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11, June 2015

The Perfect Dress

Is there such a thing as the perfect dress? You may say no; however, when I was five years old I thought I had the perfect dress.

My fascination with pretty dresses started when I first went into the Sears department store on North Grand Boulevard with my mother and grandmother. It was spring and I needed a special dress for a program at church. I saw a variety of styles, but what caught my eye was a beautiful pink-and-white lace dress with a bow that tied in the back. I thought it would be really pricey, so I didn’t bother to ask my mother about it. Read more »

10, June 2015

A Grand Tour

If time travel were possible, the first thing I would do is head back to around 1870, pack a steamer trunk, and board the next ship headed to Europe. I would travel through Great Britain, France, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Prussia, and end in Italy. If I were a true citizen of 1870, I would have been able to see paintings I had only heard of, hear music played by the composers instead of through sheet music, and see the architecture of countries where 300 years was considered a recent addition to the neighborhood. Read more »

5, June 2015

World War I Artifacts and Memories: Charles Chouteau Johnson and the Lafayette Escadrille

As war raged across Europe between 1914 and 1917 the American military sat on the sidelines while the U.S. Government sustained its policy of neutrality. However, a number of Americans volunteered for service in foreign armies. Among these Americans was St. Louisan Charles Chouteau Johnson. He served in the famous Lafayette Escadrille, named in the honor of the Marquis de Lafayette, hero of the American Revolution. Read more »

26, May 2015

Who Was Camille Dry, Anyway?

Anyone studying Pictorial St. Louis, the enormous map that is a main feature of A Walk in 1875 St. Louis, will agree that producing something so exact and detailed surely took the skills of a master cartographer. Unfortunately, little is known of Camille N. Dry—or “Drie” as many of his maps before Pictorial St. Louis display his name.  Oddly, for a man whose profession involved extensive amounts of paper, we have little of his behind-the-scenes legacy left. Read more »

19, May 2015

From the Library: Black Misery by Langston Hughes

Black Misery, written by Langston Hughes and illustrated by Arouni, may not be a new book to many, but it was new to me recently when it came to my desk to be processed and moved into the Museum's library collection. Hughes finished the captions for the book in 1967, making it the last book he worked on before his death that same year. Black Misery is classified as a children’s or juvenile book, but once you read the 60-page book it becomes apparent that it is intended for a larger audience. Read more »

15, May 2015

WWI Artifacts and Memories: An Artist Overseas

Often when learning about World War I the focus is on the men in the trenches. Visions of going “over the top” and charging headlong into no man’s land and certain doom are evoked. Though this was a common experience for many of soldiers who served during the First World War, it was far from the only experience. Read more »

7, May 2015

World War I Artifacts and Memories: Sinking of the Lusitania

May 7, 2015, marks 100 years since the sinking of the RMS Lusitania by German submarine U-20. A British passenger ship on its way from New York to Liverpool, England, the Lusitania was running a risk traveling through waters that were at the time declared a war zone by Germany. The sinking of the Lusitania was a watershed moment in the conflict, serving as a galvanizing force in the United States that eventually led to their declaration of war against Germany less than a year later. Read more »

1, May 2015

Why 1875?

The origins of A Walk in 1875 began with a simple question: What if we brought Missouri History Museum visitors so much information about life in a single year of St. Louis history that they could imagine they were actually there? The idea was exciting no matter what year we chose, but settling on just one seemed nearly impossible! St. Louis has no shortage of big years in its past, all with different and exciting ways to bring them to life. However, one stood above all the rest.

So… why 1875? Read more »

20, April 2015

From the Collections: Whimsical Mechanical Banks

Cast iron mechanical banks became popular in the 19th century after the Civil War. During the war the Union and Confederate sides began creating their own paper money to help deal with the shortage on coins. However, the public was leery of the new currency due to its lack of intrinsic value. Coins would retain some value due to the metal, regardless of whatever occurred within the government. Penny banks were meant to educate children about the importance of being thrifty through the use of a fun and exciting toy. Read more »

17, April 2015

War or Negotiation? Political Divisions and the Mississippi Crisis

No matter your political stripe, you’ve probably heard and agreed with the following sentiment at some point in the last few years: “Congress never gets anything done! The founding fathers would be rolling in their graves if they heard about the ways Congress was dealing with [insert current event]!” Popular opinion polls make it clear that many of us harbor at least a part of that sentiment: In a January 2015 Gallup opinion poll, congressional approval was at a mere 16 percent. Read more »