30, November 2015

What’s an Arch—And Why Does St. Louis Need One?

It was a job, a paycheck they told me. Welders were making about $2.81 an hour, a decent wage in the 1960s. The PDM workers in Warren, Pennsylvania, built the body of the Arch in sections, and then shipped it to St. Louis, not knowing exactly what the sections were for.

“Why does St. Louis need an arch?” a welder asked his supervisor.

“They don’t need one, but they’re putting it on their riverfront. They are known as the 'Gateway to the West.'”

The welder replied, “They’ve been there for 200 hundred years. Why do they need it now?” Read more »

24, November 2015

Hairy History: The 10 Best Beards (and Mustaches) in Our Collection

In honor of No-Shave November, we're diving into the Photographs & Prints Collection to feature some of Missouri's top facial-haired folks. From gentlemanly mustaches to flowing beards, Missourians have been major players in the facial hair game for quite a while. Click through the gallery below to see for yourself!

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23, November 2015

Following in James’s and Molly’s Footsteps, Ireland Style

From June 2011 to February 2015, the Missouri History Museum posted the letters of Civil War soldier James E. Love to his fiancée, Molly, on this site. As part of that project, I visited the three battlefields where James fought, and wrote about my experiences following in the footsteps of his war service. Earlier this year, the Museum published James’s letters as a book titled My Dear Molly: The Civil War Letters of Captain James Love. 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 »

9, November 2015

WWI Artifacts and Memories: Mother Goose in Wartime

One of the more unique World War I artifacts in the Missouri Historical Society's collections is a small booklet titled Mother Goose in Wartime. It contains original illustrations by the first female faculty member of the University of Missouri’s art department, Gladys M. Wheat, and University of Missouri art students.

In the booklet, author George F. Nardin, also of the University of Missouri, took well-known nursery rhymes and gave them a wartime twist. For example, the nursery rhyme "Rub-a-Dub-Dub" was changed to:

Rub-a-dub-dub Read more »