Michael Sweeney at Arrow Rock meeting.

SHSMO’s bicentennial coordinator Michael Sweeney presents at the Friends of Arrow Rock Annual Meeting.

Join the State Historical Society of Missouri at two upcoming bicentennial programs! On June 6 SHSMO’s bicentennial coordinator Michael Sweeney will share what plans are in place for Missouri’s 200th birthday on August 10, 2021, and how you can join in the commemoration. This program will be held at 7 p.m. in the Missouri State Museum’s History Hall, located in the east wing of the Missouri State Capitol, 201 West Capitol Avenue. To access the Capitol after 5:30 p.m., enter through the garage on the east side of the building.

You can also learn more about Missouri’s Bicentennial at 2 p.m. on June 12 in Washington, Missouri. “Your Missouri Story: Finding Your History and Helping Write It through the Bicentennial” will be hosted by the Washington Historical Society at 113 East 4th Street. The session will cover Missouri 2021’s new projects and programs, and attendees will learn tips to help them discover their history within the State Historical Society of Missouri’s vast collection. Since 1898 SHSMO has been entrusted to collect, preserve, and share the state’s history, giving a voice to the people who helped build this country.

Missouri Encyclopedia logoThe State Historical Society of Missouri is developing a new online Missouri Encyclopedia for the Missouri Bicentennial. To be comprehensive, the editorial team needs your help. Who are the people and what are the places and events that shaped your community, your county, and your region? Contribute topic suggestions online.

The Missouri Encyclopedia seeks to provide concise, informative articles on subjects significant to the history of Missouri and its region. This online resource for general audiences will launch in 2021. Visit the website or download the flyer for more information, including writer’s guidelines and sample articles.

Missouri landscape

The intersection of Missouri Highway 11 and Route Y in northeast Missouri, facing northwest.

The State Historical Society of Missouri has launched two new programs exploring Missouri’s history and culture at the occasion of its bicentennial in 2021—the My Missouri 2021 Photograph Project and the Missouri 2021 Endorsement Program.

The My Missouri 2021 Photograph Project invites professional and amateur photographers to submit their work for an exhibition that will run during the bicentennial. Two hundred images will be selected and exhibited at the Society’s future headquarters building in Columbia and other sites around the state in 2021. The photos will also be featured in a digital collection on the Missouri 2021 website.

The project will create a lasting visual retrospective of the state’s physical and cultural landscape at the time of its bicentennial. The 200 selected photos will become part of SHSMO’s permanent bicentennial collection, where they will remain available to researchers, teachers, students, and the general public.

Learn More about My Missouri 2021

The Missouri 2021 Endorsement Program creates a media partnership with local organizations seeking to develop and host their own bicentennial activities or to brand existing community offerings for the bicentennial year. Endorsed programs and events receive acknowledgment from the State Historical Society and are granted permission to use Missouri 2021 logos according to established guidelines. Endorsed programs or events will also be publicized on the Missouri 2021 website. See the current list of projects.

Learn More about Endorsements

Mirina Firman holding award.

Marina Firman

Emilty Blunt holding award

Emilty Blunt

Please join the Bicentennial Committee in congratulating Emily Blunt and Marina Firman! Blunt’s website, Give Me a Hand and I’ll Make My Living Like Every Other Man: The Conflict and Compromise of the 1939 Sharecroppers’ Strike in Southeast Missouri, and Firman’s paper, Premium Standard Farms: Innovation in the Pork Industry Brings Conflict and Compromise, were selected as the 2018 Show-Me Prize Winners at the National History Day in Missouri state contest on April 28. Both students competed in the senior individual category.

The award, established in 2014, is presented to the best individual senior division entry in any category that showcases a significant development in Missouri history or demonstrate how a Missourian contributed to significant events in national or international history.

Historic map being restored.

The materials used to repair and store historic maps such as this one can affect how the item ages.

The State Historical Society of Missouri received an overwhelming response to its call for 2018 Brownlee Grants applications. SHSMO received 55 submissions from 33 different Missouri counties requesting funding from the available pool of $5,000. Ten institutions received funding, largely for the purchase of archival supplies.

The Society’s conservator, Erin Kraus, said she is encouraged that so many institutions applied with the intent of expanding their conservation efforts. “Storage materials can make the difference between objects lasting for centuries versus just decades,” she said.

Grant recipient Kathy Smith, executive director of the Historical Society of Lee’s Summit Museum, said the museum will use its award to extend the life of its collections and control the effects of past flooding. The museum also experiences ongoing water issues in its historic building, a former post office built in 1939.

“We installed the proper devices to ensure we would have humidity control,” Smith said. “This did help in preserving our artifacts but did not prevent some mold and mildew damage.”

To help control the problem, the museum has worked with a conservator recommended by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to develop a plan for the site and to eradicate mold and mildew. But like many organizations, the Lee’s Summit organization has more needs than funds.

“We are out of tubs and need shelving to keep our collections from getting wet should we flood again,” Smith said. “Five hundred dollars goes a long way to help us protect the balance of our artifacts.”

For those stretching their budget, Kraus suggests getting started with the right materials and expanding in phases. “The storage materials used with historical collections are crucial to their long-term preservation,” she said. “Proper storage can provide protection from dust, light, water, pests, and physical forces that will harm historical objects.”

In addition to the Historical Society of Lee’s Summit Museum, 2018 Brownlee Grants are supporting the Cape River Heritage Museum in Cape Girardeau; the Rusche Park Board of the City of Marthasville; the Friends of Historic Boonville; the Hallsville Historical Society; the Harrison County Genealogical Society in Bethany; the Macon County Historical Society Museum in Macon; the Missouri Pacific Historical Society in St. Louis; the Reynolds County Museum in Ellington; and the Stone County Historical and Genealogical Society in Galena.

The State Historical Society of Missouri plans to offer Brownlee Grants in 2019, and bicentennial projects will again be an area of focus. Watch SHSMO publications and the website for the call for proposals, which should be announced this fall.