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27, December 2016

A Kitchen Set Surprise

In 2009, Shelley Lebbing contacted me to see whether we would be interested in some items for donation. Included in her gift were four pieces of a toddler-sized pink kitchen, complete with a few cooking utensils and numerous grocery pieces. Here’s Shelley's account of receiving her Rite-Hite kitchen in the 1960s: Read more »

10, December 2016

Meet Saralee, a Doll for All Children

From my first walk through TOYS of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, a small baby doll—the only African American doll in the 1950s case—piqued my curiosity. I soon learned that without the support of some very influential people, it would never have been produced. Read more »

4, November 2016

About That 1926 Willys

The day began like so many others for Mr. and Mrs. Willys. They were out on a drive through the rolling countryside when they came across a man standing in the middle of the road, motioning for them to stop. When they did, the man told them he needed to detain them for just a few minutes while a tow truck backed into the lot ahead. It was preparing to move an old vehicle buried beneath the brush in the field. Read more »

23, September 2016

Safe Travels for the LGBTQ Community on Route 66

The heyday of travel in the United States kicked off following World War II. After wartime stresses, Americans were ready to have fun exploring their country and its many sights, particularly the westward sights along Route 66. But not every American could just jump in the car and embark on an adventure. Like their African American counterparts, gay and lesbian travelers in the 1960s had to plan their journeys wisely, ensuring they could find safe places to lay their heads at night and places where they could grab a drink or a bite to eat without fear of judgment, abuse, or arrest. Read more »

22, September 2016

Navigating Race: Route 66 and the Green Book

The words welcoming and friendly are often used when describing Route 66, but for African American travelers, cruising Route 66 could be an ordeal. They were regularly turned down when requesting a place to sleep, eat, fix their cars, or answer nature’s call. Families heading out on Route 66 would pack food, toilet paper, jugs of water, and car-repair tools, because chances were good they’d find themselves on their own even in the middle of a town. Read more »

12, September 2016

How Charles Clement Holt Captured STL

Following is an excerpt from our newest book, Capturing the City: Photographs from the Streets of St. Louis, 1900–1930, written by Joseph Heathcott and Angela Dietz. You can pick up a copy online or in the Museum Shop. You can also view a selection of these images in the accompanying exhibit in the Museum's Atrium.
9, September 2016

Welcome Back, Motel St. Louis!

The Motel St. Louis—or at least its sign—is back home. Fifty years after being removed from its location on Route 66 near Lambert Airport, the motel sign has returned to St. Louis for the exhibit Route 66: Main Street Through St. Louis, open through July 16, 2017. Read more »

2, February 2016

Spies, Traitors, Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America

Today, it seems like we can’t go to any of our favorite news sites without seeing at least one story about terrorism and sabotage. The threat of terrorism is a part of every news cycle, a part of the conversations that Americans from New York to Los Angeles are having with their family and friends. All this talk of terrorism and internal threats makes it seem like we’ve entered a new era in American history. In some ways this isn’t wrong. The word "terrorism" is fairly new; it wasn’t used widely until the 1970s although it was originally coined during the French Revolution in the 1790s. Read more »

12, January 2016

Where Did You Go To High School?

This question is a common one in St. Louis, where an alma mater is a high school, not a college, and where using high school as an identifier is an often accepted ritual. But can the answer to that question really sum up all of the experiences of high school? Read more »