The sculpture is an accurate historical depiction of all three explorers. The base of pink granite includes etchings of a brief description of the lives of the explorers as well as information about the exploration they completed together. Near this narrative section, one can also find images that represent important aspects of the journey, including hunting for buffalo, the exploration of rivers, tribal councils, animals such as the bald eagle, and the seals of the United States and the state of Virginia. The three figures face west, the direction of the Pacific Ocean. The statue represents the first public depiction of the Corps of Discovery in Charlottesville and expresses the popular sentiments of the day towards exploration, national purpose and conquest of the wilderness in North America.
In 2009, the city of Charlottesville was pressured by American Indian organizations and descendants of Sacajawea to set the record straight, because it was said by these two groups that Sacajawea's role with the Corps of Discovery was downplayed. The same year, the city added a plaque to the statue to correct the record.