Communities in Missouri have an opportunity to put their town or city’s folklore in the spotlight this bicentennial year. Grants for the Legends & Lore Roadside Marker program is funded fully by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, which established the program to promote cultural tourism and celebrate legends and folklore as part of local and state heritage. Missouri is one of 11 states eligible to receive the grant. The Missouri Folks Arts Program at the University of Missouri is the state’s organizer for the grant and invites communities across the state to participate.
“We are excited to join colleagues across the country as a Legends & Lore state partner – and to be the first to represent the Midwest,” says Lisa L. Higgins, director of the Missouri Folk Arts Program. “Missouri’s bicentennial year is an inspiring time and we hope Legends & Lore will encourage local communities to mark the Show-Me state’s unique culture in an enduring way.”
Applications are being accepted now through May 3 for the first of two application periods in 2021. The Pomeroy Foundation has funded over 70 Legends & Lore roadside markers to commemorate endearing local stories. One of those markers celebrates Ichabod Crane and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” It’s said that this famous Washington Irving character was based on a real schoolteacher named Jesse Merwin in Kinderhook, New York. Another example is a Legends & Lore marker located Talcott, West Virginia, recognizing the folk hero John Henry and the famed story of his race against a steam drill.
“Missouri has many legends of our own – from Momo the Missouri Monster who was “seen” along the Mississippi River in St. Charles County to The Spooklight sometimes visible on a country road at the edge of Missouri and Oklahoma,” said Higgins. “Generally speaking, folklore is the stories, customs, traditions and expressive arts and crafts that are passed on from one person to another and often generation to generation. We’re excited about this opportunity and hope communities across the state will apply for the grant.”
More information on the Legends & Lore Marker Grant Program is found here or by contacting the Missouri Folk Arts Program 573-882-6296.
A new bicentennial program is underway to encourage individuals, families and groups to travel the state and participate in fun challenges and learn more about Missouri. Participants in the Missouri Explorers Program will receive a button upon registration and a list of challenges to earn additional merit badge buttons. To achieve the merit buttons, participants will be asked to submit a photo of each stop in their challenge. Participants can also share their photos on social media using the hashtag #moexplorers.
Challenges in the program include the German Heritage Corridor; Native American Heritage; Travel the Mother Road, Route 66; Get your Kicks in St. Louis; Historic Gems of St. Louis showcasing civic treasures and historic sites; A Walk Through Time: Missouri Cemeteries; The Way of American Genius exploring innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders who helped shape American history, culture and life. The challenges are being sponsored by Missouri Humanities Council, Explore St. Louis, Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society, Drury Hotels, Bellefontaine Cemetery and Arboretum, and Missouri Highway 36 Association. Additional challenges and sponsors are still being added to the bicentennial program.
“We have a growing list of challenges that would allow Missourians to either travel across the state or explore a little closer to home and, hopefully, come away with a better understanding of Missouri’s diversity and unique cultural and historical places and people,” said Michael Sweeney, coordinator for Missouri’s bicentennial.
The Missouri Explorers Program is open to anyone who is interested in traveling and learning more about the geographic and cultural diversity of the state. The program is free, but registration is required to receive merit buttons. Guides to each challenge is listed on the missouri2021.org website under Missouri Explorers. Also, if organizations are interested in sponsoring a new challenge, they can inquire about the program by sending email to email@example.com
Two sixth grade students from Jackson and Monroe Counties and two high school students from Cape Girardeau and Moniteau Counties are among the top four finalists of the official Missouri Bicentennial Poster contest. The four students were among 225 Missouri students who submitted designs for the theme: Sharing Missouri’s stories: past, present and future. The poster competition, open to all Missouri students in grades 3-12, was held to commemorate Missouri’s bicentennial in 2021.
The poster finalists are Lehualina Taula, 6th grade student at Fire Prairie Upper Elementary in Independence; Luke Ensor, sixth grade student at Holliday Elementary School in Holiday; Mia Foote, 11th grade student from Jackson High School in Jackson; and Ingrid Keene, 9th grade home-schooled student from Tipton.
Each of the finalists will receive a certificate and $200 prize money at several bicentennial poster unveiling ceremonies in mid-March at the counties where each student is from. Officials from the Missouri Bicentennial Commission and school officials will be at each of the local ceremonies. Judges from the Bicentennial Commission selected four final designs, including two designs from grades 3-6 and two from grades 7-12. Hallmark Creative Marketing Studio of Kansas City partnered with the commission to get the selected posters into their final format.
Vinnorma Shaw’s 1921 poster for the Missouri Centennial Exposition at the Missouri State Fair is an iconic reminder of the Missouri Centennial commemoration. Likewise, the final designs of this year’s Missouri Bicentennial Poster contest will serve as a lasting reminder of 200 years of statehood.
Missouri 2021 Presents on April 8, 11 a.m. will explore the cultural and art of quilting and its long-standing tradition that began in Ancient Egypt and still very much a part of Missouri’s heritage. Perhaps, you’ve seen the patterns of a quilt on a barn while traveling the countryside or you bought a raffle ticket for a quilt to support a community cause. Maybe your own family has passed down an heirloom quilt that you treasure and display with pride. For the past year, the Missouri Bicentennial Quilt has been part of the efforts to commemorate the state’s 200 years with a unique display of blocks representing all of Missouri’s 114 counties and the City of St. Louis. While the quilt has been traveling the state, additional communities have created a special quilt for the bicentennial, including Missouri 4-H, Missouri State Parks, along with several counties in the state.
You can learn more about this series, how to register, and watch previous recorded programs of Missouri 2021 Presents on our website by clicking the Missouri 2021 Presents tab on the main page.