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30, July 2010

Ode to Glory: Restoring a Grand Collection of Costumes

Dancer and performer Katherine Dunham gave a large portion of her fanciful collection of costumes to the Missouri History Museum in 1991. Miss Dunham and her dance troupe wore the costumes on stages around the world, starting in the 1930s. Many of these ingenious designs were created by Dunham’s husband, renowned theater designer John Pratt.

Since receiving the collection, the Museum has meticulously conserved 45 of the costumes and related textiles, which were included in the recent exhibition Beyond the Dance. Read more »

27, July 2010

A Brief History of…Minnie Wood Memorial Square

In south St. Louis there is a small park with a playground located on S. Broadway and Meramec. I have been by the park a few times in my life and never really knew the name of it or for whom it was named…until recently. After preliminary research involving how the park was named, I was intrigued by the information about this woman. Her name was Minnie Wood and the park is called Minnie Wood Memorial Square.

Born in Germany as Minnie Sommers, she and her parents immigrated to Columbia, Illinois, in 1851. This is a town known for its German heritage. Read more »

23, July 2010

Discovering St. Louis—Imported Cultures

As we mentioned in an earlier post, the Missouri History Museum's Discovery Tours offer themed and customized tours of sites in and around St. Louis and Missouri. The next Discovery Tour is "Imported Cultures," to be held on Saturday, September 11. The day will be an exploration of the immigrants who have been coming to St. Louis for the opportunity to create better lives since the city was founded in 1764. The day will begin at the Museum’s Library and Research Center with a lecture about the history of a few of our well-established cultural communities. Read more »

16, July 2010

Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made It


By Michael J. Trinklein (Philadelphia: Quirk Books, 2010)

Reviewed by Lauren Mitchell, Senior Editor

Lost States is an entertaining and somewhat informative read. Is this scholarly research backed up by copious citations? No. Read more »

13, July 2010

Good-bye Kiel

On Monday, July 12, it was announced that when the Kiel Opera House reopens next year it will have a new name. St. Louis-based coal company Peabody has purchased the naming rights to what will now be called the Peabody Opera House. Although it’s good to see the return of the opera house, it’s also bittersweet to see the name “Kiel” disappear from the building. Originally named the Municipal Auditorium, the theater was renamed in 1943 in memory of St. Louis mayor Henry W. Kiel. Read more »

9, July 2010

Product of Liberia

My search for Liberian items in our History Museum collections began as I read an article describing the upcoming annual Alpha Kappa Alpha convention happening in St. Louis from July 9th through the 17th. The oldest African American sorority (founded in 1908 by St. Read more »

30, June 2010

Who Needs Sunscreen When You Have Flannel Bloomers?

As I was prepping my kids for a trip to the pool last week, I silently paid homage to the newish invention the swim shirt. Because my sons can (and thankfully will) wear a shirt into the water, I don’t have to spend 20 minutes slathering their torsos with sunscreen or worrying that they’ll still somehow get burned in that one spot that I missed.

It made me think of some bathing suits that we have in the collections of the History Museum. When you go back to the 1800s, you notice that women’s suits left everything to the imagination. Read more »

29, June 2010

Zoo Conversations Video with Dr. Jeffrey Bonner

Although the Saint Louis Zoo is mostly looking to the past as it celebrates its centennial, Dr. Robert Archibald, president of the History Museum, recently sat down with Dr. Jeffrey Bonner, Dana Brown President and CEO of the Zoo, to ask him about the future of the Saint Louis Zoo and zoos in general. Read more »

28, June 2010

First Lady of the Saint Louis Zoo

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of articles exploring the history of the Saint Louis Zoo as it celebrates its centennial. The History Museum has partnered with the Zoo to develop an exhibit chronicling its first 100 years. The Zootennial exhibit is located on the Zoo grounds in the 1917 Elephant House, now Peabody Hall. Read more »

25, June 2010

20th Anniversary of the ADA

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), on June 25, 2010, members of the five institutions comprising the Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District (ZMD) converged at the Missouri History Museum to sign proclamations of recommitment to the vision of the ADA—full inclusion of people with disabilities into American life. Missouri History Museum president Robert R. Read more »