video. In 1994 their interactive self-guided audio-CD tour of Yellowstone National Park, a five-hour program produced for Tour Technologies, Inc., received first prize in the category of media productions from the National Association for Interpretation. Their Two Days to Destiny, an audio interpretive tour of the Little Bighorn Battlefield, won first place from the NAI in 1995.
Mussulman is the author of five articles on Lewis and Clark that appeared in We Proceeded On, the official journal of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, Inc.: "My Boy Pomp': About That Name," Vol. 21, No. 2 (May,1995); "Soundscapes: The Sonic Dimensions of the Lewis and Clark Expedition," Vol. 21, No. 4 (November, 1995); "Men in High Spirits: Humor on the Lewis and Clark Trail," Vol.22, No. 2 (May, 1996); "'In Greatest Harmoney': 'Meddicine Songs' on the Lewis and Clark Trail," Vol. 23, No. 4 (November 1997); and "Pomp's bier was a bar," Vol. 27, No. 1 (February 2001).
Dr. Mussulman has designed and produced maps for various books, brochures and study guides about Lewis and Clark, including 58 full-color maps illustrating the expedition's entire route from coast to coast for the travelers' guide, Along the Trail with Lewis and Clark, by Barbara Fifer and Vicky Soderberg (2nd ed., Helena: Montana Magazine, 2001). Those maps also appeared in the same publisher's annual Lewis and Clark Travel Planner and Guide. They may be seen in Discovering Lewis & Clark at Discovering Lewis & Clark from the Air. In 1998 he created a poster illustrating the trail from Washington, D.C. to the Pacific, for Farcountry Press.
His other publications include a biography, Dear People . . . Robert Shaw (Indiana University Press,1979; reprint, Chapel Hill, NC: Hinshaw Music, 1996), and Music in the Cultured Generation (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1974). From 1987 through 1998 he was the interpretive writer and designer of Montana Afloat, a series of sixteen maps of Montana's major floatable rivers.
Dr. Mussulman was a 1999 recipient of a Montana Governor's Arts Award. Several years later he received an award of meritorious achievement from the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation "for outstanding contributions in bring to this nation a greater awareness and appreciation of the Lewis and Clark expedition." In 2005 he received the Montana Governor's Humanities Award.