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City Museum

Kids from Circus Harmony and Escuela Nacional de Circo de Puerto Rico performed July 6 at the Ferguson Farmers Market.
Jessica Hentoff

St. Louis circus kids are doing handsprings this week over a reunion with friends from Puerto Rico.

Last summer, nine kids from St. Louis’ Circus Harmony visited Puerto Rico to practice and perform with the young jugglers and acrobats of Escuela Nacional de Circo de Puerto Rico.

A dozen Puerto Rican teenagers are in St. Louis this week, reconnecting with St. Louis friends while performing together at the Jewish Community Center, Ballpark Village and other venues.

Kylie McRobie, visiting from New York, makes her way through one of the repurposed airplanes that make up Monstrocity, City Museum’s expansive outdoor jungle gym, on Jan. 3.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

For more than 20 years, the City Museum in downtown St. Louis has provided a unique getaway. The museum is partly a playground, but it also contains numerous architectural marvels, many of which are the creation of Bob Cassilly, the founder of City Museum who died in 2011.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh talked with Rick Erwin, director of the City Museum, about the history of the institution and about its recent sale to Premier Parks, an Oklahoma-based theme-park company.

Visitors enjoy the Monstrocity outdoor playground at City Museum. The beloved museum has been purchased by Oklahoma-based Premier Parks. Jan. 3, 2019
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

City Museum in downtown St. Louis is under new ownership. Premier Parks, which owns several water and theme parks throughout the country, has announced a deal for the unique attraction.

Elizabeth Herring, who turned 90 on Oct. 26, practives for her trapeze show in this photo taken in October of 2016.
Provided | Elizabeth Herring

As a teenager, Elizabeth Herring of Ladue escaped a life luxury by joining the circus. Tonight, she’ll be back in the ring, celebrating her 90th birthday at a party benefiting St. Louis’ Circus Harmony.

Artist Davide Weaver examines an installation-in-progrress at his "Star Wars Toys" art exhibition at the City Museum.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

If the “The Force Awakens” has reignited your passion for “Star Wars,” you might be interested in an art exhibition at St. Louis’ City Museum.

Jamie Heuer

We here at “Cityscape” know—making the perfect paper snowflake can yield some serious headaches. No, really, we do. For a recent holiday party, we were each in charge of making paper snowflakes. Amid cries of exasperation like ‘Crud! I cut the wrong edge!’ and ‘It doesn’t look like anything,’ we thought to call for help.

The hipness of curating: One year with Museum Blue

Nov 16, 2015
Museum Blue Founders Lauren Cardenas and Michael Behle stand in the exhibit 'Water, Water'
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Last year four artists and educators decided to turn their shared studio space into an exhibition space for other artists. The project achieved unexpected results.

“The most important thing that I have learned is how remarkably diverse and surprising our audience is with every single show, with every single opening,” said photographer Gina Grafos.

Aine O'Connor

Bound in a straitjacket. Wrapped in 50 feet of chain. Tied in ropes.

Then, connected to a wooden yoke, sealed in a canvas bag and locked in a shipping crate.

All part of a day’s work for local “Doctor of Escapology,” Judas Lynch, whose current pirate-themed escape act will be on display at the City Museum’s first age-21+ event, “Falling Awake,” next Thursday night.

Max and Daisy Cassilly both work at the museum their parents created.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

When your childhood’s spent roller blading, building forts and doing your homework among the rubble that would become St. Louis’ iconic City Museum, where else are you going to work when you grow up?

Max and Daisy Cassilly were in their early elementary-school years when their parents, Bob and Gail, began transforming the dilapidated 11-story former International Shoe building on Washington Avenue in 1995. The family practically lived there for two years.

Encore: Mary Levi, builder of fun

May 30, 2013
Mary Levi, 2005
Copyright Michael DeFilippo

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 30, 2013: Late last week, the scene inside the City Museum’s Cabin Inn was similar the after-hours moments there on a lot of weekdays. With the public portion of the Museum’s day over, a small gang of workers sat at the bar. Not just any workers, but the members of the Cassilly Crew, the artisans who’ve built the place from scratch, done under a little bit of personal peril.

NASA/courtesy of

The City Museum is a popular tourist destination in St. Louis and its co-founder, Gail Cassilly, says founding it along with her late ex-husband was one of her life’s highlights though it was also a life that had “crushing sorrows.”  Host Don Marsh talks with sculptor and writer Gail Cassilly about her new memoir, Saltwater.  Then, Don talks with a couple of St. Louisans who are mounting a national effort to officially change the name of Columbus Day to Exploration Day.

Second Set: City Museum and music and magic

Aug 16, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 16, 2012 - In about a month’s time, on Sept. 26, it’ll be a year since the passing of Bob Cassilly, a fact laid upon me by a friend who has studio space in the City Museum. He’ll be moving out of the facility before that sad anniversary rolls around. And in a purely selfish way, it’ll be a shame to not know someone with access to the museum after-hours, when Cassilly’s playhouse could be enjoyed quietly and in a way unknown during normal business hours.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 27, 2011 - For children and their parents, the City Museum is a happy place, and they're flocking there in record numbers. But for many who work inside, a degree of sorrow hangs over the artistic playground of Bob Cassilly, who died suddenly three months ago.

"We're still trying to deal with everything; it's strange and sad," museum director Rick Erwin said in an interview. "It's just not easy to start back over."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 28, 2011 - Following the death of Bob Cassilly, one thing is certain: City Museum will re-open Wednesday as scheduled. What happens after that is not clear.

Cassilly was found dead Monday morning in a bulldozer at Cementland, the under-construction site of his ongoing project in north St. Louis. The museum is always closed on Monday and Tuesday, so Wednesday is the first day museum-goers will enter what is now a giant shrine to the late colorful artist.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 27, 2011 - Bob Cassilly, creator of City Museum, was found dead Monday while working at Cementland, his newest project.

No one could deny that Bob Cassilly was a man who could see the possibilities in a situation that escaped everyone else.

City Museum founder Cassilly dies at Cementland site

Sep 26, 2011
(via Flickr/ bill.streeter)

Will be updated. (Details of updates at bottom of post)

Updated 1:03 p.m. with links to panoramas of Cementland site. Updated at 1:14 p.m with links to public artwork archive and 1:30 p.m with link to radio show archive. Updated 2:06p.m. with statement from Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis. 2:54 p.m. with vigil information.

Bob Cassilly, the founder of  St. Louis landmark City Museum, has died at the age of 61.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 26, 2011 - Bob Cassilly, who turned a collection of unusual artifacts into City Museum, a top tourist attraction in downtown St. Louis, was found dead Monday morning at a former cement plant that was being turned into his next project, Cementland.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 19, 2011 - I want to go there. And there. And there. And there, too.

That's my first reaction after reading "Sidetracked in the Midwest, A Green Guide for Travelers," by Mary Bergin.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 9, 2009 - There's a science to working a Ferris wheel, especially when it's on the 11th story of a building.

"I have to balance little kids with (adults)," said Michael Kraichely, who operates the Ferris wheel located 11-stories high, on the City Museum's rooftop.