Missouri Museums Focus on History, Culture


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Art and History , culture , educational museum , Museums , museums , science museum
Make a connection with Missouri's past.
Author: Stephen Foutes
Tucked away in the lower level of the rustic and beautiful Top of the Rock, near Branson, you find the Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum, where a collection of American Indian relics, including a jaw-dropping assortment of arrowheads, are highlights. The museum essentially takes you on a trip through time, and a history of the Missouri Ozarks, as exhibits focus on everything from prehistoric creatures (with cool names like the Terror Bird) to the Civil War.

It’s about a three-hour drive from Branson to Independence, where a variety of attractions focus on the only Missourian ever elected president: Harry S. Truman. The Truman Presidential Library and Museum has vast amounts of information, including personal papers and photographs, on the country’s 33rd president. One of the highlights of a trip to the museum is the White House Decision Center, where you assume the role of Truman and/or his advisors as they face difficult decisions impacting history.

Across the state in St. Louis, more history unfolds at the Griot Museum of Black History and Culture. At the museum, you learn about important events and prominent figures who shaped regional and national history. Exhibits feature life-size wax figures of people who had a positive, lasting impact on society, and detail stories of Dred and Harriet Scott, Josephine Baker and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., among others. The Griot Museum also houses a slave cabin that once stood on a Missouri plantation.

A little more than two hours from downtown St. Louis, in Cape Girardeau, more early American history is found at the Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum.  Among the most notable artifacts are those relating to American Indian cultures and those who lived in the area between 13,500 B.C and 1400 A.D. Artifacts include 900 ceramic vessels and effigy fragments and about 2,000 stone tools.

A unique and perhaps surprising piece of Missouri history unfolds at the National Churchill Museum in Fulton, where Sir Winston Churchill delivered his famed “Iron Curtain” speech in 1946 at Westminster College. The museum is located below the circa 1677 St. Mary the Virgin Aldermanbury church, which was moved to Fulton from London, England, in the 1960s and rebuilt to original architect Christopher Wren’s specifications. The museum’s interactive exhibits include a light-and-sound show designed to demonstrate the real-life experience of an air raid over London. Outside the church and museum are two sculptures, including one entitled “Breakthrough,” which is constructed from eight sections of the Berlin Wall.
These are but a few samples of the fascinating attractions in Missouri, home to a variety of museums geared for young visitors. Continue exploring VisitMO.com to read more about Missouri’s museums and start planning your Show-Me State getaway today.

  Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum
Created to celebrate the fascinating history and stunning natural beauty of the Ozarks, the Ancient ...

  Harry S. Truman Library and Museum
The Truman Library offers theaters, a museum store and dozens of interactive and hands-on exhibits designed ...

  The Griot Museum of Black History
Through compelling core exhibits, dynamic touring shows and educational/entertaining public programs, ...

  Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum
The museum features the Crossroads Gallery, which includes exhibits and interactive kiosks highlighting ...

  National Churchill Museum
In 1946, at Westminster College in Fulton, Winston Churchill delivered one of the most significant speeches ...