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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 »

10, May 2010

Unveiling the Vatican's Splendors

On May 6, members of the St. Louis media were given a sneak peek at three artifacts from the upcoming exhibition, Vatican Splendors: A Journey through Faith and Art, which opens on Saturday, May 15, at the Missouri History Museum.

Following a brief overview of the exhibit by Dr. Robert R. Archibald, president of the Missouri History Museum, Vatican curator Robert Zagnoli, through an interpreter, discussed each artifact that would be unveiled, including two that had never been shown outside of the Vatican. Read more »

4, May 2010

The Saint Louis Zoo: If Not Forest Park, Where?

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles exploring the history of the Saint Louis Zoo as it celebrates its centennial. The History Museum has partnered with the Zoo to develop an exhibit chronicling its first 100 years. Zootennial will open May 15 and will be located on the Zoo grounds in the 1917 Elephant House, now Peabody Hall. Read more »

4, May 2010

Vatican Splendors Come to St. Louis after 106 Years

You probably have heard the exciting news that the exhibit Vatican Splendors: A Journey through Faith and Art is opening at the Missouri History Museum on May 15, 2010. But did you know that other treasures from the Vatican have been displayed in St. Louis before? In 1904 at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (LPE), or St. Louis World’s Fair, many works of art were featured in the Vatican Exhibit in the Anthropology Building. The Fair’s president, David R. Read more »

29, April 2010

After the Final Curtain

How do you safely store a fragile, 60-year-old historic backdrop that measures 22 feet high by 39 feet long? That was the challenge for the staff at the Missouri History Museum when they prepared to take down the Katherine Dunham: Beyond the Dance exhibit that closed its run in March. The backdrop, made of canvas, netting, and appliquéd materials, is from Dunham’s show Rites de Passage and depicts a jungle scene. Prior to MHM receiving the backdrop in 1991, it had been stored, tightly folded, in a wicker basket for many years. Read more »

23, April 2010

Dorothy I. Height, Civil Rights Leader, 1912–2010

Civil rights pioneer Dorothy I. Height died on April 20, 2010, at the age of 98. Height was best known as the president of the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years. For a lifetime of working for the rights of African Americans, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, in 1994. Read more »