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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 »

20, June 2016

Shades of Summer

Sunglasses are synonymous with summer, and we happen to have several pairs in our collections. Here's a glimpse of five pairs that show how the frames and glass tinting have evolved over time.

1. Globe-trotters

These green shades made the journey with Charles Lindbergh on his historic 1927 flight from New York to Paris. Whether he wore them or not is up in the air. The information accompanying the sunglasses says Lindbergh "reportedly put them on but realized they were a danger because they'd make it too easy to fall asleep." Read more »

17, June 2016

Pierre Laclède: Father Figure

Ask St. Louisans the question "Who's the father of St. Louis?" and most can tell you the answer in a heartbeat: Pierre Laclède. But what many may not realize is that the famed French fur trader had children and a family of his own . . . though his family structure was a bit unorthodox for the time. Read more »

14, June 2016

4 Boss Suffragettes of Missouri History

Welcome to the Suffragette Edition of our look at the boss women of Missouri history. We’re recognizing these four women today in honor of the centennial of the Golden Lane, when nearly 2,000 suffragettes donned yellow sashes, busted out their yellow parasols, and lined St. Louis's Locust Street for miles. This visible call for women’s voting rights occurred during the 1916 Democratic Convention. Read more »