The Bicentennial Alliance, a coalition of statewide organizations and government agencies, celebrated its official launch at the Governor’s Mansion in Jefferson City on January 8. The alliance, which will foster collaboration and cooperative efforts to commemorate Missouri’s bicentennial in 2021, emerged out of the State Historical Society of Missouri’s work with other institutions through the Missouri 2021 initiative.
Other partners participating in the Bicentennial Alliance include the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy at the University of Missouri, the Missouri Council for History Education, the St. Louis–based Missouri Historical Society (formerly the Missouri History Museum), the Missouri Humanities Council, and the Missouri State Archives.
At the January 8 event, Missouri First Lady Dr. Sheena Greitens noted that the bicentennial marks a significant historical milestone beckoning Missourians to reflect upon their heritage.
“We are really excited for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate Missouri’s history and culture, and to make that history and culture accessible to people all over the state,” Greitens said. “Eric [Governor Greitens] and I look forward to celebrating with you and to partnering with you on this important work.”
Gary Kremer, SHSMO’s executive director, said the bicentennial provides an opportunity for exploring and promoting the intricate history and wide range of cultures found among Missouri’s local communities.
“One of the things that intrigues me most about Missouri is its diversity,” Kremer said. “We Missourians embody and exemplify the complexity and diversity of this great nation; these are attributes meant to be celebrated.”
The State Historical Society of Missouri plans to launch a series of programs and projects designed to explore the history of the state and its people through Missouri 2021. Initial Society bicentennial projects include:
- Missouri Encyclopedia – a comprehensive online encyclopedia providing general audiences with authoritative information on the history and culture of Missouri
- Endorsement Program – a media partnership between SHSMO and local organizations creating bicentennial activities
- My Missouri 2021 – a project inviting professional and amateur photographers to capture and share distinctive images of Missouri
- Missouri Community Legacies – a program providing opportunities to document local traditions and creative expressions, meaningful places, and organizations and institutions of significance to communities around the state