Drawing upon its voluminous collection of photographs, books, and paper records the Missouri State Archives creates colorful exhibits that tell the stories of Missouri's exciting past. The Archives shares these stories with the people of Missouri through on-line exhibits and by making exhibits available to local museums, libraries, historical societies, and educational institutions to borrow free of charge. Ideal for venues with small budgets and staff, each exhibit is easy to install and requires a minimum of security. For more information about Missouri State Archives traveling exhibits, contact Greg Olson, P. O. Box 1747, Jefferson City, MO 65102 or call 573-522-2705.
Blueprints for Democracy: Public Architecture in Missouri
When Missouri entered the Union on August 10, 1821, the permanent capitol in “The City of Jefferson” was still years from completion and the state legislature needed a temporary place to meet. The city of St. Charles lured the legislature with the promise of free meeting space. For five years, government officials conducted the state’s business on the second floor of two adjoining buildings – one a general store and the other a carpentry shop.
Now, nearly two centuries later, the State of Missouri owns hundreds of buildings in dozens of cities and towns across the state. Hospitals, classrooms, office buildings, prisons, maintenance garages and more, all play an important role in state business. County and municipal buildings likewise, have become important parts of the built environment.
Blueprints for Democracy surveys the rich history of publicly funded architecture in Missouri. From Fort Osage, which was once the U.S. military’s most westerly outpost, to the Gateway Arch, which pushed the boundaries of design and engineering, many of the state’s most significant architectural achievements have been built with public funds. Because of this, these structures often reflect our attitudes about the public good and fiscal accountability. Just as often, however, public buildings express our common dreams and aspirations. Older buildings document the ideals of past generation and help us better understand our artistic and cultural heritage.
Always functional and often aesthetically pleasing, publicly funded buildings help tell the story of state and local history.
A Legacy of Conservation:
The 75th Anniversary of the Missouri Department of Conservation
A Legacy of Conservation offers a look back at the rich 75-year history of conservation in Missouri. The Missouri State Archives draws on its collection of more than 160 cubic feet of Conservation Commission photographs, documents and publications, as well as materials provided by the Conservation Federation of Missouri, to present this exhibit.
Civil War Documents from the Missouri State Archives
An exhibit of the Missouri State Archives
Divided Loyalties: Civil War Documents from the Missouri State Archives examines the upheaval and uncertainty that characterized Missouri during the Civil War era. Drawing on more than nine million pages of Civil War-related documents and court cases, the exhibit goes beyond the stories of battles and military strategy to consider the charged atmosphere of social conflict that permeated the state for the two decades that followed the Kansas Border Wars of the mid-1850s. Through state documents, maps, images and court cases, Divided Loyalties shows that the Civil War in Missouri was not fought solely on the battlefield. The conflicts that surrounded the war were so divisive that they affected civilian and soldier alike.
The Photographs of Charles Elliott Gill
Self Portrait, Charles Elliott Gill
Charles Elliott Gill spent the early decades of the 20th century documenting the world around him with his 1906 Seroco extended view camera. Gill was one of a new generation of amateur photographers who was able to move out of the studio and into the landscape thanks to the advent of portable cameras and manufactured glass plate negatives. He utilized the freedom brought about by new technology to photograph the places, people and events that he encountered both on his travels across the continent and near his home in Dent County, Missouri.
A farmer by trade, Gill never received formal training as a photographer. Nonetheless, his images reveal he was influenced by the fine art photographers of his era and that he possessed a keen eye for detail, a flair for classical composition, and a wry sense of humor. Ozark Light features more than 100 photographs from the Missouri State Archives’ extensive collection of work by this self-taught master of black and white photography.
View the digital image collection.
Detail, survey map, La Saline Salt Works, 1806.
(Click image to view enlarged.)
This exhibit features more than 100 maps from the Archives' collection, some of which have never been shown before. Drawing from such diverse examples as the land survey maps made by Antoine Soulard in St. Louis from 1796-1806, to the computer generated Lewis and Clark maps created by Jim Harlan and the University of Missouri's Geographic Resources Center in 2002, this exhibit explores the history of cartography in Missouri and the role maps have played in our everyday lives.
Lewis & Clark Across Missouri: Mapping the Historic Landscape
The historic expedition of Lewis and Clark continues to capture the public's imagination even today – two hundred years later. With their Corps of Discovery – a crew of soldiers, trappers, French engagés, Clark's slave York, and Shoshone interpreter Sacagawea – they explored a magnificent and virtually unmapped land. Embracing that spirit of discovery, the Missouri State Archives presents this exhibit of maps portraying the Missouri River exactly as the explorers experienced it.
Combining 19th century land survey records held at the Missouri State Archives with modern mapping technology, geographers from the Geographic Resources Center at the University of Missouri gave us a new way to look at the land where the journey began – Missouri.
The maps provide the earliest mapped version of the river. Contemporary map overlays reveal the changes brought by human activity over two centuries. The maps also give the first accurate rendering of Expedition campsites and foot explorations in the territory, giving Missouri its proper place in telling this national adventure story.