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30, June 2010

Who Needs Sunscreen When You Have Flannel Bloomers?

As I was prepping my kids for a trip to the pool last week, I silently paid homage to the newish invention the swim shirt. Because my sons can (and thankfully will) wear a shirt into the water, I don’t have to spend 20 minutes slathering their torsos with sunscreen or worrying that they’ll still somehow get burned in that one spot that I missed.

It made me think of some bathing suits that we have in the collections of the History Museum. When you go back to the 1800s, you notice that women’s suits left everything to the imagination. Read more »

23, June 2010

Pass the History, Please

Handed down from grandmother to daughter to granddaughter, our china cabinet at home contains odds and ends from different generations of Rebacheks and Kochs. Among these oddities is a set of salt and pepper shakers, small black china kittens with bows and sparkles, probably made in the 1950s. Read more »

26, May 2010

The Facebook of the 1860s

I was recently researching cartes de visite, because there are so many in the History Museum’s collections. I learned that people in the 1860s voraciously collected and traded these photographs (descendants of the calling card) and displayed them in albums in their parlors. The trend began in the 1850s and lasted into the 1920s, becoming very popular during the Civil War. Read more »

29, April 2010

After the Final Curtain

How do you safely store a fragile, 60-year-old historic backdrop that measures 22 feet high by 39 feet long? That was the challenge for the staff at the Missouri History Museum when they prepared to take down the Katherine Dunham: Beyond the Dance exhibit that closed its run in March. The backdrop, made of canvas, netting, and appliquéd materials, is from Dunham’s show Rites de Passage and depicts a jungle scene. Prior to MHM receiving the backdrop in 1991, it had been stored, tightly folded, in a wicker basket for many years. Read more »

20, April 2010

Of Canaries and Coal Mines

Almost 165 years ago, my great-great-great-grandfather's home was located precisely where the Flight Cage (aviary) in the Saint Louis Zoo is today. Read more »

9, April 2010

Feel Inspired?

As an intern in the Exhibitions and Research department, one of the many tasks I enjoy is collecting, reading, and cataloging visitors' comments within the exhibits. The Katherine Dunham: Beyond the Dance exhibit opened on November 2, 2008, and throughout its run at the Missouri History Museum I read the responses found in the Living Memory section of the exhibit. I was surprised at the variety of ways visitors found to express themselves in response to the prompt: "Feel inspired? Read more »

18, March 2010

Census and Sensibility

This week many of us received the 2010 federal census form in the mail. While I was happy that it took only a few minutes to complete the form, as a genealogist I was disappointed that it asked so few questions. Future genealogists will surely find the 2010 census disappointing compared to some earlier enumerations.

In the early years, beginning with the first federal census in 1790, enumerators recorded the head of each household by name. Read more »

9, February 2010

“Hey, Don’t I Know You from Somewhere?”

Story by Barnes M. Bradshaw

Community Education and Events, Missouri History Museum

It seems no matter where we are in St. Louis City or County there is a good chance that we will run into somebody we know. Read more »

15, November 2009

Musings--Conversations That Matter

Who defines the meanings of objects?

Every museum visitor is a storyteller with authority. Every evocative object on exhibit is a mnemonic device. Read more »