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Missouri History Museum

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.

Wash U, History Museum Seeking Ferguson Artifacts

Jan 30, 2015
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.

The performing and visual arts can bring history to life. During Black History Month, St. Louis is bursting with opportunities to celebrate and learn through movement, music, drama, film, painting and sculpture. (See list, below.)

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

Owner of Fashions R Boutique, Juanita Morris was stunned when she got the call that her shop was on fire.

“No, not my building,” Morris said. “But you know, I looked, the building next door was burning and the building across the street was burning, so I just said, 'Well I was just caught up in the middle'.”

Evelynn Johnson, second from left, and her family meet with genealogist Kenyatta Berry, second from right, at Union Station in St. Louis during filming for PBS' 'Genealogy Roadshow.' Johnson's story will be shared in the show's Feb. 10, 2015, episode.
Courtesy of Jason Winkeler / PBS

When PBS’ “Genealogy Roadshow” asked for queries from St. Louis residents last year, Evelynn Johnson gave them her great-grandfather's name.

“I was asking my mom if were kin to another family that shared our last name,” Johnson told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Thursday. “She said ‘Well, this is your great-grandfather’s name. See if they know him.’”

Reliving The Heydays Of Famous-Barr

Dec 11, 2014

For almost 100 years, Famous-Barr was a St. Louis shopping destination. Its holiday window displays in particular drew shoppers from throughout the St. Louis area to Famous-Barr’s downtown location. Many of those displays, and other well-known Famous-Barr events, were directed by Helen Weiss, the store’s public relations maven.

In 1833, two men from Giessen, Germany, decided to immigrate to the United States where they hoped to create their own utopia with the freedoms and democracy they desired but did not have under an aristocracy. They recruited hundreds of others and formed the Giessen Emigration Society.

“It was the year 1834 when 500 Germans came over here to Missouri with the big idea of creating a German state as a new state within the United States of America,” Peter Roloff told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Tuesday.

White House Honors History Museum's Teen Program

Nov 10, 2014
Parth Shah | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri History Museum's Teens Make History program was honored today with a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.

Part of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, the National Arts award recognizes creative youth development programs that engage students in the arts and humanities. Teens Make History is one of 12 after-school programs being honored.

Map by T. Stackhouse, publisher 1783, prior to Louisiana Purchase.
Courtesy of the Missouri History Museum

The Louisiana Purchase is much more complicated than most history textbooks portray.

That’s the message behind the Missouri History Museum’s new exhibition “The Louisiana Purchase: Making St. Louis, Remaking America.” Adam Kloppe, 30, is a writing and research fellow at the museum and took the lead in determining the content for the exhibit. He said the story of the Louisiana Purchase is a one of many doubts and tough decisions.

A few months after the jury announced George Zimmerman was not guilty in the Florida shooting death of Trayvon Martin, NBC News legal analyst Lisa Bloom published a book examining the case, “Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It.”

In “Suspicion Nation,” Bloom looks at what happened behind the scenes and why similar shootings continue to take place, including the August death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

A box full of LGBT periodicals. These items have been collected as part of the St. Louis LGBT history project.
Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

Nearly 40 years ago, Brian Hyland’s song "Gypsy Woman" played on a Jukebox and former St. Louis resident Lee Maynard found his name for performing in drag: Gypsy Lee. It was the first song that came on and someone said that was a great name. Maynard agreed.

When Maynard performed as Gypsy Lee around St. Louis in the 1970s, his standby song was Cher’s "Half-Breed." It’s a song that matched his elaborate costume.

Sherrilyn Ifill participates in the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington in 2013.
afagen via Flickr

Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, had planned to discuss the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision during her trip to St. Louis. That changed after Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson.

Romiyus Gause, right, plays troubled teenager Bobby, in St. Louis Now.
Parth Shah | St. Louis Public Radio intern

Updated with St. Louis on the Air interview.

The "Teens Make History" Players and are getting paid to act — but first they have to work through very serious issues and distill their findings into a play. Since 2007, this work-based program of the Missouri History Museum, brings together students to research, design and mount exhibits at the museum or to bring St. Louis history to life through their plays.

