Missouri History Museum

Logo from 2013 exhibit at MoHist
Provided by the Missouri History Museum

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Assassinations. Activism. Love-ins. “Laugh In.” Bell bottoms. Bombs. The year 1968 was an explosion of world-changing events from the murders of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy to the ubiquity of the peace sign.

St. Louis Science Center

At least one member of the public board that oversees the five cultural institutions in the Zoo-Museum District in St. Louis says it's time to think about charging some visitors to enter the St. Louis Zoo, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis Science Center, St. Louis Art Museum and the Missouri History Museum.

(Courtesy Collection of The New-York Historical Society)

As the author of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson is seen as a champion of liberty. Yet during his lifetime he owned more than 600 slaves and at the time of his death, more than 130 slaves were sold to pay off his debts.

An exhibit currently on display at the Missouri History Museum elaborates on this paradox.

(Courtesy Missouri History Museum Collections)

In recognition of the 250th anniversary of St. Louis, the Missouri History Museum is compiling an exhibit called "250 in 250," highlighting 50 people, 50 places, 50 images, 50 moments and 50 objects.

"I suppose the easiest thing for us to do would have been to do an exhibit on the city's founding," said Jody Sowell, director of exhibitions and research at the Missouri History Museum. "But we really wanted to come up with something that would cover that whole span of time, and really show the richness, diversity and complexity of that history."

From the exhibit

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Thomas Jefferson’s convoluted and complicated history as a slave owner – while long espousing opposition to the institution -- goes well beyond his likely 30-plus-year liaison with one of his slaves, Sally Hemings.

That fact is made clear in the newest exhibit at the Missouri History Museum, “Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: Paradox of Liberty.”

Jerry Tovo (Courtesy Missouri History Museum)

 During the Vietnam War, Jerry Tovo was a drill sergeant, training soldiers to go to war. After he left the military, Tovo became a professional photographer, specializing in advertising. But in 2011, he took his photography in a less commercial direction--photographing homeless veterans across the country.

Tovo's motivation for the project originated with an understanding of the problems that can lead to homelessness  among veterans.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Missouri History Museum says that former president Robert Archibald helped secure a $1 million donation during his six-month tenure as a consultant, but the arrangement has now ended, and it will not be renewed.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  In remembering that historic event, the first name that comes to mind to most people is Reverend Martin Luther King and his I Have a Dream Speech.  But few know that the person responsible for a large part of the organization of that march and also for motivating King to his non violent method of activism was another civil rights activist, Bayard Rustin.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Missouri History Museum will spend $100,000 on a search firm to find a replacement for Robert Archibald, with the new president expected to be in place by the end of the year.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: After one week as interim president of the Missouri History Museum, Bob Cox is far from knowing everything about the institution, but he thinks it can overcome the controversies of recent months and regain the public confidence it needs.

“The image of the institution has certainly been tarnished,” he acknowledged, referring to a barrage of news in recent months about a land deal on Delmar, compensation for departed President Robert Archibald, and a $1 million pledge – since rescinded – to the Loop Trolley project.

file photo

Bob Cox, a former senior vice president of St. Louis-based technology company Emerson, was hired last week to be the temporary leader of the Missouri History Museum.

The tax payer funded institution has been mired in controversy since the Museum overpaid for land, a sale which involved ex-Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr.  Bosley had recently stepped down from the Museum’s board of trustees.

Longtime Missouri History Museum President Bob Archibald resigned in December 2012.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

A former senior vice president of St. Louis-based technology company Emerson has been tapped as the temporary leader of the Missouri History Museum post.

Bob Cox will serve as a part-time consultant to the museum until December 31, though the contract can be terminated early if a full-time president is found before then. Cox will receive $85 an hour for his work, but is not eligible for health care or other benefits.

Credit (via Flickr/Reading Tom)

Critics of the Missouri History Museum have failed in an initial attempt to cut the amount of taxpayer money that goes to the institution.

The publicly-appointed board that oversees the five institutions in the Zoo-Museum District voted today to keep the museum's rate at about four cents per every $100 in property value, which generates about $10 million from the city and county combined. 

(via Wikimedia Commons)

The St. Louis Board of Alderman is weighing into the ongoing debate over alleged misuse of taxpayer funds at the Missouri History Museum.

The BOA hopes to use its bully pulpit as leverage to improve transparency at the museum.

Members of the History Museum’s Board of Trustees, as well as its subdistrict commissioners were brought in to testify before the Board of Aldermen on issues ranging from, questionable land purchases, to compensation for former museum president Bob Archibald, to its use of taxpayer funds.

Courtesy of Missouri History Museum

Every day it is a natural inclination for humans to have a question and seek an answer for it.

Some questions might come across as trivial and silly, and others may dig deeper into one’s life and purpose. And some may help to unify and unfurl decades of preconceived notions.

Art.1

Six years ago, the annual Africa World Documentary Film Festival debuted in St. Louis.

The festival is back at the Missouri History Museum and runs through Sunday, March 3rd.  The three-day event features documentaries from filmmakers all over the world that are focused on social culture, sexual identity, mental disabilities, and more.

