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3, June 2014

St. Louis and the Plan for a Midwestern Disneyland

It’s the eve of my family’s annual summer vacation, and this time it’s the big one. You know, that magical place in Orlando. I’ve spent weeks planning this trip to Disney World, poring over a seemingly endless fount of information: where to dine, where to stay, how to get from here to there, which apps I need, and which attractions to see. Read more »

19, January 2014

An Irish Perspective of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day to commemorate the life of the leader of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Far across the Atlantic Ocean, in Ireland, King’s speeches and the events of the Civil Rights Movement in America were broadcast throughout the country. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy goes far beyond the improvements he brought to the lives of African American people in the US; for example, his actions and his words were taken up by nationalist civil rights campaigners in Northern Ireland. Read more »

26, November 2013

Memories of Past Holiday Repasts

Fall is my favorite time of year. The changing leaves in St. Louis create a wondrous palette of reds, oranges, purples, and yellows that delights me. I get to dig out my soft sweaters and fuzzy mittens, and assemble my collection of scarves and hats. And though fall signals the end of the year—those pretty leaves have since fallen and cluttered the yard—I think the season saves the best for last. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas occur in a period of 8 weeks! Read more »

17, September 2013

Gillette Family Garden: Okuru, Gombo, or Just Plain Okra

As a Ph.D. student focusing on food history and representations of African Americans in public history, I jumped at the chance to work in the Gillette Family Garden at the Missouri History Museum. For the past month, I’ve been gardening, researching, and talking with visitors and staff about this project. My favorite plant in the garden is, without a doubt, okra. These plants—decked with handsome yellow flowers and plump green seed pods—have some serious roots. The name “okra” is a cognate to okuru in the Igbo language spoken in Nigeria. Read more »

16, September 2013

An Irish Immigrant in St. Louis

I moved to St. Louis from Dublin, Ireland, just six months ago. I am hardly the first Irish person to make that journey, a fact that quickly became apparent to me. From the “Kerry Patch” to Dogtown, St. Louis has had a strong Irish connection for centuries. In fact, St. Louis has been called “the chief Irish settlement in the United States.” Read more »

10, September 2013

Where Mark Twain and Jesse James Intersect

Last week my family and I visited Hannibal, Missouri, to check out the old stomping grounds of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain). We toured his house and the houses that were the models for those of Huck Finn and Becky Thatcher. After browsing in some quaint shops such as Aunt Polly’s Treasures, eating lunch at the Becky Thatcher Diner, and gazing at the Mississippi River, we headed a mile down the road to the Mark Twain Cave.

Left: Hannibal, Missouri.

Read more »

22, July 2013

Homeschool Days Enrich the Experience for a Museum Intern

As we settle into the heat of summer, children flock to parks, pools, and ice cream shops relishing in their few months of freedom. Yet as I see children enjoying their summer adventures I am reminded of another group of kids who do not follow quite the same academic schedule—homeschool students. These are also the students I had the opportunity and pleasure to work with over the past year as an intern at the Missouri History Museum.  Read more »

3, July 2013

A Meeting of the Past and Present in the Gillette Family Garden

In our post on May 21, we discussed the Missouri History Museum's Gillette Family Garden project. In the next couple of months, we'll be including updates from the people involved in tending and watering the garden.


As I work in the Gillette Family Garden, I find the scene idyllic. The smell of the dirt and vivid green of the plants reminds me of my rural roots. And I find even the notoriously hot St. Louis sun doesn’t bother me as it beats down because I’m so content. Read more »

1, July 2013

Research Uncovers a Personal Connection

On January 7, 2013, I began my internship at the Missouri History Museum Library and Research Center. My responsibilities included helping librarian Emily Jaycox with her research projects. Her current project revolved around the Work Projects Administration (WPA) in St. Louis. She had a list of people who worked for the project in the 1930s and wanted to find out more about who some of these people were and what they had contributed to the WPA. Emily showed me how to research in the city directories. Listed along with names were job titles and addresses. Read more »

26, February 2013

Dr. Julia Davis: She Dedicated Her Life to Teaching African American History

Nearly 40 years ago something unique happened in St. Louis. In 1974 a branch of the St. Louis Public Library was named for a living person, Dr. Julia Davis. A newly built branch of the library was rededicated to Davis on February 15, 1993. She was 101 years old at the time, and passed away just a few months later. I wanted to know more about this woman who had received such a special honor. Read more »