From Civil War battlefields to the homes of legendary authors, scientists, musicians and statesmen, Missouri’s historic sites, museums and monuments tell the stories of significant places and people from the past.
Discover how a young boy growing up in the small Mississippi River town of Hannibal became one of the world's most beloved authors. Explore the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum to experience the Hannibal Samuel Clemens knew. The complex includes six historically significant buildings and two interactive museums whose collections include 15 original Norman Rockwell paintings and a wealth of Twain artifacts.
Tour the modest flat at the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site in St. Louis where the composer wrote his famous ragtime classics "The Entertainer" and "Easy Winners" The apartment, lit by gaslight, contains furnishings from 1902. An antique player piano fills the home with the King of Ragtime's music.
Located in Missouri’s oldest town, Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park tells the story of the first permanent European settlement in Missouri and preserves some of the oldest and rarest French colonial architecture in the country. The park’s historic buildings include the Amoureux House, a rare poteaux-en-terre (post-in-ground) structure built in 1792. Its walls were formed with vertical cedar logs set directly into the earth. Only five such houses still stand in the United States – and three of those are located in Ste. Genevieve.
During the early months of the Civil War in 1861, four earthen forts were built around the city of Cape Girardeau. The forts were designed by German-American engineers and built by soldiers, under the direction of Lt. John Wesley Powell, who later gained fame for his exploration of the Grand Canyon. Of the four forts, only Fort D remains. It is now a historic site listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Visit the Ulysses S. Grant Monument in Ironton where the brigadier general received his commission. Fittingly, the bronze statue commemorating the event portrays an image of an average enlisted fighting man. It is located in a serene setting near the Ste. Marie Du Lac church.
In 1946 at Westminster College in Fulton, Winston Churchill delivered one of the most significant speeches of his long and illustrious career. That address, best known as the "Iron Curtain Speech," effectively marked the beginning of the Cold War and forever linked the statesman to the town and the college. America’s National Churchill Museum includes the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, designed by renowned architect Christopher Wren and partially destroyed during the London Blitz of 1940-41. The church was relocated to the museum grounds, reconstructed and restored in the 1960s.
One of the first historically Black colleges in the country, Lincoln University was established in 1866 in Jefferson City by the men of the 62nd and 65th United States Colored Infantries and their white officers to provide educational opportunities for freed slaves. The Soldiers Memorial Plaza, located on the campus of Lincoln University, is a tribute to the men of the 62nd and 65th Colored Infantries who served in the Civil War and founded the university.
Learn about the brave men who rode horseback through the wilderness to deliver mail at the Pony Express National Museum in St. Joseph. The relay system could take mail from St. Joseph more than 2,000 miles west to California in about 10 days instead of the 20 to 60 days it took traveling by stagecoach.
Walk in the footsteps of an American legend at the Walt Disney Hometown Museum in Marceline. The animation pioneer lived in the town for a few short years, but the community had a lasting impact on him and his work. Main Street USA at Disneyworld and Disneyland was modeled after Marceline’s downtown. Explore more than 10,000 square feet of gallery space filled with Disney family artifacts, displayed inside the town’s restored 1913 Santa Fe Railway Station.
Visit the boyhood home of General of the Armies, John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, the highest ranking military officer in U.S. history. Pershing lived in Laclede from 1866 until he left for West Point in 1882. Tours the house and exhibits in the Prairie Mound School.
Fought on August 10, 1861, the Battle of Wilson's Creek was a pivotal conflict in Missouri and the second major battle of the Civil War. A five-mile self-guided driving tour at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, located near Republic, takes visitors through the battlefield where than 2,500 Union and Confederate soldiers were killed, wounded or declared missing during the five hours of intense fighting.
Explore the birthplace and legacy of a famed African American scientist, educator and humanitarian at the George Washington Carver National Monument in Diamond. Carver discovered 300 uses for peanuts and hundreds more for soybeans, pecans and sweet potatoes. The national monument is the first one dedicated to a black American and the first to honor someone other than a president.
Harry S. Truman, the only Missourian ever elected president of the United States, was born in Lamar in 1884. Tour the small frame house where the future president where was born, filled with period furnishings, at the Harry S Truman Birthplace State Historic Site.