Study an Earlier Period in Our History

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Article Tags:

Museums , museum exhibits , museums , educational museum
Museums Introduce You to Missouri’s Past
Author: Scott McCullough

A history museum is more than just paintings hanging on a wall.  It has the power to transport you to a time where the old shaped the future and new becomes the past. In our ever-changing world, discover what was and learn how it helped create the now.

Transportation wasn’t always a smooth ride in an air-conditioned car; nope. Stagecoaches, traveling about five miles per hour, covering 60-70 miles a day (in good weather) were familiar vehicles across the vast expanse of the American West. The stagecoach was a difficult, uncomfortable and often dangerous conveyance. Built in the 1850s, The Old Stagecoach Stop in Waynesville is a 10-room museum where each room is restored to a different usage and era in the building's history. Guides discuss the history of the building as stage stop and tavern; a Civil War hospital; a hotel; a dentist’s office; and a boarding house.

Even tougher than stages were the covered wagons and buckboards carrying an estimated 400,000 people on their migration westward, 1840-1860, with Independence, Missouri, being the major "jumping-off" point. The National Frontier Trails Museum in Independence is the only museum in the nation certified by the National Park Service as an interpretive site, museum, library and archive for five national historic trails: Lewis and Clark Trail; Santa Fe Trail; Oregon Trail; California Trail; and Mormon Trail. Exhibits, films and artifacts tell the story of the exploration, acquisition, and settlement of the American West.

Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957) was a writer and editor most noted for her Little House series of books which are based upon her childhood in a pioneer family. In 1894, her husband, Almanzo, moved the family to Rocky Ridge Farm, on the outskirts of Mansfield, Missouri. The Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum, 45 miles east of Springfield, preserves the farmhouse where she wrote her world-famous books. The museum houses the most comprehensive collection of Ingalls/Wilder memorabilia in the world, including Pa's fiddle, handwritten manuscripts of some Little House books, keepsakes of the Ingalls and Wilder families, and many items familiar to readers.

On November 8, 1861, federal soldiers entered the nearly abandoned town of Bloomfield, Missouri and set up camp. To pass the time, some soldiers commandeered an abandoned newspaper office and published an impromptu newspaper they christened, The Stars and Stripes. Now headquartered in Washington, D.C., the paper continues to serve men and women in the U.S. military to this day. Back where it all began, in Bloomfield, the Stars and Stripes Museum and Library contains more than 7,000 square-feet of exhibits covering the history and evolution of this legendary publication from the Civil War to today’s conflicts.

Built in 1867, a stately home sits at the south end of Kimmswick, beside the Mississippi River. The beer brewing Anheuser family bought the estate in 1916 and used it as a summerhouse until 1945, when Mabel-Ruth and Frederick Anheuser made it their permanent residence. Fred's great grandfather, Eberhard Anheuser, was the founder of E. Anheuser Brewing Company, later to become Anheuser-Busch. The Anheuser Museum and Estate includes family heirlooms, antiques, portraits and a family library. The grounds feature splendid views of the river and its indigenous wildlife. Private events may be scheduled on the property.


 Old Stagecoach Stop Museum
Built in the 1850s, the Old Stagecoach Stop is a 10-room museum. Each room is restored to a different ...

 National Frontier Trails Museum - Independence
Independence was the major "jumping-off" point for the American West. This is an interpretive museum, ...

 Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum
Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote her beloved Little House books while living at Rocky Ridge Farm, near Mansfield. ...

 Stars and Stripes Museum and Library
Stars and Stripes, the newspaper for men and women in the U.S. military, started here with the publication ...

 Anheuser Museum and Estate
The museum is in the ancestral home of Fred and Mabel Ruth Anheuser. It is located 25 miles south of ...