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Artifacts from the MHM collection
23, August 2016

Hair Jewelry and Tear Catchers (Oh My!)

The ghosts of the Victorian era's obsession with mourning rituals appear in the material remains of history. Although women's dresses, like those featured in the Little Black Dress exhibit, offer a fascinating perspective on the gradual adoption of fashion trends into mourning wear, the more unfamiliar artifacts, such as hair jewelry and tear catchers, provide a closer look at Victorian mourning customs. Read more »

17, August 2016

Artifact Lingo 101

You may have heard the terms preservation, conservation, and restoration used interchangeably in museums, antique shops, and even popular culture. These terms are often used to describe the acts of working with historic or artistic objects in order to keep them from deteriorating or make them look better (and sometimes both). Yet these three terms actually have distinct meanings. 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 »

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 »

6, June 2016

Go South to Sunny Germany

The collection of the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum is as vast as it is interesting, encompassing the breadth of U.S. military history from the War of 1812 to the current armed forces. Part of my role as military and arms curator, is to identify interesting stories and artifacts from the collection for the new exhibits being created as part of the Museum’s revitalization. This process has led to many great discoveries. Read more »

12, December 2014

Teaching about History Through Video Games

Recently, I was invited to the Wentzville Middle School by my daughter’s sixth-grade teacher to give a presentation. I was asked to discuss a blog series that I have been working on during my assistantship at the Missouri History Museum. Needless to say, this was a very exciting opportunity for me. Not only did I get to visit my daughter at school, but also I was able to discuss two areas that I am passionate about: video games and history. While I was excited, I was also very nervous. Read more »

30, October 2014

A Ring of Mourning, A Memory of Love

As Halloween approaches, we prepare to celebrate with costumes, parties, and trick-or-treating. However, at one time, Halloween was a time for remembering the deceased. According to Peter Tokofsky, associate adjunct professor in folklore and mythology at the University of California at Los Angeles, "The earliest trace (of Halloween) is the Celtic festival, Samhain, which was the Celtic New Year. It was the day of the dead, and they believed the souls of the deceased would be available" (as quoted in the Daily Bruin on October 31, 1997). Read more »

1, October 2014

When History and Video Games Collide

Recently, as I was browsing through our collections, I came across a piece of hardtack. I paused in surprise, and thought, “Wow. This is actually a thing.” Hardtack is something that I use every day but didn’t realize actually exists (or existed). You see, I use hardtack in a virtual world, one in which I fight for the good of humanity as I try to save the world from its own narcissistic tendencies. Read more »

22, September 2014

The Storytelling Animal and the Role of the Museum

There is a lot of diversity within humanity, and how could there not be? We grow up in different areas and live within a wide range of lifestyles. We are immersed in cultures and subcultures that help to define us. Yet, even with our differences, we are human, and we are much the same. We try to live our lives to the best of our abilities and work toward a better future for ourselves and our loved ones. We grow old, and we hope that our lives, our story, had meaning. In this we are human, one and all, unchanged. Read more »

14, May 2014

William Clark and His Indian Museum

Most of us in the museum field cannot resist the opportunity to visit similar institutions, especially on travels out of town. When I accompanied my husband on his business trips, my first choice for our leisure-time activities was unalterably the nearest museum, preferably one that focused on local history, but actually any kind would do. (My husband favored golf courses.) Read more »