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St. Joseph, Missouri – where memories are made and kept in a museum

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By Wayne Lazarus on November 9th, 2010

Categories: Linda's Travel Articles

St. Joseph calls itself a Western town, the home of the Pony Express and the end of Jesse James. But it could also call itself a town where memories are made and many have found their way into a local museum. There are 13 museums here. Below are just a few of the highlights:

mammothFur trader Joseph Robidoux founded the town of St. Joseph in 1843 and built a series of connected houses, like modern apartments, so that newcomers would have a place to live. (He later lived there himself.) Some are still standing and are now a museum that showcases the history of the early town, called Robidoux Row.

More of the history of the area can be found at the St. Joseph Museum. As a gateway to the west for both wagon trains and steamboats, the city’s history necessarily includes a lot of our country’s great exodus west. An extensive Native American section and a Lewis and Clark expedition display are permanent exhibits.  Missouri was divided during the Civil War and St. Joseph saw a lot of turmoil. In April, 2011 the museum will open an exhibit on Civil War Medicine.

Peyote Fan - St. Joseph Museum Collection-1Three other museums are part of the St. Joseph Museum system. The Black Archives Museum has exhibits on the Undeground Railroad, which was very active here, and desegragation, African-American music and sports.

The Glore Psyciatric Museum chronicles the history of the treatment of the mental illness. It was recognized as one of the 50 most unusual museums in the country and has been profiled on a number of television documentaries.

Just a few miles away is the Wyeth Toole Musuem, managed by the St. Joseph Museum. It is a Gothic-style mansion built in 1879 and decorated in Victorian style.

One collection that didn’t make it into St. Joseph was an extensive collection of dolls, which was left to the museum by a local teacher. When the dolls went up for auction, a group of ladies raised the money to purchase them and started the Society of Memories Doll Museum.

babymammothClick here to ready my post last spring abut the Pony Express Museum, the Patee House Museum and Pony Express Headquarters (which includes the Jesse James home.)

You won’t want to leave St. Joseph without seeing the woolley mammoth and its baby at the Remington Nature Center. The most fascinating of its many exhibits, they are replica size but the display shows how big they actually could be. The center also has mammoth bones, teeth and a tusk found in Northwest Missouri on display.

Photos courtesy St. Joseph Museum and Remington Nature Center, used with permission.

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