Show Me Missouri Digital Exhibit Provides Comprehensive History of State
August 26, 2021 — A new website tells the stunning and sometimes tragic stories of Missouri and Missourians through the lens of historically and culturally significant objects, and critical interpretation by historians and others.
This digital exhibit, showmemo.org, showcases a comprehensive account of Missouri beginning with Indigenous experiences before European contact, and extending to contemporary events. The project recognizes the remarkable aspects of Missouri history, but does not shy away from the difficult topics that have shaped the state’s history such as slavery and racial and ethnic discrimination.
Visitors can sort collections by region or chronological order, and by themes. They can study noteworthy artifacts, documents, maps, photographs, buildings, oral histories and pieces of art. Each object includes a description of its history and a statement of its significance.
Locally, the project includes items from Bass Pro Shops, Boone Historic Site, College of the Ozarks, Drury University, Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center, Greene County Archives and Records Center, History Museum on the Square, Missouri State University, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Silver Dollar City, Springfield Art Museum, Springfield-Greene County Library District, Springfield News-Leader and Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield.
Objects alone cannot tell a sweeping story of the state. Critical articles cover topics ranging from Remembering the Border War in History and Sport, to Social and Working Conditions of Enslaved Families and Communities, to German Americans in World War I.
The project is a collaboration of historians, public historians, archivists, librarians, and students across the state. The effort was led by the Department of History and the Center for Midwestern Studies at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, the Springfield-Greene County Library District, and the Kansas City Public Library.
“This collaborative project has been a rewarding challenge during COVID,” said Brian Grubbs, manager of the Local History & Genealogy Department, Springfield-Greene County Library District. “Show Me Missouri explores many facets of Missouri’s past and has provided opportunities to work with organizations across the states. Placing these images, objects and documents online will allow everyone to discover the rich history of our state remotely, and inspires users to discover more by exploring the participating institutions.”
Show Me Missouri allows Missourians an opportunity to reflect on the rich and complex history of the state during this bicentennial year, but it will exist and expand beyond this 200th year commemoration. The digital collection can continue to grow. Individuals wishing to share historically or culturally significant items of Missouri for educational purposes may use the contact form on the website.
“Projects like Show Me Missouri can make several significant contributions to history education,” said Sandra I. Enriquez, assistant professor, Department of History, University of Missouri – Kansas City. “This digital exhibit brings diverse Missouri histories to the forefront – many not reflected in textbooks – providing teachers an opportunity to connect students to their local and regional histories.”
Show Me Missouri is a Missouri 2021 endorsed project. The project is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the Missouri State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State. Additional funding provided by the Missouri Humanities Council with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area, and the Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library.