“It feels like I’m on Broadway,” said Romiyus Gause, who has been with the program for six years.

(Missouri History Museum)

The Missouri History Museum’s long-vacant Delmar Boulevard property — whose purchase contributed to the departure of former Missouri History Museum head Robert Archibald — will finally be put to use.

The Museum’s board of trustees has granted a license to use the land at 5863 Delmar to St. Louis’ Loop Trolley Development District.

photo of frances levine
From video by Nancy Fowler

Two months into her role as president of the Missouri History Museum, Frances Levine is making her presence known as she works to move past the controversy surrounding her predecessor.

Former museum president Robert Archibald resigned in 2012 amid questions about his compensation and the purchase of contaminated land on Delmar Boulevard.

Levine spoke with St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh about the future of the museum.

Museum Governance and Transparency

Courtesy Missouri History Museum

From 1920 until 1933, it was illegal to manufacture, transport and sell alcohol in the United States. In response, an underground culture of speakeasies and bootleggers sprang up, where covert groups met in unmarked locations to drink homemade gin, listened to jazz and danced the Charleston.

In St. Louis, those looking for a drink met in cellars and caves, said Tracy Lauer, an archivist at Anheuser-Busch.  Saloons and taverns shut down across the city, many to never reopen.

Oscar C. Kuehn / Missouri History Museum

To mark the 100th anniversary of St. Louis’ incorporation as a city, an imposing array of “gasbags” assembled at the edge of Forest Park in 1909 for the St. Louis Centennial balloon race.

(A bunch of politicians were there, too.)

statue outside soldiers memorial
St. Louis Beacon file photo

The Missouri History Museum is one step closer to working with the historical collection of Soldiers Memorial Military Museum.

Courtesy Missouri History Museum

Last month, St. Louis Public Radio reported on the discovery of the first physical evidence of the French Colonial settlers in St. Louis at the Poplar Street Bridge. In response, the Missouri History Museum wrote a post on its History Happens Here blog about works in their collection that demonstrate life in French Colonial St. Louis. The historic town of Ste. Genevieve, Mo.

Wikipedia

Beginning this fall, St. Louisans will be able to see the actual document that made what is now Missouri part of the United States.

In 1803, the United States bought more 828,000 square miles of land from France for $15 million – roughly four cents an acre – in a deal known as the Louisiana Purchase.

The parcel immediately doubled the size of the country and eventually became part or all of 14 states from Louisiana to Montana, including Missouri, Iowa and Arkansas.

Woodrow Wilson
Harris & Ewing White House portrait

American governmental structure began to take on its present form during the Progressive Reform Era, 1900-1915. Progressives decried the waste and corruption in government at all levels and desired professional administration based on fixed principles.

Provided by Missouri History Museum

The Missouri History Museum’s “250 in 250” exhibition is on track to make history, itself.

The exhibit promises to break attendance records, with more than 54,000 people having already visited the display highlighting 250 images, people, places, objects and moments in St. Louis history. That’s more than half the number who came through "The Civil War in Missouri” – the most recent exhibit originated by the museum – during its entire 18-month run.

Courtesy Missouri History Museum

In recognition of the 250th anniversary of St. Louis, the Missouri History Museum will open an exhibit called "250 in 250," next week. The exhibit highlights 50 people, 50 places, 50 images, 50 moments and 50 objects. It opens on Friday, February 14th - the day before Auguste Chouteau landed in St. Louis.* It's one of many events planned for the city's birthday weekend.

A scene from "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf," presented by the Black Rep in 2014
Provided by the Black Rep

There are many reasons you might want to see the Black Rep’s current production of Ntozake Shange’s poem series “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf” at the Missouri History Museum.

Of course, you get that deep, hard look into the lives of black women in the 1970s as seven characters wearing seven different colors leap, lament and laugh their way through Shange’s classic language.

Provided by Afriky Lolo

St. Louisans can explore the area's broad past including black history through larger-than-life puppets, Gee’s Bend, Ala., quilters and exhibits by members of the Alliance of Black Art Galleries.

The recently formed Alliance of Black Art Galleries will debut its first collaborative exhibit in February in connection with St. Louis’ 250th birthday celebration.

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