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10, June 2010

Discovering St. Louis—Rites of Culture

Throughout the year the Missouri History Museum offers Discovery Tours, a series of themed and customized tours of sites in and around St. Louis and Missouri. These programs can be half-day or full-day experiences and are a great way to immerse yourself in our region's rich history. The next Discovery Tour is "Rites of Culture: A World of Catholicism," on Saturday, July 10. Inspired by the current Vatican Splendorsexhibit, the program will focus on the Catholic religion in St. Read more »

8, June 2010

A Brief History of…Beer in St. Louis

St. Louis has been in the brewing business for 200 years. Neighborhood breweries sprung up across the city throughout the 19th century. Before refrigeration, ice from the Mississippi River was placed in the caves to provide the constant cool temperatures needed to brew and store beer. Since beer was most often distributed by horse-drawn wagons, the early breweries tended to serve a neighborhood clientele via the local saloons and taverns.

In 1848, St. Louis city directories named 16 breweries throughout the city. Two years later there were 24 breweries. Read more »

7, June 2010

Zoo Conversations—Looking to the Future

The Missouri History Museum will host the final installment of the Zoo Conversations series this Thursday. The free event will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Museum’s Lee Auditorium. Dr. Robert Archibald, president of the Missouri History Museum, will sit down with Dr. Jeffrey Bonner, Dana Brown President and CEO of the Saint Louis Zoo, to ask him about the future of the Saint Louis Zoo and zoos in general. Dr. Bonner became president of the Saint Louis Zoo in 2002 and has been instrumental in focusing the Zoo’s conservation efforts around the globe. Read more »

4, June 2010

A. E. Hotchner Recounts Friendship with Paul Newman

St. Louis native and Missouri History Museum author A. E. Hotchner (The Boyhood Memoirs of A. E. Hotchner: King of the Hill and Looking for Miracles) is receiving wonderful reviews for his latest book, Paul and Me: 53 Years of Adventures and Misadventures with My Pal Paul Newman. 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 »

21, May 2010

St. Louis Vying to Host 2012 Democratic Convention

Today, May 21, is the deadline for St. Louis’s bid to host the Democratic National Convention in 2012. Success would mean an estimated $266 million for the city, as 50,000 visitors would converge here during the week of September 3, 2012.

St. Louis has hosted national party conventions five times. The 1876 Democratic Convention in St. Louis was the first west of the Mississippi. Samuel Tilden picked up the nomination, which was celebrated by fireworks from the top of the Old Courthouse. The Democrats came back in 1888 to nominate incumbent Grover Cleveland. In 1896, St. Read more »

17, May 2010

Silver goblet presented to Mr. Hamilton of the G. W. Graham by Mary P. Maguire, 1864


The launchings of James B. Eads’s gunboats at the Carondelet shipyard became something of a popular event during the Civil War and were advertised in the local papers. As the twin-turreted Chickasaw prepared to launch on the morning of February 10, 1862, a crowd estimated at 150 to 200 gathered to witness the occasion. Read more »

11, May 2010

All Eyes on Shanghai

On May 1, Shanghai Expo 2010 opened its doors, and it is expected to host 70 million visitors before closing on October 31. Approximately 200 countries are participating in the Expo, which, with the theme “Better City, Better Life,” is focused on environmentalism.

In addition to forward thinking about our planet, the Expo harkens back to fairs of yore with an exhibit that showcases artifacts from several world’s fairs, including the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. Read more »

10, May 2010

Lena Horne, 1917–2010

Lena Horne, the first African American performer to win a long-term contract from a major Hollywood studio, died on May 9, 2010, at the age of 92. She is best known for the movie Stormy Weather, which also featured dancer and East St. Louisan Katherine Dunham. Musician Cab Calloway was also a big influence on Horne’s success, having appeared in films and musical revues with her. Calloway was the godfather of MHM author Gail Milissa Grant, and when Horne visited St. Read more »