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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 »

16, November 2015

St. Louis's French Connection and Coffee

 

Most coffee historians are amazed to find out that coffee played such a big part in St. Louis’s history. Because the city is in “flyover country,” without easy access to a coastal shipping port, many people don’t realize that, historically, St. Louis was at the center of a major trade route. Many factors came into play to create something of a “perfect storm” for the coffee industry to boom in St. Louis. Read more »

12, November 2015

Do You Still Have the Buffalo Head? and Other Burning Questions

As though they are inquiring about an old acquaintance, visitors to the Missouri History Museum occasionally ask about a particular artifact. Some objects, such as Charles Lindbergh’s trophies, Veiled Prophet Court gowns, and World War I weapons, have been gone from view for some time. But I’ve managed to locate some requested items in the Currents and Reflections galleries, and I’ve marveled at the reactions that followed. Read more »

15, October 2015

A Most-Happy Surprise: Coffee Exhibit Delights Future Groom

A few weeks before the premiere of Coffee: The World in Your Cup & St. Louis in Your Cup, a visitor asked me a question about offerings in the Museum Shop. She was planning her son’s wedding rehearsal dinner at Bixby’s (the Museum’s restaurant), and because he is so fond of coffee she had chosen to use it as a theme. Boy, was she shocked to learn about the Coffee exhibit right here in the Museum! We chatted about her ideas for table favors and decorations, and I said to her, “Before you go to the gift shop, I’d like to show you something.” Read more »

22, September 2015

Gallery Glimpse: The Art of Coffee

What has approximately 260,000 coffee beans and requires the help of more than 40 MHM staff and volunteers? It's a five-panel mosaic composed of six shades of coffee beans, each one glued by hand onto the panels. When complete, the five panels will be hung together to form an 8 by 20 foot view of the St. Louis skyline, which will be on display in Coffee: The World in Your Cup & St. Louis in Your Cup, opening October 3. Read more »

11, September 2015

Something's Brewing: Coffee Exhibit Opens October 3

By the end of the year, the Missouri History Museum will have opened an astonishing six exhibits, including a permanent children’s exhibit (History Clubhouse) and the popular A Walk in 1875 St. Louis. On October 3, we’ll open our final exhibit for 2015: Coffee: The World in Your Cup & St. Louis in Your Cup. Read more »

12, August 2015

Making Connections

“Could you help me find Third Street and Morgan?” I had barely begun leading a tour through A Walk in 1875 St. Louis when a woman asked me this question. While preparing for this tour I had pored over each enlarged panel of Compton and Dry’s Pictorial St. Louis; studied landmarks, churches, homes of famous St. Louisans; and taken reams of notes. I couldn’t recall a historic building on that particular corner. Read more »

17, July 2015

1875 St. Louis: The Russell Coal Mines

As many visitors of the Missouri History Museum’s current exhibit A Walk in 1875 St. Louis can attest, it can be quite the shock to glance across St. Louis of 140 years ago, especially if your neighborhood didn’t exist yet. For those who call Tower Grove South home, it can be even more of a shock knowing that in 1875 the neighborhood was being used as a coal mine! The resources hidden just beneath the area’s surface were quite valuable, and one family was busy adding their own tunnels, holes, and carvings to a landscape that already had quite a few natural ones. Read more »

14, July 2015

The Liberator and the Survivor

Volunteer docents at the Missouri History Museum are sometimes asked to accompany a tour that will be led by a curator. We greet the curator and guests and then respectfully move to the rear of the group as the tour begins. Most of the interaction occurs between the curator and the guests, but sometimes the docents are asked questions as well. The most frequently asked question on such evenings is, “Where is the restroom?” That always keeps us humble. Read more »