Missouri History Museum
(The Jefferson Memorial)
Dedicated on April 30, 1913, on the 10th anniversary of the dedication of the World's Fair, the Jefferson Memorial is located at the site of the main entrance of the exposition.
At the close of the fair, any financial surplus was to be equally divided among the federal government, the City of St. Louis and the exposition company's stockholders. It was later realized that proceeds from the salvage would produce an amount sufficient to carry out the plan for a permanent memorial to Thomas Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase.
An agreement was reached among the three principals involved and about $450,000 was made available for the building, designed by Isaac Taylor, the fair's Director of Works.
Since the idea for the World's Fair had originated in the rooms of the Missouri Historical Society, it was decided to house "The Missouri Historical Society" in the new building, which also was to be a repository for records of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.
The society was founded in 1866 and was supported by dues and contributions. The Missouri History Museum has the largest collection of information and memorbilia from the 1904 World's Fair, and also includes rare exhibits of American firearms and military trophies from the Revolution to the Civil War.
Other collections feature the growth of St. Louis, prehistoric mound builders, firearms and costumes. The famed Charles A. Lindbergh collection includes many items used in his 1927 Paris flight and a replica of his plane, "The Spirit of St. Louis" hangs in the new exhibit hall. Many Lewis and Clark Expedition items are also on display.
Augmented financial support from activities of the Society's Women's Association, such as the Country Store and the annual Flea Market, made possible the completion of its new underground addition in 1973. This included an auditorium, additional exhibit areas and storage space surrounding a lower level courtyard.
The classic Jefferson Memorial Building consists of two wings joined by a rotunda which contains a seated marble statue of Thomas Jefferson by Karl Bitter.
The Emerson Center, opened in February, 2000, greatly expands the museum, allowing for more exhibit space, new gift shop and restaurant.
Find out more at Missouri Historical Society or call 746-4599.