Tuesday, 12 January 2021 / Published in News

Registration is now open for the Tuesday, February 2, 11 a.m., live program on Zoom: Missouri 2021 Presents, which will feature the art projects happening for the bicentennial. The series if free, but you need to register here.

Professional and amateur artists of all ages are expressing their work in creative ways to commemorate Missouri’s 200 years of statehood. Join us for a live presentation on collaborative projects across the state, including Missouri Art Now traveling exhibition featuring works of 60 Missouri artists; an update on the Missouri Bicentennial mural that invites Missourians of any age or ability to paint on a 30-foot canvas; and learn about the Missouri Remembers project, a free, online resource documenting artists who lived in or spent part of their career within Missouri.  We’ll also share information on the finalist drawings of the Bicentennial Poster contest that are being shaped into the official poster by Hallmark Creative Marketing Studio. And, more!

Panelists include: Amelia Nelson, head of Library and Archives, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City; John Knuteson with the Missouri Remembers Project at the St. Louis Public Library; Jill Sullivan, executive director of Post Art Library in Joplin; and artists Barb Bailey and Aaron Horrell of the Painted Wren Art Gallery in Cape Girardeau, who came up with the idea and have been reaching out to all Missourians who want to participate in the painting of the bicentennial mural.

Wednesday, 16 December 2020 / Published in News

By Gary R. Kremer, Executive Director, State Historical Society of Missouri, Dec. 8, 2020

The year 2021 marks the 200th anniversary of statehood for Missouri—Aug. 10, to be exact. Almost seven years ago, the 97th Missouri General Assembly put the State Historical Society of Missouri in charge of planning statewide commemorations of the bicentennial. Since that time, we have visited Missourians in each county in the state, listening to how their communities would like to celebrate this milestone in Missouri’s history. Now, this momentous year is almost upon us.

The year, 2020, leading up to our 200th year has certainly been a memorable one, as our world fights a deadly pandemic. One hundred years ago, Missouri celebrated its centennial that came a few short years after another lethal virus, the 1918 Flu Pandemic, infected about 500 million people. The world was also recovering from a war that took the lives of 40 million soldiers and civilians.

Resiliency is a word that quickly comes to mind as we look back in history while trying to chart a course for tomorrow. And, we find this inner strength by looking no further than the place we call home.

In his book, Following the Equator, published in 1897, one of Missouri’s most famous sons, the inestimable Mark Twain, wrote: “All that goes to make the me in me began in a Missouri village . . .” I feel the same way.  Missouri is a place that I have always called home, as have four generations of my family who preceded me here.  It is a place that has alternately confounded and comforted me, which has both excited and exasperated me.  Most of all, it is a place that has endlessly intrigued me.

One of the things that intrigues me most about Missouri is its diversity.  To understand this point, one need look no farther than the multiple landscapes our state offers: the delta of southeast Missouri, the Ozarks hills of the southwest, the prairie lands of the state’s western border, and the rich farmland of the rolling hills north of the Missouri River.  These regions are as different as the people who occupy them, as different as the people they have produced.  St. Louis and Kansas City may both be major Midwestern urban centers, but they are as different as night and day.  We, Missourians, embody and exemplify the complexity and diversity of this great nation; our diversity is an attribute meant to be celebrated.

There is much to celebrate and to commemorate in calling to mind our rich collective history over the span of two centuries. The bicentennial offers an opportunity for exploring and promoting the rich history and multiple cultures of Missouri’s local communities, counties and regions, while simultaneously preparing a dynamic economic, social, and cultural future for the people of this state.  It is our intent that the bicentennial commemoration become a path to a “usable past,” one which guides our citizens’ decision-making in the present and into the future.

There is a basic question that we hope Missourians will address over the course of the upcoming bicentennial year:  what does it mean to be a Missourian, AND, how has that meaning changed over time?

The simple answer to that question, of course, is, “It depends!”  It depends on where you lived, and when, and how you made your living.  It depends on whether you were male or female, and what your race, ethnicity, religion and level of education was.  It depends on whether you lived on a farm, in a mining camp or a village, or in a city.

