Beginning February 23, mid-Missouri residents will have the chance to explore Missouri’s journey to statehood in a traveling exhibit that examines the conflict, crisis, and compromise surrounding its admission into the Union. The exhibit, Struggle for Statehood is on display at the State Historical Society of Missouri Center for Missouri Studies, 605 Elm St., Columbia, Missouri, now through March 26. The Missouri Humanities Council and its partners developed the exhibit, which has been traveling across the state in commemoration of the bicentennial this year.
The exhibit explores the many facets of the Missouri crisis on both a national and local level. Learn about the history of Missouri leading up to its battle for admission and how that history shaped the future state. Visitors can examine what it means to be a state and how that meaning differed for the diverse groups of peoples living in Missouri at the time of its admission.
“No state, I can readily assure you,” said Dr. Steve Belko, Executive Director of the Missouri Humanities Council, “entered the Union with greater fanfare.” When the residents of the Territory of Missouri petitioned Congress in 1818 for admission into the United States, a three-year-long political and ideological battle began between “free” and “slave” states, almost destroying the very union Missouri sought to join. The political upheaval was temporarily resolved with the “Missouri Compromise,” in which Maine entered the Union as a free state, and Missouri – a slave state – became the 24th state in the United States of America. “Missouri’s admission to the Union laid bare the undercurrents of division over slavery and the increasingly fraught political balance between the North and South that would culminate in the American Civil War. In the two centuries since its admission, Missouri has become an integral part of the nation,” said Belko.
The exhibit was developed by the Missouri Humanities Council in consultation with the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy and is supported by the Missouri Bicentennial Alliance. Companion programming has been made possible in part from funding provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. A digital exhibit tour of Struggle for Statehood is also available on the Missouri Humanities Council website: https://mohumanities.wixsite.com/struggleforstatehood
In addition, the State Historical Society’s Art Gallery features a special bicentennial exhibit Native Creatures: The Indigenous Mammals and Birds of Missouri displaying images of animals that inhabited Missouri at the time the territory became a state in 1821. Images created in that era by John James Audubon and Karl Bodmer depict animals and birds that are still found in Missouri, as well as some that are now extinct or no longer exist in the state. Later works by artists such as Charles Schwartz and Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling represent Missouri’s biological diversity and encourage viewers to consider how settlement, industrialization, and agriculture have changed our ecosystems.
Both exhibits will be on display at the Center for Missouri Studies during regular visitor hours, Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Facial masks are required while visiting the State Historical Society during the pandemic. Free parking is available on-site using the entrance off Locust Street.
Registration is open for the next monthly episode Missouri 2021 Presents. The March 2, 11 a.m., virtual program features Legends, Lore and Stories of the Show Me State. Missouri is rich in its history, folklore and storytelling. The bicentennial year offers plenty of opportunity to engage in our state’s history and culture through storytelling performances and workshops, poetry, book talks, online resources and more! Join us for this live, virtual hour to hear how organizations around the state are preserving the stories of our past and engaging new audiences in the oldest form of communication.
We’ll be joined by Lisa Higgins, Missouri Folk Arts director at the University of Missouri; Mark Livengood, Story Center director at Mid-Continent Public Library; GK Callahan, Community Arts & County Engagement Specialist with University of Missouri Extension; Carmaletta Williams, executive director of Black Archives of Mid-America and Brent Schondelmeyer, deputy director of the Local Investment Commission and trustee of the State Historical Society of Missouri who are involved with the Kansas City Black History Project. Plus, we’ll have a special guest joining the program to share a story! Missouri 2021 Presents is a live, virtual program on the bicentennial happenings this year. Registration is required for this free program on the Missouri 2021 Presents page.
Missourians are encouraged to participate in a statewide ice cream social to celebrate the 200th birthday of Missouri. While the event will be held Aug. 10, 2021, Missouri’s statehood day, the planning begins now. Missouri 2021 is looking for communities and organizations to organize an ice cream social and to register their event at missouri2021.org.
