Living History

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Visit Missouri’s Fascinating Exhibits
Author: Missouri Tourism
Missouri tells thousands of stories. From Lewis and Clark’s nation-changing expedition to the pivotal Dred Scott case, so much history has unfolded right here. Our state’s many museums delight history scholars and intrigue curious newcomers.

Take the Civil War buffs in your family to Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis. This historic St. Louis County park and military cemetery hosts The Civil War in Missouri and the Midwest between Feb. 2 and Nov. 20. Visit the free exhibit and see uniforms, weapons and equipment. Informative panels tell the story of the numerous battles fought in Missouri between 1861 and 1865.

In Hannibal, visitors are welcome to explore the home of one of America’s most influential writers, Mark Twain. The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, in the river town from which Twain drew many of his best ideas, is a can’t-miss stop. Take a tour of the Boyhood Home, check out Judge Clemens’ Justice of the Peace Office, peruse Grant’s Drug Store, and visit other Twain-related locations.

Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, two of Twain’s most memorable characters, found fun wherever they went. The kids in your family are destined to find fun at the Bootheel Youth Museum in Malden. This one-of-a-kind museum brings Missouri history to life. The journey starts at the Bootheel Youth Museum Children’s Village, where kids can milk Daisy the Cow, challenge themselves with an obstacle course, and climb inside a gigantic bubble. Then, it’s time to step onto the trail Lewis and Clark blazed. Take a ride up the Missouri River on a keel boat, seek out bats in Tavern Cave, pay a visit to Sacagawea’s house, climb the Rocky Mountains – all at the Bootheel Youth Museum.

Families interested in aviation’s past should take flight to the Airline History Museum in Kansas City. Flying didn’t always mean long lines and security checks. During the Golden Age of Aviation, air travel meant romance and adventure. Learn about those bygone days through collections of photographs, artifacts, displays of uniforms, logbooks, galley items and other interesting memorabilia. The Airline History Museum pays special attention to TWA, once Kansas City’s home airline. Step inside the hangar to see an impressive aircraft collection, including a rare Martin 404 and a fully restored Lockheed L1049 Super G Constellation.

The Nicholas-Beazley Aviation Museum in Marshall features plenty of fascinating exhibits, many designed specifically for young attendees. Restored aircraft and videotaped stories from airline professionals provide a fun history lesson.

Speaking of fun, sports fans of all ages can’t go wrong with a visit to the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. This must-see Springfield institution highlights the best and brightest of our state’s sports stars. Be sure to allow plenty of time to explore; the Hall of Fame is 32,000 square feet and contains more than 4,000 sports archives. Have a blast with the interactive exhibits, allowing you to swing at a Major League pitch, provide color commentary from the announcer’s booth, zip around the track in a NASCAR simulator, and other activities.

 Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum
Discover how a young boy growing up in the small village of Hannibal became one of the world's most ...