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20, February 2017

Breaking News: President Kennedy's Assassination

Last October, I received a letter from retired newspaper reporter Ted Pollard. In it he offered to donate a document related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Although he lives in Ohio now, for about six months in 1963 Pollard worked on the business desk of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. Each day he watched the incoming tapes of the noontime quotes from the Dow Jones business-wire machine, which sat next to the main, broad-tape teletype device that carried major news stories from the Associated Press (AP). Read more »

8, February 2017

Mapping Decline: St. Louis and the Fate of the American City

America’s cities are sources of controversy. Some people see them as places where the American dream has gone to die; others celebrate them as places where the American dream is alive and thriving.

How did communities that were once the sites of such promise—especially St. Louis—become ground zero for seemingly every major ongoing political conflict? Mapping Decline, a new traveling exhibit created by the Missouri History Museum and the Missouri Humanities Council, provides some much-needed historical perspective on this very question. Read more »

26, January 2017

It's Neon Time!

Neon expert David Hutson has restored multiple signs along Route 66 in Missouri, including the Donut Drive-In and Sunset Motel signs. While making the feature-length documentary Show Me 66: Main Street Through Missouri, we spent some time with Hutson at Neon Time, his shop in St. Charles. There we discussed the role neon played on Route 66 and why neon has become such a big part of the road's cultural legacy. Read more »

23, January 2017

6 Writing Wonders—Or Not

In today's texting-obsessed world, some would argue that our collective handwriting skills are tanking and that penmanship is destined to become a lost art. Au contraire! Although past St. Louisans would surely be baffled by a QWERTY keyboard, we're betting they'd praise the efforts of educators learning how to teach children cursive in response to updated Missouri learning standards. Read more »

17, January 2017

A 10-Year-Old's Take

Recently my 5th-grade class took a field trip to the Missouri History Museum. We visited the exhibits TOYS of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s and Route 66: Main Street Through St. Louis. Read more »

3, January 2017

We Made History in 2016

There are record-breaking years, and then there are years like 2016 at the Missouri History Museum. We're still crunching the numbers on what will go down as one of the most successful years in our 150-year history, but here's what we can say for sure: Read more »

27, December 2016

A Kitchen Set Surprise

In 2009, Shelley Lebbing contacted me to see whether we would be interested in some items for donation. Included in her gift were four pieces of a toddler-sized pink kitchen, complete with a few cooking utensils and numerous grocery pieces. Here’s Shelley's account of receiving her Rite-Hite kitchen in the 1960s: Read more »

22, December 2016

The Spirit of St. Louis Holidays Past

The holidays are a time of reflection and tradition, and these pictures prove that many St. Louis holiday customs are still going strong: The Nutcracker still drifts dreamily across the stage at Powell Hall, cathedrals and department stores still pull out all the stops with their decorations, and children are in equal turns thrilled by and wary about jolly old St. Nick.

See how the holidays in St. Louis have changed—and stayed the same—by clicking through the images below.   Read more »

13, December 2016

What I Learned Thanks to Show Me 66

After a year of researching, conducting interviews, collecting archival footage, and taking nearly a dozen road trips, the Missouri History Museum released its first feature-length documentary, Show Me 66: Main Street Through Missouri. The film is a wide-angle look at the Missouri people, places, moments, and events that helped make Route 66 the most famous highway in the world—no small task when dealing with 90 years of history and 300 miles of road. Read more »

10, December 2016

Meet Saralee, a Doll for All Children

From my first walk through TOYS of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, a small baby doll—the only African American doll in the 1950s case—piqued my curiosity. I soon learned that without the support of some very influential people, it would never have been produced. Read more »