Missouri History Museum

See the Spirit of St. Louis and Civil War love letters, among hundreds of other artifacts, at this center devoted to the city’s story.

The Missouri History Museum presents the story of how the state, and particularly St. Louis, has grown over the past decade. Browse through hundreds of historic photographs, as well as interactive exhibits. There are also events hosted here throughout the year. 

The permanent collection includes an eclectic array of artifacts. Check out an ornate Chinese desk from the 1904 World’s Fair and learn about Charles Lindbergh’s historic flight in the Spirit of Saint Louis plane. There are also temporary exhibits, which in the past have covered topics such as the history of Gridiron and the Ice Age. Check the museum’s official website for details about current exhibits.

The Missouri History Museum was founded in 1866. The original neoclassical building, which sits on the site of the entrance to the 1904 World’s Fair, was built in 1913. Today it houses the entrance to the museum and the permanent collection. Two galleries focus on the history of St. Louis, and a third tells the story of the 1904 World’s Fair through photographs and memorabilia. 

Don't miss the highlight of the permanent collection: a replica of the Spirit of St. Louis plane is suspended from the ceiling of the Great Hall. It was used in the 1957 film of the same name.

Children are catered to with puzzles, video stations and games spread throughout the exhibits. 

Sign up for one of the museum’s many events. Enjoy poetry and jazz sessions, and listen to curators discuss the exhibits. 

The museum’s restaurant prides itself on “dining with local influence” and uses produce from around the region. Book a reservation online to secure a table for the popular weekend brunch or lunch during the week. Stop by the gift shop to pick up a book on St. Louis.

The Missouri History Museum is located at the northern end of Forest Park, just west of downtown. It’s open daily and entrance to the permanent collection is free. Sometimes the temporary exhibits charge a small admission fee; check at the front desk before you head in. Parking at the site is limited, but it’s an easy Metro train ride from downtown.

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