Missouri History Museum

Missouri History Museum

Updated 1:24, Nov. 11 with agreement  -

This Veteran’s Day, the Missouri History Museum takes over as official custodian of Soldiers Memorial Military Museum. The city and history museum formalized the agreement outside Soldier’s Memorial.

Courtesy of the Hands On Black History Museum

The recent $5 million gift tech company Emerson made to the Missouri History Museum will fund the museum’s first exhibit from its initiative to improve the representation of African-American history in museum programing. The exhibit will attempt to show St. Louis' position as a leading city of the civil rights movement.

An exhibition at the Griot Museum of Black History shows a mutiny on the deck of a slave ship.
Nancy Fowler / St. Louis Public Radio

A new $5 million donation will help the Missouri History Museum collect and exhibit St. Louis’ African-American history. But not everyone trusts a large, mainstream institution to tell these stories.

While the History Museum thrives through such contributions and with Zoo-Museum District funding, the Griot Museum of Black History struggles to even pay its utility bills. In the weeks ahead, we’ll have a detailed report of this languishing establishment.

During a 2010 interview, Norman Seay shared this photo of Jefferson Bank protesters being led to jail. A young William Clay, before he was elected to Congress, is second from left. Seay is the man wearing a hat and is behind the man with a pocket handkerc
Provided by Mr. Seay

A major gift is helping the Missouri History Museum contradict the notion that the civil rights movement was a quiet affair in St. Louis.

“The lunch-counter sit-ins happened in St. Louis before they happened in North Carolina, but people don’t know that story,” said Melanie Adams, managing director for community education and events. “People don’t realize that there were slaves suing for their freedom before Dred Scott. Those stories just are not out there being told.”

The west wing of Soldiers Memorial Museum
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The person in charge of the Soldiers Memorial Museum is excited about management shifting from the city to the Missouri History Museum. A bill to do just that is now before the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. And   Superintendent Lynnea Magnuson says she's hopeful that the building may now receive the care it deserves.

“This is something that when I started, I would never have dreamed of it happening,” said Magnuson.

Missouri History Museum Photos and Prints Collection.

If you’re a caffeine junkie, you know that St. Louis has a plethora of delicious coffee shops from which to seek your fix. Likewise, with several big coffee roasters such as Kaldi’s and Ronnoco and local icons such as Dana Brown with his famous Safari Coffee commercials, you may even think of St. Louis as a modern-day center for Midwestern coffee nuts. But did you know that St. Louis’ history with coffee reaches back almost 200 years?

Starkloff Disability Institute

It has been 25 years since the historic Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted by the U.S. Congress and St. Louis will join cities across the country in commemorating its passage. 

Kali greets his visitors.
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Update: This article has been updated to include a State Auditor's approved recoupment of $.0001 for each of the Zoo Museum District institutions.

The Zoo Museum District board is lowering tax rates for the coming year. This will amount to St. Louisans paying a fraction of a cent less per one hundred dollars of taxable property.

Soldiers Memorial Military Museum
Bill Smith | St. Louis Beacon | File photo

The Missouri History Museum moved another step closer to taking over operations of Soldiers Memorial Military Museum in downtown St. Louis. Trustees voted Wednesday at a special board meeting.  Missouri Historical Society Chairman Harry Rich said this is a fantastic deal for the city.

“There’s an opportunity for a major improvement in a facility that will still be owned by the city,” he said.

Images from zoo museum district entities
File photos and Wikipedia

The debate over charging nonresidents of St. Louis and St. Louis County for admission to the various free Zoo-Museum District institutions was reignited in St. Louis this month. “A small entrance fee of, say, $8 for non-city, non-county people would be fair and would help institutions terrifically,” said Ben Uchitelle, the former chairman of the board of the Zoo-Museum District.

Cary Horton (Courtesy of Missouri History Museum)


Children learn differently than adults—there’s no studying, no note-taking, and not a lot of deep reasoning. There’s mostly just play.

With that in mind, the Missouri History Museum’s History Clubhouse, its first permanent exhibit specifically designed for children, opened in June. History Clubhouse is an explorative space in which kids can discover St. Louis-area places of note: Downtown, Cahokia Mounds, Forest Park, and the Mississippi River.

