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.
The State Historical Society’s Show-Me Awards encourage National History Day in Missouri students to investigate a key development in Missouri history or explore how a Missourian contributed to a significant national or international event. Students chosen for the awards receive $50, learn more about their state, and have a chance to see their work included in Missouri’s bicentennial observances.
The awards were created in 2014 to promote engagement with Missouri history among National History Day participants and to raise awareness of the upcoming 200th anniversary of Missouri joining the Union on August 10, 1821.
Each year, the State Historical Society of Missouri issues up to five awards of $50 each to students presenting individual entries on Missouri history topics in the senior division of the state competition. The award recipients grant the Society permission to showcase their National History Day projects in promotional efforts for Missouri’s bicentennial. Students must apply for the awards in order to be considered.
Learn more about special prizes through the application. Be sure to have students apply before March 30.
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
Missouri 2021 is excited to share that grants are available if you are looking for funding to start your observances of the bicentennial of Missouri’s statehood in 2021! The State Historical Society of Missouri announced it will offer funding in 2018 to local Missouri cultural heritage institutions in support of their efforts to preserve historic material and provide programming on local history topics, including bicentennial projects.
SHSMO will award up to $500 per calendar year, per organization, through Brownlee Grants, named in memory of Dr. Richard S. Brownlee, the Society’s executive director from 1960 to 1985. A maximum of $5,000 in total grants will be awarded in January, and the grant period will run through the end of 2018.
“Five hundred dollars doesn’t sound like much, but from my experience, for local organizations that can be the difference between having the supplies they need or not,” said Gary Kremer, SHSMO executive director. “It can also mean being able to host a workshop or bring in a special lecturer for programs that otherwise might not be possible.”
SHSMO is accepting applications now through December 15 for projects in one of three focus areas: historical records preservation, educational or programming activities, and observances of the bicentennial of Missouri’s statehood in 2021.
“The Missouri Bicentennial will be here before we know it, and the Brownlee Grants are a wonderful way to ensure that we are commemorating the uniqueness of our communities,” said Michael Sweeney, SHSMO’s Missouri Bicentennial coordinator. “While meeting with people around the state, we are learning that local history is as important to individuals as our state history. Missourians tend to experience global issues through a local lens.”
Grants are available to Missouri cultural heritage institutions, and preference will be given to local historical societies.
“We look forward to supporting a wide variety of local projects and in turn many of our communities throughout the state,” Sweeney said. “Helping cities and towns across the state preserve our history and start working on ways they would like to celebrate our 200th year is a wonderful way to honor Dr. Brownlee.”
Missourians are a dynamic, innovative, and persistent group of people. From the river valleys to the Ozark Mountains and from the rich farmlands to the urban centers, Missouri has bred, welcomed, and challenged individuals. Builders, farmers, explorers, scientists, leaders, and artists of all kinds have risen to the occasion, enriching the Show-Me State we know today with their contributions.
The Missouri Bicentennial provides a once-in-a-lifetime occasion to consider, commemorate, and celebrate the history and culture of the state and the unique role of its many and diverse communities in shaping its past, present, and future. Encouraging people to consider their own Missouri story, the State Historical Society of Missouri is creating projects aimed at engaging all Missourians.
The mission of Missouri 2021 is to promote a better understanding of Missouri, its regions, communities, and people, both past and present. The bicentennial of Missouri statehood will provide opportunities for citizens to celebrate and explore the rich history and diversity of the state and to share their unique perspectives.
Thank you for your continued support and interest in the Missouri Bicentennial. Stay up-to-date on the planning process and ways you may be involved by subscribing to emails. You can also follow Missouri 2021 on Facebook to learn more about the Show-Me State.