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Artifacts from the MHM collection
1, October 2017

Curator Faves: Environmental Life Edition

Our region’s location at the center of the continent, with many great rivers, is enviable for building community and culture. Geography and environments collide and combine here, creating tremendous biological and resource diversity. As an environmental historian, I’m interested in the choices we make—as our region's current residents—and how those choices will (or won't) sustain future generations. As a curator, I want to preserve and exhibit artifacts that get people excited about our history of decisions. Read more »

19, April 2017

Curator Faves: Clothing Edition

The Missouri History Museum has a wonderful clothing and textile collection, and I've had the honor of being responsible for it for almost 17 years. Because the collection is made of up more than 18,000 pieces, it’s hard to know every single thing within it, but by working on exhibits, writing articles, giving tours, and meeting with researchers, I learn more every day. To me the collection is like a treasure trove of two of my favorite things: history and fashion. I find something I’ve never seen before almost every time I go into storage, which keeps my job interesting. Read more »

20, February 2017

Breaking News: President Kennedy's Assassination

Last October, I received a letter from retired newspaper reporter Ted Pollard. In it he offered to donate a document related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Although he lives in Ohio now, for about six months in 1963 Pollard worked on the business desk of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. Each day he watched the incoming tapes of the noontime quotes from the Dow Jones business-wire machine, which sat next to the main, broad-tape teletype device that carried major news stories from the Associated Press (AP). Read more »

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 »