Missouri Museum Madness: History

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

To honor the past, we store parts of history to be remembered and treasured in great museums across Missouri. These relics showcase the history of our state and display what is truly to be remembered and valued. There are many history museums where the Show-Me State’s past comes to life, and it doesn’t matter where you are visiting, there is a history museum near you!

Here are just a few examples:

Missouri History Museum, St. Louis, provides you with the history of Missouri from the founding in St. Louis, from 1764 to present day. With new exhibits every month, this Forest Park museum takes you back in time in the Show-Me State.

Missouri History Museum in St. Louis.
Missouri History Museum in St. Louis.


The Arabia Steamboat Museum, Kansas City, has a large collection of everyday objects that were discovered in 1988. The Arabia Steamboat sunk in the Missouri River in 1856, and 132 years later the steamboat was recovered. Today, this Museum is real-life time capsule that displays life in the mid-19th century.

Museums in St. Louis and Kansas City also examine the history of prominent American musical genres.

In St. Louis, the National Blues Museum focuses on the development of and far-reaching impact of blues music, with exhibits featuring music legends such as Chuck Berry.

Kansas City’s American Jazz Museum, in the Historic 18th and Vine District, is noted for its collection of interactive exhibits and for focusing on musicians such as Charlie Parker (who called the Kansas City area home), Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.

National World War I Museum in Kansas City.
National World War I Museum in Kansas City.


Also in Kansas City, the National World War I Museum and Memorial is dedicated to the objects, history and personal experiences of a war whose impact still echoes today; it’s the only World War I museum one in America.

Rosemary Berkel and Harry Crisp II Museum, Cape Girardeau, is located on Southeast Missouri State’s campus. The museum includes exhibits and interactive kiosks featuring the history of southeast Missouri. It is most noted for its collection of American Indian artifacts, particularly those used by people who lived in the region from 13,500 B.C. until 1400 A.D.

In the heart of Missouri, the National Churchill Museum at Westminster College, Fulton, holds an important part of the world’s history. It was the site of Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech and today is home “Breakthrough,” a sculpture that features a large section of the Berlin Wall. The church, located on site, was relocated from London and rebuilt stone by stone to original architect Sir Christopher Wren’s specifications.

Ancient Ozarks National History Museum at Top of the Rock near Branson.

Ancient Ozarks National History Museum at the Top of the Rock, Ridgedale, showcases the natural beauty of the Ozarks. The museum displays artifacts and interactive exhibits that take you to the time the Ozarks were developed. With a beautiful view from the Top of the Rock, the museum will be sure to make you fall in love with southwest Missouri.

Written by Grace Vonder Haar, former communications intern for the Missouri Division of Tourism. 

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