Provided by Missouri History Museum

The Missouri History Museum has unveiled a 6,000 square-foot exhibit that transports visitors back in time to experience St. Louis in 1875.

The exhibit, “A Walk in 1875 St. Louis,” is a replica of Compton & Dry’s 300 square-foot “Pictorial St. Louis” map created in 1874 by Richard Compton, a St. Louis sheet music publisher, and Camille Dry, a mechanical draftsman.

Missouri History Museum

When Missouri History Museum archivist M. E. Kodner came across letters that St. Louisan James Love wrote to his fiancée, Eliza Mary “Molly” Wilson during his service in the Union Army, she realized their importance in shedding light on the war and life during that period. So she compiled 160 letters into the book “My Dear Molly: The Civil War Letters of Captain James Love.” 

Annie Malone on roof garden of the Poro College Building, 25 April 1927. Photograph by W.C. Persons. Courtesy of the Missouri History Museum.
Courtesy Missouri History Museum

Sunday marks 105 years since the first Annie Malone May Day Parade in St. Louis, making it one of the longest-running African-American parades in the country.

But as another day of marching, music and dance arrives, historians and parade organizers worry that the event is the only association most people have with the name Annie Malone.

Item displayed at “Capturing Hearts and Minds: Images of Nazi Propaganda and Disinformation” at the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center
Julia Bishop-Cross / via Flickr

Two St. Louis exhibits closely examine the powerful role of propaganda during the rise of Nazi Germany.

The first is “Capturing Hearts and Minds: Images of Nazi Propaganda and Disinformation,” and is at the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center. The other, at the Missouri History Museum, is a traveling exhibit from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum called, “State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda.” 

Missouri Gov. Alexander McNair's residence was at the northwest corner of Main and Spruce Streets. Daguerreotype by Thomas M. Easterly, 1850.
Courtesy of the Missouri History Museum

Many of St. Louis’ buildings have been lost to time, disaster, or destruction. It may seem like an inevitable byproduct of progress, but what do we lose when we lose a historic building? 

“Sometimes what we lose is so much more than the physical structure, it’s our collective, shared memory,” said Andrew Wanko, public historian at the Missouri History Museum, in a conversation with “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Tuesday.

"Lost Buildings of St. Louis" is a new exhibit at the museum that shares the stories behind many of St. Louis’ lost buildings.   

trolley missouri history museum
Rachel Heidenry | 2009

Organizers of a canceled Missouri History Museum event are accusing the institution of practicing “selective history” over its cancelation of a Ferguson-related event.

“It’s a direct silencing of a large part of our community,” said Stephanie Aria, 21.  Aria is a leader of the Washington University student group AltaVoz which organized the event.

The cast of 'Afflicted: Daughters of Salem,' from left: Taylor Seward, Emily Jackoway, Alicia Smith, Jennifer Theby-Quinn, Samantha Moyer and Jacqueline Thompson.
Courtesy of the Metro Theater Company

In the spring of 1692, a group of young girls in Massachusetts spawned a wave of hysteria after accusing others of witchcraft. The accusations led to the Salem Witch Trials and the execution of more than a dozen people, mostly women.

Beginning Friday, Metro Theater Company and the Missouri History Museum present "Afflicted: Daughters of Salem," a play about the events that led to the Salem Witch Trials.

"Cityscape" host Steve Potter talked with Julia Flood, artistic director of Metro Theater Company, and playwright, Laurie Brooks.

The Missouri History Museum is collecting postcards for a time capsule that will be opened in 50 years, for St. Louis' 300th anniversary.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ 250th anniversary celebration is wrapping up, and the city starts its 251st year this weekend.

While the 250th anniversary may have lacked the over-the-top pomp and circumstance of previous anniversaries, Cakeway to the West was a hit. Two hundred fifty-six cake sculptures, each 4 feet tall, were decorated by artists and scattered throughout the St. Louis region.

Missouri History Museum employees dig through ash and scrap metal for artifacts on Jan. 29, 2015, at the burned-out Fashions R Boutique in Ferguson.
Emanuele Berry / St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri History Museum and Washington University are making sure artifacts from Ferguson are preserved.