After showing in St. Louis, the films will travel to nine other venues across three continents.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

An investigation of the Missouri History Museum released on Wednesday found no evidence of document shredding.

Former U.S. Attorney Edward Dowd, of the St. Louis law firm Dowd-Bennett, was contracted by the history museum to investigate claims that museum staff destroyed documents following a $566,000 payout to former Museum President Bob Archibald, for unused vacation.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

An appraisal released on Tuesday shows that the Missouri History Museum paid ex-Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. over three times market rate for property Bosley sold the museum in 2006.

The sale which was only recently discovered was the catalyst behind a series of events which led to the resignation of Museum President Bob Archibald.

Credit (via Flickr/Reading Tom)

Updated at 8:00 p.m. with statement from Missouri History Museum.

The prosecutor in the city of St. Louis will look into some of the governance and oversight issues plaguing the Missouri History Museum.

"Upon request, we have agreed to review concerns brought to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen in connection with the Missouri History Museum. At this point, it would be inappropriate to discuss this matter further," Jennifer Joyce said in an written statement. 

(via Wikimedia Commons)

While Robert Archibald is stepping down as president of the Missouri History Museum, he will be getting a financial payout of close to a million dollars.

The museum’s board of trustees accepted Archibald’s resignation on Friday.

Despite the circumstances of his departure, Archibald himself will still be receiving a payout of $566,000 for unused vacation, plus $270,000 for a six-month consult contract.  All told, $836,000, as he walks out the door.

Courtesy Mo. History Museum

Updated at 4:45 with comments from ZMD board member Gloria Wessels.

Updated with comments from Zoo-Museum District board member Jerome Glick, and to correct Archibald's tenure at the museum.

The president of the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park has resigned.

A spokesman for the museum confirmed that Robert Archibald submitted his resignation to the chair of the museum's Board of Trustees today. The spokesman, Everett Dietle, did not have any additional information. The board will meet Friday morning at the museum.

Credit (via Flickr/Reading Tom)

It appears as though a couple of members of one of the oversight boards for the Missouri History Museum are getting their wish. The Board of Aldermen appears poised to jump into the fray over the way the museum is being run.

trolley missouri history museum
Rachel Heidenry | 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - Robert Archibald has signed his new one-year contract as president of the Missouri History Museum with a salary of $375,000, a housing allowance of $33,000, the possibility of a raise and a bonus – and more than $566,000 for 410 vacation days he said he never used.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Several months of scrutiny into the management of the Missouri History Museum has resulted in little change.  The commissioners of the St. Louis Zoo-Museum District have voted not to accept an audit committee report calling for tougher governance of the museum.

A vote to accept an audit committee report resulted in a 4-4 tie, meaning the motion failed.

The museum has been at the center of a months-long controversy involving a cozy relationship between embattled Museum President Bob Archibald and his board of trustees.

ZMD Board Says History Museum Needs Complete Overhaul

Nov 8, 2012
Credit (via Flickr/Reading Tom)

The board charged with distributing taxpayer funds to the five members of the St. Louis Zoo-Museum District says the Missouri History Museum needs a complete restructuring.  The Zoo-Museum District was created to oversee public funding for the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis Science Center, the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Missouri History Museum.

The ZMD Audit Committee met Thursday and claim the reforms recommended for the History Museum by former Senator Jack Danforth do not go far enough.

(via Flickr/Reading Tom)

Updated 3:55 p.m. October 18

Sen. John Danforth has accepted his role as negotiator.

Courtesy of Auvelia Arnold

An exhibit now on display at the Missouri History Museum takes a look at the early history of the African American community in Kirkwood.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie Bierach spoke with Curator David Lobbig about the multimedia project that traces the first settlement before the Civil War to suburban development after World War II.

When you and your colleagues came up with the idea for “Kirkwood Roots,” what did you envision?

(The Midland Montly Magazine, 1865)

The Missouri History Museum is opening a new exhibit Saturday called “The Civil War in Missouri.”

There’s a lot of ground to cover in a state that was bitterly divided by the war and saw more than 1,200 battles and skirmishes.

But the museum, founded just one year after the Civil War ended, has a treasure trove of artifacts from the era that bring the conflict to life.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman got a sneak peak.

(provided by Carla Alexander)

On the corner of Garrison and Sheridan in St. Louis stands a vacant building that for decades housed a thriving African American business. Its owner is remembered as an entrepreneur and informal activist during the civil rights movement. But now, the building is crumbling.

The Pruitt-Igoe public housing project in St. Louis was once considered the template for post-war public housing, a national model.  For awhile it was—until it wasn’t.  The high rise complex was constructed in 1954.  Two decades later, and by then notorious, Pruitt-Igoe was a pile of rubble, imploded and bulldozed into history. What went wrong and why?  That’s the subject of a new documentary film called The Pruitt-Igoe Myth: an Urban History.   Directed by Chad Freidrichs, the film will have its St. Louis premiere this Saturday at the Missouri History Museum.

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