In Missouri, the show has been going on for centuries. Our state’s rich history stretches back thousands of years, to the days when the original inhabitants built their homes and societies. To visit Missouri is to experience a vibrant slice of the past – right here in the present day.
In Jefferson City, inside the state’s Capitol, the Missouri State Museum presents an outstanding historical overview of Missouri. Learn about our natural resources and history, as well as about famous Missourians, westward expansion and the Civil War in Missouri. Be sure to take a free, guided tour of the beautiful building.
In the gorgeous river town of Cape Girardeau, the Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum treats visitors to numerous exhibits exploring the history of Missouri. Talk about an "Epic Tale": This museum covers a wide variety of fascinating topics, including “First Peoples,” “Frontiers and Empires,” “River and Rail,” and “North and South.” Additionally, the Crisp Museum regularly hosts fine-art exhibits and special events.
Looking for the quintessential Mississippi River town? You’ll find it in Hannibal, the quaint place that inspired Missouri’s native son Mark Twain to write some of his most famous stories. This picturesque town has seen it all, from the journey of pioneers to the rise of the railroads to the ravages of the Civil War. Discover fascinating facts at the Hannibal History Museum and gain an appreciation of Hannibal’s heritage – and understand why Mark Twain found so much to love about the place.
In Missouri, we want everyone to enjoy the show – that’s why we offer plenty of great trip ideas on our official travel website, VisitMO.com. The Show-Me State boasts so many terrific museums, you can plan an entire vacation around them. The “Museum Madness” trip itinerary puts forth a variety of ideas to get you started. Anyone interested in medicine, history, human psychology or strange contraptions is sure to be fascinated by the Glore Psychiatric Museum, located in St. Joseph. This one-of-a-kind museum explores four centuries of psychiatric history and treatments. Exhibits include such unusual therapies as the Hollow Wheel and the Bath of Surprise.
Also along the “Museum Madness” tour, you’ll discover the Bushwhacker Museum, in the town of Nevada. The bushwhackers staged uprisings during the Civil War in order to keep their land, and to enforce their unofficial position on the conflict. Learn about their history at this museum, the attached circa 1860 stone jail, and the restored sheriff’s home.
Missouri played an integral role in the Civil War, with troops fighting on the Union and the Confederacy sides. At the Carthage Civil War Museum, uncover unexpected facts about this crucial American time. You’ll find plenty of information about the Civil War Battle of Carthage, as well as how the war unfolded in southwest Missouri.
Go way back in time at the Bollinger County Museum of Natural History, in Marble Hill. Discover a life-size model of Hypsibema missouriense, a type of dinosaur called a hadrosaur or "duck-billed" dinosaur, with a duck-like bill and more than 1,000 teeth — it is Missouri’s official dinosaur. Paleontologists unearthed this creature in Bollinger County in 1942.