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22, May 2012

Fire! Friend and Foe Now Open

Be it a simple spark or a roaring inferno, fire elicits both fear and fascination. Fire warms us, but it can just as easily destroy us. Flames can engulf a city, leaving death and destruction. By harnessing fire, workers forge sturdy steel and artists create delicate glass objects of great beauty. Campfires and candlelit services create a sense of community and camaraderie. Using artifacts from its extensive collection and local collectors, the Missouri History Museum examines the mystifying duality of fire in a family-friendly new exhibition, Fire! Friend and Foe. Read more »

18, May 2012

About Hunger in the 1930s

The powerful exhibit About Hunger & Resilience will be closing on May 28. When I learned about this exhibit I immediately thought of a book we published in 2007, The Boyhood Memoirs of A. E. Hotchner: King of the Hill and Looking for Miracles. Hotchner recounts his childhood in St. Louis during the Depression, when jobs and food were scarce.

Left: Author A. E. Hotchner, who lived with hunger during the Depression. Read more »

12, April 2012

Whodunit? A Mystery of Mammoth Proportions

What exactly killed off mammoths and mastodons nearly 13,000 years ago? That is the question that scientists have been trying to answer for years. Even in our current exhibition, Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age, a media piece poses the question with no definitive answers. It does, however, postulate that mammoths’ and mastodons’ extinction stemmed from at least one of four possibilities: a devastating meteorite impact, disease, overhunting, or climate change. Read more »

5, April 2012

Mammoths, Mastodons, and Mankind

As hosting curator of the Missouri History Museum’s presentation of Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age, I’ve mostly played the role of awestruck student. This exhibit was first presented at its originating institution, Chicago’s Field Museum, and is a rare glimpse at the preserved remains of some of the largest mammals ever to walk the earth.

Image at left: C. W. Beehler at the Kimmswick bone bed, surrounded by mastodon remains, ca. 1901. Missouri History Museum. Read more »

23, March 2012

Hunger Isn’t a Game

I don’t know much about the book or movie The Hunger Games, but it’s all I’ve been hearing about for the past few days. It takes place in a dystopian future where food is hard to come by. Read more »

13, March 2012

I'm Going to Need an Extension on That

The continued preservation of cultural artifacts for future generations is a crucial responsibility for institutions such as the Missouri History Museum. There are a variety of methods to preserve different types of artifacts, and sometimes the best way could mean adding something to the original piece. These additions, or stabilizations, can be incredibly small, like when a textile conservator uses only a few stitches to mend a tear in a historical garment. But stabilizations can also be incredibly big, as when preserving a painting in its original frame. Read more »

9, March 2012

About Hunger, About Resilience, About America

About Hunger & Resilience is an exhibit that shows the faces and shares the voices of American poverty. Moving beyond statistics and political rhetoric, photographer Michael Nye has shot portraits and recorded stories of the “other America.” In these images and audio stories visitors will find pictures of pain and struggle but also glimpses of hope and grit. The exhibit runs at the Missouri History Museum from March 10 to May 28, 2012.

Included below are photos and excerpts of stories from some of the people visitors will meet through this exhibit. Read more »

17, January 2012

The Art of Kirkwood Roots

As an expression of regional history, Kirkwood Roots is different. Through February 26, 2012, the Missouri History Museum presents this installation of images, objects, and interviews exploring the history and culture of the African American community in Kirkwood, Missouri. The strong social ties and values of these people, exhibited here as they were from a period prior to the Civil War until shortly after World War II, were formed in a largely rural environment, among fields, woods, and streams. A priority for the Kirkwood Roots project was to represent this community’s way of life in an evocative manner worthy of the value and relevance that it holds for us all. Read more »

30, December 2011

Growing Kirkwood Roots

From over two years of research and preparation, a small but important exhibit was developed at the Missouri History Museum. Kirkwood Roots is an artful installation of interviews, photos, and evocative objects exploring the historic African American community in Kirkwood, Missouri, a small municipality located about 14 miles west of downtown St. Louis. It’s an intimate portrait of this place, from the first settlement before the Civil War to the period of intensive suburban development following World War II. Read more »

10, November 2011

Kirkwood Roots: African Americans Share Stories of a Community

Recently the Missouri History Museum opened a multimedia installation, Kirkwood Roots, that explores the historic African American community in Kirkwood, Missouri. From the first settlement before the Civil War to the period of intensive suburban development following World War II, African Americans lived in a cohesive community composed of 11 separate and identifiable neighborhoods in an area that is part of today’s Kirkwood. A major component of the exhibit is made up of interviews in which people share their memories about Kirkwood. Read more »