“We were looking for a statewide event where every Missourian could participate in the bicentennial, so why not a good old-fashioned ice cream social to celebrate our state’s milestone!” said Michael Sweeney, bicentennial coordinator for the State Historical Society of Missouri. Sweeney said the idea behind the event is to bring everyone together for 2021 to enjoy a tasty treat from a favorite ice cream shop or by making “homemade” ice cream from specially-created flavors for the day or enjoying old favorites using a hand-crank machine.
“It’s also a way to celebrate Missouri’s dairy industry and many of the finest ice cream establishments throughout the state. Plus, it’s usually very hot in August,” added Sweeney.
Anne McGregor, who serves on the Board of the Trustees for the State Historical Society came up with the idea for an ice cream social with a vision that it can happen at parks, porches, backyards, ball fields, and just about any location to celebrate the state’s birthday with a scoop of the frozen treat. “An ice cream social is a way to take a moment to pause as family, friends and community, and to reflect on our state’s history,” said McGregor. “It’s not all rainbows and butterflies but between the challenges and triumphs, we make Missouri ours to own. The ice cream is a sweet, very sweet way to make that happen.”
Registration for the Missouri 2021 Ice Cream Social is open to businesses and nonprofit organizations. The only requirements are for groups to register their event to be officially recognized for the bicentennial and to hold their ice cream socials on the afternoon or evening of Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021. Missouri 2021 will be sharing submitted photos of the ice cream social using the hashtag #ScoopsAcrossMissouri.
Did you know that the ice cream cone is the official state dessert of Missouri? You may have heard that the ice cream cone was introduced at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. According to the Library of Congress, the sweet, creamy confection in a walk-away cone made its debut at the World’s Fair – thousands of years after the frozen treat would find its origins in either Persia, Rome or Mongolia. There’s much debate to where it all began!
Missouri 2021 welcomes Missouri University of Science and Technology as our newest member of the Bicentennial Alliance! Missouri S&T is also observing its 150th anniversary this year, coinciding with the state’s bicentennial. A product of the Morrill Act of 1862 and the land-grant movement of the late 19th century, Missouri S&T has grown into one of the nation’s top STEM-focused research universities. In honor of the bicentennial, Missouri S&T is hosting a lecture series throughout 2021 titled: “Honoring our past, envisioning the future: Missouri S&T Lecture Series for the Bicentennial.”
The series will explore the cultural history of the Rolla region and the social and economic topics relative to Missourians. All presentations will be available for live public viewing. The first programs in the series will be all-virtual due to the pandemic with later lecture programs possibly in-person, as well, depending upon safety concerns. The seven topics, scheduled from February-December 2021, include:
“Mining: From Missouri to the Moon” | 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 22, 2021
A look at how Missouri S&T prepared miners over the past 150 years and how it is now preparing engineers for a future in space mining.
“STEM at the elementary level” | Noon Friday, March 5, 2021
The importance of STEM education at early levels.
“Having a blast with explosives” | 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 6, 2021
More than 7 billion pounds of explosives are used in the U.S. each year. Learn how the fields of mining, construction, defense, homeland security, demolition, oil recovery, fireworks, special effects and more are involved in this broad industry.
“Batteries in the microgrid/solar houses” | 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021
A look at how batteries in the microgrid manage and store renewable energy and what that means for the future of Missouri solar houses.
“Building microsatellites for the future” | 2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021
A look at how microsatellites could be used to inspect satellites, do small repairs or refuel spacecraft — and help eliminate the need for risky EVAs (“spacewalks”) when something goes wrong.
“Missouri’s German heritage” | 2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021
Learn how German-speaking settlers influenced our agriculture, arts, sciences and beer!
“Remembering Missouri’s most famous generals” | 2 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021
Black Jack Pershing led the American Expeditionary Forces to victory in World War I, Omar Bradley led U.S. Army troops in World War II Europe, and Maxwell Taylor led the 101st Airborne Division through the Battle of the Bulge. Learn about these famous Missouri generals.
To learn more and register for the lecture series, please visit https://150.mst.edu/bicentennial-alliance-lecture-series/