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18, February 2013

In Honor of President's Day

My family visited the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, Ilinois, yesterday. An interesting graphic reminded me that Missouri did not vote for Honest Abe in the 1860 election.

Left: Lincoln family statues at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. Photo by Lauren Mitchell. Read more »

11, February 2013

What Comes Around Goes Around: Flu Edition

Lately it seems that every person I come into contact with has just gotten over either the respiratory flu or the stomach virus. Every day at least one person calls in sick, or has to leave work to go pick up a sick child from school. But St. Louis is no stranger to widespread illness, especially the flu. Throughout the 19th century, cholera outbreaks resulted in hundreds of deaths nearly every year, mostly due to poor sanitation and a tainted water supply. In 1849, a cholera epidemic swept through the city, killing more than 7,000 residents, or about 10% of the total population. Read more »

21, January 2013

Dr. King's Short Visit Left Legacy at Museum Library

Like many other cities in the United States, St. Louis has monuments to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: a bridge, a major street, a school, a statue in Fountain Park. It also has historic connections to him, including at the Missouri History Museum's Library and Research Center on Skinker Boulevard, which was once home to the United Hebrew Congregation.

On November 27, 1960, the civil rights leader spoke at the United Hebrew temple. Years later, when Museum staff members were discussing the purchase of the building, Rabbi Jerome Grollman shared the story of his meeting with Dr. King. Read more »

7, August 2012

Meeting Lily Frost

Every so often, when doing historical research on an individual, it is hard not to feel as though you have truly made their acquaintance. I was fortunate enough to have experienced this sentiment while researching a number of women who had been banished from St. Louis during the Civil War. Civilians with Confederate sympathies were often forced to leave Union-occupied territory early in the war as a method of controlling dissention and securing Union strongholds. As the war progressed, women as well as men were banished from the city of St. Read more »

10, July 2012

History Can Be Cool

Last week when the thermostat hit 107 degrees in St. Louis, my family headed to the blissful coolness (60 degrees!) of the Meramec Caverns. It was my first time inside a cave, and I didn’t know what to expect. I grew up in Rhode Island; there was no spelunking in my childhood. But I’ve learned a bit about Missouri caves from working at the History Museum. I know that Anheuser-Busch and other breweries used caves downtown to chill their beer, and welcomed overheated St. Louisans to drink in the caves. Read more »

13, June 2012

Food Trucks, Old School

My husband's passion for the local food trucks that show up weekly at his place of work and on the second Friday of each summer month in Tower Grove Park made me wonder how long St. Louisans have been buying food out of the back or side of a vehicle. Through a quick search of our digitized photograph collection, it turns out the ritual has been going on for more than 100 years. Back in 1904 the Third Street Market consisted of a manic assortment of horse-drawn wagons and carts, all selling food. Read more »

4, May 2012

Experiencing Blindness at Dialog in the Dark

When I was little, I made it a habit to close my eyes and find my way through the dark whenever I had to get up in the middle of night. It was an exercise that I often did to make sure that I could navigate our house without my sight, in case there was ever a fire. I realize that this is a strange habit,

Photo at left courtesy of Premier Exhibitions. Read more »

4, May 2012


Curator Reflects as She Puts Her "Baby" to Bed

In my 20-plus years of working at the Missouri History Museum I have had the opportunity to work on many exhibits. While I have enjoyed the experiences each one brought, none gave me more pleasure than seeing the Lindbergh exhibit open in 2002. This exhibit celebrated the 75th anniversary of the famous aviator’s transatlantic flight from New York to Paris. I had been working on the exhibit for the better part of two years and felt like it was my baby. It was the first exhibit for which I had done the historical and artifact research, and it was a big step for me as a curator to see it come together. Read more »

21, March 2012

San Francisco, Mexico?

One of the most memorable days of a mother-daughter trip would not have happened if I hadn’t double checked one of those “boring facts and dates” that many people complain about when they think of studying history. Read more »

2, March 2012

Jethro Tull and Me, or… Six Degrees of Separation

I love having the opportunity to research individual artifacts in our collections. The January Mystery Tour gave me the chance to do just that with one of the lethal-looking objects suspended from the ceiling in the Currents gallery. The seed drill has a long row of curved “teeth” that hang down over visitors’ heads, a wooden box above the teeth, and a yoke. Read more »