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Escape the cold while visiting history exhibits this season

by India Garrish | January 6, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.
Buildings within the Missouri Capitol Complex offer a glimpse into the state's law-making process.


When the weather outside is frightful, staying inside can be so delightful. If you want to learn about historic places in Jefferson City while staying warm, there are many that can be seen indoors.

State government

Located on the first floor of the state Capitol building, the Missouri State Museum at 201 W. Capitol Ave. showcases its rich history on-site where government decisions are made daily. In addition to the Missouri Bicentennial timeline, an illustration which stretches 80 feet, the "Missouri Trailblazers" exhibit is the largest in the museum. It explores Missourians who championed change in the medical field, human rights issues, innovations and rock 'n' roll. To see all of their exhibits, stop by 8 a.m-5 p.m. Monday-Sunday. Admission is free.

Learn more about the federal judicial process at the Christopher S. Bond U.S. Court House at 80 Lafayette St. Choose a building tour to learn about the architecture and functions of its structure, or hear more about the agencies involved in the court system through its educational tours. Pop over to the Heritage Hall Exhibit to learn about the history of the Federal Judiciary. Walk in tours are welcome 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tours are free of charge but require notice one month in advance; call 573-659-7036 or email [email protected] to schedule a tour.

Want to know why state records have permanent value? Visit the Missouri State Archives at 600 W. Main St. to view the repository for all state records and see how they're identified, preserved and made available to the public. The Archives are open 8 a.m.-5 p.m Monday, Tuesday and Friday; 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday; and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free.

The Missouri Supreme Court Building at 207 W. High St. offers insight to visitors and hosts tours about the state's highest court. Its library located on the second floor contains more than 110,000 volumes about state and federal courts and laws, which are available to the public. Tours are available 9-11 a.m. and 2-3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free, but visitors are encouraged to schedule 24 hours in advance.

Programs and Public Servants

The Missouri Veterinary Medical Foundation Museum at 2500 Country Club Drive is one of a kind as the only museum in the U.S. dedicated to veterinary medicine. Its mission is to preserve state history through a museum, library and educational center. The museum holds more than 1,000 veterinary medicine artifacts dating from the 16th century to present day. To view its resources, visit 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free.

Located on the base level of the Missouri State Highway Patrol's General Headquarters at 1510 E. Elm St., the Colonel Alvin R. Lubker Memorial Safety & Education Center offers displays, including vehicles and equipment, that tell the history of MSHP. Included is a memorial dedication to the 31 troopers who were killed in the line of duty since 1931, when the Patrol was founded. Admission is free, and the public can visit 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

To learn more about the state's military, visit the Museum of Missouri Military History located at 2405 Logistics Road. Inside the Missouri National Guard's Ike Skelton Training Center, you'll find exhibits with artifacts ranging from the Revolutionary War to present day. On your way in, spot an F-15 Eagle fighter, F-4 Phantom II fighter, Sherman tank, Sheridan tank and a C-130 Hercules on display outside. The Museum is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free and photographs are allowed.

Chart your own course

If you're looking to get out of the house but still stay warm in your car, consider a driving tour of Cole County's National Register of Historic Places. These historic buildings, districts, sites, structures and objects have been approved by the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office and administered by the National Park Service as part of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. Currently, Missouri boasts more than 2,500 listings -- some might be familiar, like the Governor's Mansion, East End Drugs, Jefferson City National Cemetery and parts of Lincoln University's campus. To view the historic sites, visit the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' interactive map at bit.ly/3zxx7BB.

Seeking to stay home but still learn some Missouri history? There are online options for you. The Missouri State Museum features resources from their gallery "Missouri Trailblazers" and a digital exhibit, "Slavery's Echoes," on their website at bit.ly/3t2EmjQ. The Cole County Historical Society and Museum may be closed due to COVID-19, but it still boasts information on exhibits, photographs, cultural resources and tips on digging into state history on your own. Visit their website at colecountyhistoricalmuseum.org/.

Know of other historic sites worthy of a winter's afternoon adventure? Let us know by emailing [email protected]


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