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Missouri History Museum

Prohibition Era St. Louis, From Dance To Drink

May 8, 2014
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.

Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

A report sharply criticizing St. Louis’ Zoo-Museum District (ZMD) was adopted by the parks committee of the city’s board of aldermen Thursday.

Alderman Joe Roddy, parks committee chair, released a draft of the report this week following a year of investigation.

photo of frances levine
From video by Nancy Fowler

A solid round of applause welcomed Frances Levine as she entered the meeting that finalized her presidency of the Missouri History Museum on Tuesday. Shortly afterward, she also received kudos from her home in Santa Fe, where she’s been director of the New Mexico History Museum for more than 10 years.

Missouri History Museum's History

Jan 21, 2014
the jefferson statue in the Missouri History Museum
Chris Yunker | Creative Commons

1866 -Missouri Historical Society created. The private organization was started to save “from oblivion the early history of the city and the state.

1913 - Jefferson Memorial Building dedicated. It was built at the site of the main entrance to the 1904 World’s Fair with proceeds from that event.

1988 - Missouri History Museum joins the tax-supported Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District (1987 election). It retains its own board for day-to-day operations and a subdistrict board is added to oversee tax money.

photo of
Blair Clark | Museum of New Mexico

The Missouri History Museum has named Frances Levine, director of the New Mexico History Museum, as as its new president and CEO.

Levine, 63, will become not only the first woman to lead the museum but the first woman to head any institution of the St. Louis Zoo-Museum District. Her contract was approved this morning in a meeting of the museum's board of trustees and members of the ZMD museum subdistrict.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Update 1:05 p.m.

The Missouri History Museum has chosen a finalist to become its president. In a meeting this morning, the board of trustees and commissioners of the Zoo-Museum subdistrict approved a candidate recommended by a committee. The finalist's name has not been released.

The next step is contract negotiations. The talks will take place among the candidate, board chair John Roberts and commission chair Romondous Stover.

Our previous story:

Wikipedia

A report released this afternoon by St. Louis city prosecutor Jennifer Joyce has cleared the Missouri History Museum of all allegations of criminal activity. But the report also scolded the museum for questionable behaviors.

photo of John Roberts
Provided by Missouri History Museum

The Missouri History Museum could name a new president early next month after narrowing the field of Bob Archibald's possible successors to two candidates.

In a Monday meeting of the board of trustees, board chairman John Roberts announced that the museum plans to bring each candidate to St. Louis just after the new year. The week of Jan. 6 is under consideration if the prospects are available. No further information about the candidates was revealed.

(Kate Essig/St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis turns 250 in 2014, and to celebrate, stl250 has planned an entire year of birthday celebrations. On Monday, the volunteer led non-profit announced the final plans for its signature events. 

The birthday celebration begins on New Years Eve at Grand Center's First Night, where attendees can celebrate by making birthday hats, recording birthday wishes and decorating cupcakes.

(Via Flikr/Derringsdo)

Commissioners of the Zoo-Museum District, on September 30, voted to raise the property tax rate that funds five St. Louis cultural institutions to the highest level permitted by state law.  Those institutions are the St. Louis Zoo, the Missouri Botanical Garden, Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Science Center and 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.

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