That is why our state’s bicentennial commemoration is a truly statewide, grassroots series of events that involve Missourians from all 114 counties and the independent City of St. Louis.  We must somehow capture all of these different “Missourees” and “Missourahs” as we move to celebrate. So far, more than 100 local, regional, and statewide projects are underway to commemorate our 200th birthday. We continue to encourage and invite individuals, communities, and organizations to take part in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Please visit our website Missouri2021.org to learn about the variety of activities, up-to-date calendar of events, and how you can be involved.

Missouri is our home, a place that has shaped who we are, a place that has, in return, given us the means to shape its future, and our own.  The year 2021 will be an important time to be a Missourian and if we see an end to the COVID-19 Flu pandemic, which we hope with the distribution of vaccines, it will give Missourians a chance to come together in celebration.

Gary R. Kremer is the Executive Director of the State Historical Society of Missouri, which is in charge of coordinating Missouri’s bicentennial in 2021. Visit Missouri2021.org to learn more about the projects and events to commemorate Missouri’s 200th anniversary of statehood.                   

Contact info: Beth Pike, Sr. Strategic Communications Associate, Missouri 2021, State Historical Society of Missouri, pikebe@shsmo.org; 573-881-4464 cell.         

Thursday, 19 November 2020 / Published in News

COLUMBIA, MO, Nov. 19, 2020 – Missouri 2021 is rolling out a new virtual program series that focuses on the programs and events happening in Missouri to commemorate the state’s 200th anniversary of statehood. Leading up to the Aug. 10, 2021, anniversary day of statehood, Missouri 2021 invites the public to take part in live programming on Zoom the first Tuesdays at 11 a.m. beginning December 2020, through July 2021. Each month will feature a different subject with guests from the more than 100 local, regional and statewide projects and events.

The first program Dec. 1, 11, a.m., will feature a preview of activities planned for Missouri’s bicentennial year. At this time, events are being planned in person, as well as virtual and hybrid formats depending upon the public’s safety during the pandemic. Michael Sweeney, coordinator of Missouri 2021 will give an overview of the projects and events across the state to commemorate Missouri’s 200th birthday.

“There are many exciting projects and events already being planned next year, along with new projects that will soon be announced,” said Sweeney. “It’s a wonderful way for Missourians to come together to showcase the vast geographic and cultural diversity of the state while celebrating the similarities that bring us together.”

A special prize give-away of Missouri bicentennial promotional items will be given out to persons who register for the free, virtual program. To register for Missouri 2021 Presents: First Tuesdays at 11 a.m. visit https://shsmo.org/events/2020/mo2021-presents-dec Registration is required.

The mission of Missouri 2021 is to promote a better understanding of Missouri and its regions, communities and people, both past and present. The Missouri Bicentennial provides opportunities for citizens to celebrate, explore, and share perspectives on the state’s rich history and culture. For more information on Missouri’s bicentennial, visit missouri2021.org.

Wednesday, 18 November 2020 / Published in News

Editors Note: The U.S. Postal Service circulated this post on November 17. Our particular focus is on the Missouri Statehood stamp, however, a link to the full press release can be found below.

WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Postal Service today revealed several new stamps to be issued in 2021.

“A handwritten letter shows the recipient how much you care. The stamp you choose to adorn your envelope adds an extra important touch,” said U.S. Postal Service Stamp Services Director William Gicker. “The new 2021 stamps are designed to look beautiful on your envelopes, to be educational and to appeal to collectors and pen pals around the world. As always, the program offers a variety of subjects celebrating American culture and history, and this year, we made a special effort to include a little fun.”

The 2021 stamp program commemorates Missouri statehood, Japanese Americans who fought in World War II and Chien-Shiung Wu, one of the most influential American nuclear physicists of the 20th century. Fun issuances include Western Wear, Backyard Games, Espresso Drinks, a stamp showcasing a visual riddle, and four Message Monster stamps with self-adhesive accessories. The program also includes Mid-Atlantic Lighthouses, the last of the popular Lighthouse stamp series.

Missouri Statehood
This stamp celebrates the bicentennial of Missouri statehood. Missouri became the 24th state in the Union on Aug. 10, 1821. The stamp art is an existing photograph of Bollinger Mill State Historic Site by noted landscape photographer Charles Gurche. Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamp.

This is a partial list of the 2021 stamp program. All stamp designs are preliminary and subject to change. Full release HERE.