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22, December 2016

The Spirit of St. Louis Holidays Past

The holidays are a time of reflection and tradition, and these pictures prove that many St. Louis holiday customs are still going strong: The Nutcracker still drifts dreamily across the stage at Powell Hall, cathedrals and department stores still pull out all the stops with their decorations, and children are in equal turns thrilled by and wary about jolly old St. Nick.

See how the holidays in St. Louis have changed—and stayed the same—by clicking through the images below.   Read more »

21, December 2016

66 Through St. Louis: City Hall

Route 66 motorists who picked the City 66 alignment of the Mother Road wound up in the heart of St. Louis. When they pulled into downtown, they were greeted by a pink and orange, spire-covered structure seemingly dropped straight out of belle époque Paris. But while they snapped pictures and read about St. Louis City Hall in their tourist brochures, they probably never realized the headache involved in getting it built! Read more »

17, December 2016

4 Former STL Sports Teams

The St. Louis Rams weren’t the first team to leave our beloved city behind. Throughout St. Louis’s history, professional teams have departed, folded, or been traded away. Here are four of them. Read more »

14, December 2016

You've Come a Long Way, Barbie

One of the iconic toys examined in the exhibit TOYS of the '50s, '60s and '70s is Barbie. She first came on the scene in 1959 as a stick-legged, white-skinned, blonde-haired, blue-eyed doll with cherry red lips. Barbie represented the ultimate woman: She had the perfect body; in Ken, the perfect boyfriend; and all of the money, cars, outfits, and houses a girl could dream of. Read more »

13, December 2016

What I Learned Thanks to Show Me 66

After a year of researching, conducting interviews, collecting archival footage, and taking nearly a dozen road trips, the Missouri History Museum released its first feature-length documentary, Show Me 66: Main Street Through Missouri. The film is a wide-angle look at the Missouri people, places, moments, and events that helped make Route 66 the most famous highway in the world—no small task when dealing with 90 years of history and 300 miles of road. Read more »

10, December 2016

Meet Saralee, a Doll for All Children

From my first walk through TOYS of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, a small baby doll—the only African American doll in the 1950s case—piqued my curiosity. I soon learned that without the support of some very influential people, it would never have been produced. Read more »

8, December 2016

How Sugar Loaf Mound Got Its Name

Some of the most interesting projects get their start when you’re looking for something else entirely. I recently learned about the history of sugar making while trying to locate historic images of Sugar Loaf Mound, right next to Interstate 55 in south St. Louis. It’s the only existing Native American mound within St. Louis’s city limits. Read more »

7, December 2016

Zooming In on the City Holt Captured

While working on the book Capturing the City: Photographs from the Streets of St. Louis, 1900–1930, my coauthor and I spent countless hours happily poring over some 300 photographs. Read more »

2, December 2016

The Library and Research Center Is 25!

By the mid-1980s every available nook and cranny of the Jefferson Memorial Building (JMB) was occupied with some manner of collections storage, gallery, or office space. It was clear to the Missouri History Museum’s leadership that if the institution intended to keep acquiring artifacts for its collections that the only alternatives were to build an addition or find another location. Read more »

30, November 2016

Discovering the Early Days of a Painted Lady

I used to make my husband drive by our home—a Second Empire–style townhouse in Lafayette Square—before it was ours. He resisted touring the interior, but when I finally convinced him, we both left smitten. We were in love not just with its soaring ceilings, plaster cove moldings, and tidy pocket shutters but also with its wrinkles, bruises, and battle scars. There were wide, undulating baseboards that morphed suddenly into skinny runners. Read more »