The “Mighty Mississippi” exhibit, on display at the Missouri History Museum through April 18, 2021, puts the grandeur of North America’s greatest river in context with the cultures that have grown and thrived around it.
Visitors entering the 6,000 sq ft special exhibit are met with a huge video screen and up close views from river boats to flooding events. The exhibit features more than 200 artifacts, many dating back over 1,000 years.
The large exhibit space is strategically broken up into 4 sections into allow amble opportunity to discover the regional heritage of the Middle Mississippi watershed as revealed through a diverse range of stories and artifacts that stem from the Mother of Rivers and its tributaries.
Detailed panels and audio describe the Mississippi River’s impact from the largest and most influential American Indian centers of the Mississippian cultural period, the first civilization to rise on the great river more than a thousand years ago; to the vast European and Indian fur trade networks that forever changed the continent; to slavery and the Civil War; to the revolutionary steamboats, factories, and immigration of the Industrial Age.
The Missouri Historical Society houses and cares for one of the largest collections of intact Mississippian artifacts in the country. The exhibit features the largest display of Mississippian artifacts shown at the Missouri History Museum in three decades. Some of the Mississippian artifacts on display include:
- Earthenware salt pan found in Kimmswick, Missouri ca. 1000-1700
- Stemmed points made from gar scales, ca. 900-1750
- Canada goose leg bone whistle, ca. 900-1750
- Twenty-six beads made of Leptoxis snail shell, ca. 450-1400
- Mississippian water monster effigy bowl from St. Clair County, Illinois, ca. 1100-1400
- Lightning whelk from French Village, Illinois, ca. 900-1350
- Engraved gorget made from whelk shell, ca. 900-1350
The mix of historic objects includes the Golden Eagle pilothouse, one of only a handful left in the United States and one of the single largest artifacts in the Missouri Historical Society’s collection; roof bell from the Steamboat Elvira (1851); Northwest gun made by Robert Wheeler of Birmingham, England, 1802-1810; Missouri war ax, 1800-1840; and, a Cannon used by the American Fur Company, ca. 1835.
Mighty Mississippi also sheds light on how sustaining surrounding communities have long depended on wisely caring for the river environment and its resources.
River flooding, clean water, recreation, commerce, biodiversity, and the climate crisis are widely explored as well. Additionally, nearly 50 interactive video interviews and interactive kiosks give voice to current issues.
The Missouri History Museum’s staff have created an impressive opportunity for families and history buffs to learn more about the river. The story and history of the Mississippi River is complex and evolving as it impacts so many aspects of our lives. It is well worth a second or more visit to absorb all the information. Admission to the exhibit is free.
The exhibit is accompanied by a new book from the Missouri Historical Society Press, Great River City: How the Mississippi Shaped St. Louis by Andrew Wanko.
‘History Made’ Tells Story of St. Louis Blues Winning Stanley Cup Championship
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), October 6, 2019 – History was made on June 12, 2019. It’s a date that will forever live in St. Louis sports history. On that day, the St. Louis Blues – the team that had gone 52 years without ever winning a Stanley Cup game, let alone a Championship – hoisted the Stanley Cup for the first time.
The Missouri History Museum, in collaboration with the St. Louis Blues, has open History Made. Featuring more than 20 artifacts on loan from the St. Louis Blues from the historic playoff run and the Stanley Cup Finals, History Made tells the story of the underdog team that took home the NHL’s highest honor and united its community in the process.
“What became clear throughout the championship run was that this victory was about more than hockey or even the Blues,” said Jody Sowell, managing director of strategic initiatives for the Missouri Historical Society. “It was about a community relishing a victory. It was about how good it feels to share in a moment that will be remembered for generations to come. It was about making history.”
“To be able to share with our fans artifacts from creating history means everything to the Blues,” said Randy Girsch VP of Community Development and Event Management for the St. Louis Blues. “There couldn’t be a better venue for the ‘History Made’ display than the Missouri History Museum.”
The History Made installation consists of four cases located on the second level of the Missouri History Museum. The cases feature artifacts from the St. Louis Blues historic championship run and will be on display at the Museum from Oct. 1, 2019, through Jan. 26, 2020.
The Missouri History Museum (Jefferson Memorial Building) in Forest Park completed a major building expansion and renovation with the opening of the Emerson Center. The 92,000-square-foot Center, designed by Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum, provides the public with 24,000 square feet of additional exhibition space in four galleries, the Lee Auditorium with 347 seats, Bixby’s Restaurant overlooking Forest Park, four fully equipped classrooms and a resource center, and the expansive Louisiana Purchase gift shop.
The Missouri Historical Society was established in 1866 to rescue “from oblivion the early history of the city and the state.” In 1913, it moved into the newly constructed Jefferson Memorial Building. The Memorial Building stands on the site of the main entrance to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, more commonly known as the 1904 World’s Fair. It was built with the proceeds of the Fair in memory of Thomas Jefferson.
Today, the Missouri History Museum houses a variety of exhibits and educational resources including the permanent exhibition, Seeking St. Louis and the current Many Voices: Reflecting on American Indian Objects. The History Museum and Emerson Center are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (8:00 p.m. each Tuesday). Admission is free unless noted.
The Missouri History Museum Library and Research Center, located at 225 South Skinker in the former United Hebrew Synagogue, was renovated and opened in 1991. It houses a research library open to the public with a comprehensive collection focusing on the history of the St. Louis region, the state of Missouri, and the American West. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 314-746-4599.