Located near the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum is also situated within St. Louis’ Forest Park. The museum showcases Missouri history, detailing the founding of the state up through present day today. Missouri Historical Society operates the museum.
Officially founded in 1866, the museum has been an integral part of St. Louis entertainment, sharing city and state history with all visitors and travelers in the region.
The main galleries of the museum are free through a public subsidy by the Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District, the same subsidy that makes all St. Louis museums free for attendees.
History of the Missouri History Museum
The museum can currently be found within the Jefferson Memorial Building, built in 1913. Created using profits from the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, the Missouri History Museum owes its permanence to the most historical event that ever took place in St. Louis: the 1904 World’s Fair. Attracting attendees from around the world, everyone was looking at St. Louis during the biggest fair in the U.S. at the time.
By 1988, the museum joined the Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District, and began receiving sales tax revenue. In 2000, the Emerson Center, a significant building addition to the museum, was officially completed, boosting attendance and exhibition capacity. This new center featured a ground-to-roof southern glass façade, which was designed by Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum. It included more exhibition space, as well as an auditorium, classrooms, a restaurant, and a gift shop for attendees.
The American Institute of Architect’s Committee on the Environment selected the Emerson Center as an example of architectural design that protects, as well as enhances, the environment that year. The museum is known as an example of a “green museum” today.
Exhibits at Missouri History Museum
The museum is most known for its signature collection that includes both national artifacts, as well as Missouri and St. Louis-related materials. Items from the Louisiana Purchase Exposition can be observed there, as well as items relating to Charles Lindbergh and his trans-Atlantic flight in the Spirit of St. Louis. An exact replica of the Spirit of St. Louis can also be found within the museum. A large number of artifacts recovered from Lewis and Clark’s expedition west are additionally showcased, considering they used St. Louis as a starting point for their famous adventure.
The museum, of course, has traveling exhibitions and collections that come and go. Recent traveling exhibits and events have included items related to the Fox Theatre’s restoration and renovation, the Road to Freedom Tour, which celebrated Americans with Disabilities, and, most notably, the Lewis and Clark National Bicentennial Exhibition.
Mission Statement of the Missouri History Museum
“The Missouri Historical Society serves as the confluence of historical perspectives and contemporary issues to inspire and engage our audiences.” The museum states that it is passionate about connecting to the communities of the greater St. Louis region in relevant and engaging ways, as well as facilitating discussions of social issues and those that encourage civic identity in our world today. The museum plays host to a variety of events, shows, and kid’s activities around the year that promote the joy of learning.
More St. Louis Related Pages
Busch Stadium – Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis – Fox Theatre – Gateway Arch –Lambert International Airport – Mississippi River – Missouri Botanical Garden – Peabody Opera House – Publicly Traded Companies in St. Louis – Soulard District – St. Louis Cardinals – St. Louis Zoo – Union Station