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/
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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org; 573-881-4464 cell.
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.
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.
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.
COLUMBIA, MISSOURI, Sept. 29, 2020 – Missouri students in grades 3-12 have until Oct. 31. 2020 to submit their poster design to commemorate Missouri’s bicentennial in 2021. Judges representing the Missouri Bicentennial Commission will select four posters to commemorate Missouri’s bicentennial of statehood. Selected posters will best interpret the theme: Sharing Missouri’s stories: past, present and future.
Each student entry must be sponsored by an eligible institution, which includes public and private schools, home-school networks, nonprofit arts agencies, cultural heritage institutions and public libraries. The commission welcomes sponsoring organizations to help facilitate the contest while some students are learning remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Complete guidelines and the online submission form can be found at missouri2021.org/bicentennial-poster.
Judges will select four final designs including two from grades 3-6 and two from grades 7-12. Each winner will receive $200 and will be recognized at the poster unveiling ceremony. The Bicentennial Commission is partnering with Hallmark Creative Marketing Studio to develop 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 chosen by the Missouri Bicentennial Commission will serve as a lasting reminder of the bicentennial. Students, teachers, and parents can find educational materials related to the centennial poster at the website for the Bicentennial Poster page.
Missouri 2021 is a statewide initiative of the State Historical Society of Missouri to promote a better understanding of Missouri and its regions, communities and people, both past and present. Keep updated on all Missouri 2021 happenings at missouri2021.org and by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @missouri2021.
COLUMBIA, MO, Oct. 6, 2020 - Amateur and professional photographers from mid Missouri and across the state are represented in the current exhibition My Missouri 2021 now on display at the State Historical Society of Missouri. The 16, 8-foot long panels feature a selection of the images chosen for the bicentennial photo contest and capture Missouri in all four seasons: fall, winter, spring and summer. More than 1000 entries were received in the photo contest with 200 images chosen for the My Missouri 2021 project that is also available online in a digital exhibition at https://missouri2021.org/my-missouri-2021-digital-exhibition/. “All photographs on display for the My Missouri 2021 exhibition were carefully selected to represent the unique aspects of Missouri’s physical and cultural landscape. The selected photographs are a wonderful representation of the unique geographical and cultural diversity of the state,” said Michael Sweeney, bicentennial coordinator for the State Historical Society of Missouri. The photo display is traveling around the state for the public to safely view during the pandemic. Mid-Missouri residents can stop by to see the free exhibit during regular visiting hours in the main lobby of the State Historical Society of Missouri, 605 Elm St., Tuesday – Friday, 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. The exhibit runs through Oct. 31 in Columbia before it travels to Kirksville where it will be on display at the Sue Ross Art Center from Nov. 4 – 23. Shelter Insurance is the platinum sponsor of the traveling exhibition designed by PRO Expo Exhibits of St. Louis, the gold sponsor for the show. The exhibit is also supported by contributors to the State Historical Society of Missouri. The State Historical Society of Missouri is the premier research center for the study of Missouri state and local history. Under the Missouri 2021 banner, SHSMO is coordinating a bicentennial commemoration in collaboration with local and statewide entities. The mission of Missouri 2021 is to promote a better understanding of Missouri and its regions, communities and people, both past and present. Learn more about Missouri’s bicentennial activities at missour2021.org
My Missouri 2021 Photo Exhibition at State Historical Society of Missouri through Oct. 31