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9, December 2011

Memories of the Opening of the Library and Research Center

December 2011 marks the twentieth anniversary of the opening of the Missouri History Museum Library and Research Center (LRC). Prior to that time, all of the Museum’s artifacts were housed in the Jefferson Memorial Building.[...]

Photo at left: Decked in bunting and afloat with balloons, the Missouri Historical Society's Library and Research Center welcomes MHM members for a reception and tour on December 15, 1991. Read more »

2, December 2011

Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Transporting Mammoths and Mastodons to St. Louis

The movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles was released almost exactly twenty-four years ago in 1987, which documents the struggles that Neal Page and Del Griffith face as they try to go home to Chicago for Thanksgiving. As weather, flight cancellations, and other disasters occur, the two are forced to adapt their original travel plans and work together in order to get home. Read more »

27, October 2011

Woven into My Life

Working on the Woven in Time exhibit has been a new experience for me! As Curator of Domestic Life at the Missouri History Museum, I frequently handle household artifacts. For this collaboration with the Weavers’ Guild of St. Louis, which is celebrating its 85th anniversary, I’ve had the opportunity to also work with textiles and clothing.

One highlight of installing the Woven in Time exhibit was getting to meet Connie Curtiss Hilgert. Read more »

28, September 2011

Moved by Film Preservation

I received an internship in the Missouri History Museum's Moving Image and Sound Collections rather unexpectedly—though happily—after spending the last 14 years working in the field of film preservation and archiving. It is a unique profession, one that has offered varying degrees of training and experience while working in rooms without windows and in basements and cold storage vaults. Read more »

19, August 2011

In Search of the Great Mastodon...Tooth

This November, the Missouri History Museum will host Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age, which comes to us from the Field Museum in Chicago. Ever since I joined the staff of MHM in 1997, I had heard stories of a mastodon tooth in our collections, but had not come across anyone who had actually seen it, or had reason or time to search for it. Curator Sharon Smith and I decided to track it down. Sharon first checked our database for a storage location. Read more »

17, June 2011

Sketches of War

As a conservation lab technician I have the privilege of working with objects from the Missouri History Museum’s collections, and each new day comes with another historically significant object. One of my responsibilities is assessing the condition of artifacts that are tentatively included in the Museum’s upcoming exhibit, The Civil War in Missouri (opening November 11, 2011). While examining several of these objects, I noticed that many of the pencil drawings were all signed by the same artist: Alex Simplot. Read more »

9, June 2011

How an American Was Kidnapped by Chinese Bandits in 1925

“Held Prisoner by Chinese Bandits for Ten Weeks” ran the headline in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Sunday Magazine on January 24, 1926. “Dr. Harvey James Howard, Department Head at Peking Union Medical College in Peking, China tells the colorful story of his adventures while a prisoner of Chinese bandits.” His story may have been colorful, but it was also harrowing. Dr. Howard was never sure he would survive his adventures with the Hung Hutze in the summer of 1925. Read more »

2, June 2011

The Heavy on Mortar Shells

Museum professionals have to be creative in responding to the different types of challenges that arise in the workplace. For example, how do you move a museum artifact that weighs more than 200 pounds? The artifact in question is a mortar shell that will be included in the Missouri History Museum’s upcoming exhibit The Civil War in Missouri (opening November 11, 2011). During the Civil War, this type of shell could be launched more than two miles using a Model 1861 13-inch Siege and Seacoast mortar. These mortars could be used on either land or water. Read more »

1, June 2011

Diary of Adam Burns Smith

Adam Burns Smith enlisted with Co. B of the 33rd Missouri Infantry Volunteers (Union) in Jefferson City on August 14, 1862. The next year Smith found himself in the midst of Gen. U. S. Grant’s protracted campaign to capture Vicksburg. Like many soldiers, Smith kept a journal to record the daily events of his life. His lengthy, and often detailed, entries described operations along the Tallahatchie River in Mississippi and around Helena, Arkansas, including skirmishes with rebel forces at Fort Pemberton near Greenwood, Mississippi, and gunboat maneuvers. Read more »

10, May 2011

Census Research Takes Root

I have always loved the census. So much of history is made up of military conquests, political maneuvers, grand inventions, and tragic disasters. But what about all the people who simply had to deal with the consequences of those events? Unlike their more prominent counterparts, most people in the past left us no written record, no diaries, no letters, no manuscripts detailing every glorious achievement in their lives. Those are the people who interest me, and the census gives me a way to find out who they were. Read more »