From the nation-changing trek of Lewis and Clark, to the
nation-dividing battles of the Civil War, Missouri has played a major role in history.
Visitors to the Show-Me State can learn about Missouri’s fascinating history at
our many museums and historic exhibits.
A highlight of your journey is the Missouri State Archives, in the state capital of Jefferson City. The archives offer an
impressive collection of documents dating back to 1770. Visitors interested in Missouri
history and genealogical research, discover much information in the archives.
Immerse yourself in larger-than-life Missouri history at the
Martin Hotel and Stage Stop Museum in Versailles. This fascinating facility holds
a place on the National Register of Historic Places. Many famous people
slumbered there, including Grover Cleveland, Harry and Bess Truman, Jesse
James, and P.T. Barnum. Additionally, soldiers from both sides stayed at the
Martin Hotel during the Civil War (although not at the same time). Take the
family for a tour of this historic hotel.
In Arcadia, glimpse a piece of Civil War history at the Iron County History Museum. The museum’s collection features the Union battle flag
flown at the Battle of Pilot Knob. While you are there, peruse the impressive
collection of genealogy records, artifacts and photographs. The museum is in
the restored 1941 Ironton-Arcadia Depot, which is an interesting piece of
Families love the Bootheel Youth Museum,
located in Malden. This adventure-packed venue delights kids of all ages. The
museum offers hands-on activities and imagination-sparking journeys. In the
Children’s Village, examine the farm store and milk Daisy the cow. Walk in some
very famous footsteps when you explore Making
Tracks on the Lewis and Clark Trail. Keep an eye out for bats in the Tavern Cave. Venture up the Missouri
River in a keelboat. Brave the elements with a trip to the top of the Rocky
Mountains. The Bootheel Youth Museum teaches kids about history – with plenty
of math, science and art (not to mention fun) along the way.
Learn about an iconic American town at the Hannibal History Museum. Many historic moments played out in this picturesque river city.
Discover the lives of river explorers and millionaire lumber barons. Learn
about Hannibal’s role in the Civil War. Explore the historic importance of the
steamboat and the railroad. After spending time at the Hannibal History Museum,
you’ll understand why the beloved author Mark Twain found his hometown so
In St. Joseph, learn how the Pony Express revolutionized letter-carrying
in the American West. The Pony Express National Museum, housed in the original Pikes Peak Stables, invites
visitors to explore the history and the legend of the Pony Express. Exhibits
take guests back more than 150 years, to an era when brave riders trekked more
than 2,000 miles to deliver important messages.
National Frontier Trails Museum enjoys the distinction of being the only museum in
the nation certified by the National Park Service as an interpretive site for
five national historic trails: Lewis and Clark Trail; Santa Fe Trail; Oregon
Trail; California Trail; and Mormon Trail. At this Independence museum, watch
an award-winning film; explore exhibits about each of these major trails;
examine artifacts; and take a ride in a covered wagon.