Friday, June 6, 2014

History Museum of St.Louis

We have seen quite a few of the cakes, as the one pictured above, located around St.Louis ever since we have arrived here about a month ago.   We came upon this one in front of the Art Museum, in the background is Art Hill.   We saw others in front of the Jewel Box, as well as in the Cherokee Neighborhood of  South St.Louis, which we visited last week.  What a wonderful way to acknowledge the 250th birthday of St.Louis!  And I am proud to say that it has been my home for 40 of those years.  Seeing those decorated cakes sparked an interest in me to learn more about the city's history, so John and I spent an afternoon at the St.Louis History Museum.  Before entering the museum we noticed an outline of the Louisiana Purchase.
An important event in St.Louis history is the St.Louis 1904 World's Fair, which came about to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase.  I must admit that I never had a good concept of the size of the land involved with this treaty, and so this sidewalk drawing of it helped.  The United States bought the land from France in 1803 for $15 million dollars.  It included land from as far east as Alabama and westward into what is Montana.  Owning that land made it possible for our country to pursue westward expansion to the Pacific Ocean.  This would be a good segue into a discussion of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which started near St.Louis in 1804- but I will leave that for my next posting.
In the entry hall of the museum is a statue of Thomas Jefferson, who was president at the time of the Louisiana Purchase.  The museum known, as the Jefferson Memorial Building, was built in 1914 with funds from the St.Louis World Fair.
Currently the museum has a wonderful exhibit featuring St.Louis history.  It has accomplished that by focusing on fifty people, fifty places in St.Louis, 50 moments in its history, as well as fifty objects (artifacts) which belong to the city's history.  I spent a good deal of my time reading about the fifty different people who have  impacted the city in their own unique ways- from a founding father, to a clown and a Cardinal, baseball player and aviator, to a writer, social activist and an environmentalist.  That was just to name a few of the fifty people which the museum chose as being important to St.Louis over the years.
The fifty objects relating to St.Louis were also fascinating to me.  The museum displayed the uniform of  a Brown baseball player, as well as the dress of a Ted Drewes worker some fifty years ago.  Pictured above is the flag of St.Louis.  The black lines demonstrate the confluence of its two major rivers, the medallion represents the fleur-de-lis of the French heritage, and the colors are of the various countries associated with the city- which are Spain, France and the United States.   I have written in this posting about only a small fraction of what I learned about St.Louis at the History Museum,  it was certainly an afternoon well spent!

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