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21, May 2013

Where Does History Begin?

The process of choosing a group of 50 artifacts for our 250 in 250 exhibit is as challenging as the process has been for the selection of 50 people. With an enormous collection of artifacts to cull from, the History Museum’s curators considered artifacts that have rarely or never been shown, hoping to balance them against collection icons visitors expect to see. Though we curators want to include the reassuring touchstones of our history, sometimes provoking new insight through unexpected objects is exciting and informative for everyone involved. Read more »

21, May 2013

A Garden Blooms from Monticello's Seeds

This spring, I was invited to present our Teaching About Slavery program at the National Council for History Education conference in Richmond, VA. It turned out to be the perfect opportunity to visit Monticello’s gardens in preparation for our Gillette Family Garden project here at the Museum. Read more »

20, May 2013

Civil War Love Letters: May 20, 1863 (Part 2)

To read a recap of the first 100 letters from James Love, click here. Read more »

19, May 2013

Civil War Love Letters: May 20, 1863 (Part 1)

Today's letter marks the 100th letter that James Love wrote home to Molly Wilson in St. Louis during the course of the Civil War. To read a recap of the first 100 letters from James Love, click here. Read more »

12, May 2013

A Recap of the First 100 Civil War Love Letters

We have just published the 100th letter in the Civil War Love Letters series. The series follows the life of a Union soldier named James Love, who faithfully writes letters to his fiancee, Molly Wilson, in St. Louis. We have been publishing the contents of each letter, along with links to the original version, 150 years to the day that James wrote each one. If you haven't been following the series, here is a chance to get caught up. We've compiled the highlights of the first 100 letters into a handy recap below. Read more »

10, May 2013

Civil War Love Letters: May 10, 1863

In this letter, James writes of copperheads, good news from Vicksburg and Fredericksburg, and a newspaper article about Charles Drake. The term "copperheads" referred to northerners who opposed the war and the abolition of slavery, and favored immediate peace. James clearly had no kind words for them. Regarding the good news, by early May 1863, Union general Ulysses S. Grant was several weeks into his campaign to take Vicksburg, Mississippi. When James wrote this letter, the campaign was by no means complete, but had so far succeeded better than previous attempts. Read more »

7, May 2013

An Intern Reflects on His Contribution to an Exhibit

I was very excited to begin my internship at the Missouri History Museum in last August. Although my position as a K–12 Educational Interpreter Intern has been quite rewarding, it comes with its share of challenges. As a graduate student I was no stranger to overcoming obstacles, but MHM would provide me with my biggest challenge yet: I was given the opportunity to create the educational component for the exhibit Question Bridge: Black Males (open through June 16). Schools from all over the St. Read more »

2, May 2013

Civil War Love Letters: May 3, 2013

While James remained in Nashville, writing about a poem from a recent issue of Harper’s Monthly and his memories of evenings in Molly’s parlor with her sister Sallie and brother John, other forces under the command of Union generals Ulysses S. Grant and William S. Rosecrans focused on control of the southern part of the Mississippi River, especially around Vicksburg, Mississippi. Grant had already started his campaign to take Vicksburg, and Major General Grenville M. Dodge, who commanded part of Grant’s Army of the Tennessee, led his forces on an expedition into Alabama. Read more »

1, May 2013

Nation's First Jefferson Memorial Turns 100

Back in 1898, Pierre Chouteau (representing the Missouri Historical Society) began a campaign to bring a World’s Fair Exposition to St. Louis. Committees formed and plans were made, with Fair planners ultimately choosing Forest Park as the site for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. There was a stipulation, however, that Forest Park would be returned to a park after the Fair was over. Just one building could remain, the Palace of Fine Arts, which houses the Saint Louis Art Museum today. The Fair opened on April 30, 1904, to a crowd of 200,000 people. Read more »

30, April 2013

And In Other News: Opening Day at the 1904 World's Fair Overshadows Train Crash

At 12:15 p.m., on the afternoon of April 30, 1904, David R. Francis declared, “Open ye gates. Swing wide, ye portals.” With those words, the grandest event in St. Louis history was underway. Nearly 190,000 people ascended on Forest Park for the opening day of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, remembered today as the 1904 World’s Fair. Read more »