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20, July 2016

St. Louis's Compliments to Sherman

If you’ve ever attended a formal dinner in a grand location for the express purpose of paying homage to the featured guest, you’ve attended the modern equivalent of a mid-19th-century complimentary dinner—but probably with fewer speeches to sit through. Read more »

15, July 2016

Who Knew? Going Beyond the St. Louis Question

History, tradition, and memories. That’s why we love our high schools here in St. Louis. Like it or not, “the question” has helped us make connections for generations. Plus, at cocktail parties it’s a great conversation alternative to politics. Nothing wrong with that! Read more »

14, July 2016

Harriet Hosmer: Nudity Pioneer

If you know the name Harriet Hosmer, you likely know of her work as a sculptor and have seen her pieces on display in museums throughout the world. But even though Hosmer is remembered today as a trailblazer and a monumentally talented artist, her road to fame was a difficult one. Born in Massachusetts in 1830, Hosmer demonstrated a unique artistic ability early on but was met with barriers to her professional and artistic development—and even the freedom to do what she loved. Read more »

12, July 2016

The Evolution of Mourning

When we attend funerals today, most of us pay our respects at funeral homes. In the 1860s, though, funerals took place in the homes of those mourning their loved ones and were rather intimate affairs. For example, the coffin was often made by someone close to the deceased or a local carpenter, and the body was prepared in the home by family or close friends. The funeral service itself took place in the home. Afterward, friends would carry the coffin to the cemetery, using a hearse only if the distance from the home to the cemetery was too great. Read more »

7, July 2016

Coco Chanel and the Nazis

From fashionistas to those who commit fashion faux pas, nearly everyone who has donned a little black dress owes homage to Coco Chanel. Her ingenuity graced the fashion world with taste, ease, and utter chicness as she revolutionized the way women wore black. Although she’s remembered and admired as a heroic icon in 20th century fashion history, Chanel may in fact have a scandalous past as dark as her beloved little black dresses. Read more »

5, July 2016

Eye on Exhibits: I Hated It

“I hated that exhibit. It gave such an ugly view of our city. I hate for people from out of town to see it.”

“We didn’t really care for that one. It was just a lot of stuff on the walls to read.” Read more »

1, July 2016

Looking Back: Float Designs for the 1929 VP Parade

The Veiled Prophet (VP) parade has been an iconic St. Louis event for over 130 years. Inspired by the Mardis Gras festivities in New Orleans, the Veiled Prophet Organization (a group of St. Louis businessmen) launched the parade and related pageantry to boost interest in the city's week-long harvest festival. The first VP parade took place in October 1878 and featured floats purchased from New Orleans Mardis Gras organizers. In later years, artists designed floats specifically for the St. Louis parade. Read more »

29, June 2016

Flipping the Switch on the Chase Hotel Sign

The past hundred years have been exciting ones for St. Louis, and the landmark Chase Hotel has been there for almost every one of them. The 9-story, 500-room Chase was built in 1922 by St. Louis businessman Chase Ulman at the corner of Lindell and Kingshighway, right along Route 66 (although the alignment of the Mother Road changed over time). Seven years later, Sam Koplar built the majestic 28-story Park Plaza Hotel next to the Chase, and the two hotels merged in 1947. Read more »

27, June 2016

Happy Birthday, History Clubhouse!

Today marks exactly one year since we opened our History Clubhouse, a nearly 6,000-square-foot space designed for children and families to explore and play. We built this space with the goal of bringing St. Louis history to local families in a much deeper way than we have in the past. Opening this space was a big deal—it was something we’d never done before, and something few history museums have done on such a big scale. Read more »

24, June 2016

PrideFest's Wreath-Laying Origins

After retiring from the U.S. Air Force in 2007, I immediately got more involved with my local LGBT community in St. Louis, Missouri. I knew PrideFest happened each year, and I thought it would be a nice idea to get a group of LGBT veterans together and walk in the Pride Parade to celebrate our military service and LGBT identity, a testament to the fact that our nation’s miliary branches are made up of not only straight persons but gay persons as well. Read more »