The People's Tribune

‘Struggle For Statewood’ Traveling Exhibit Is Making Its Way To Vandalia Museum

Exhibit Exploring Missouri Journey To Statehood Will Be Available Sept. 23-Nov. 1

Vandalia Area Historical Society (VAHS) – is excited to announce another endeavor into the education and celebration of history.

The Vandalia Area Historical Society’s Museum will be offering residents the exceptional opportunity to explore the significance of Missouri’s statehood in a traveling exhibit that examines the conflict, crisis, and compromise surrounding its admission into the Union in commemoration of its upcoming bicentennial.

The exhibit, Struggle for Statehood will be on display at 112 South Main from Sept. 23-Nov. 1, 2019 and is one of approximately 15 host sites across the State of Missouri leading up to our bicentennial year of 2021.

The Vandalia Area Historical Society will be allocating extensive time over the following months organizing numerous activities in support of this rare and exciting opportunity.

Key focuses will be education and celebration when scheduling appropriate events. All schools in the six-county area, including Audrain, Pike, Ralls, Montgomery, Monroe and Callaway Counties are actively being sought to schedule tours of the rare opportunity. Speakers will be a large part of our education along with a secondary, highly descriptive, exhibit of prominent leaders from the six-county area during the 1800s.

This secondary exhibit is entitled “Building Missouri – Struggles and Successes”. The Vandalia Prairie Days Celebration, scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 28, 2019, will also offer multiple activities for the whole family in celebration of our State’s bicentennial. More details will be announced mid-summer.

The Struggle for Statehood exhibit explores the many facets of the Missouri crisis on both a national and local level. Learn about the history of Missouri leading up to its battle for admission and how that history shaped the future state. Consider the history of slavery in Missouri and its lasting effects on the region. Examine what it means to be a state and how that meaning differed for the diverse groups of peoples living in Missouri at the time of its admission.

“No state, I can readily assure you,” said Dr. Steve Belko, Executive Director of the Missouri Humanities Council, “entered the Union with greater fanfare.” When the residents of the Territory of Missouri petitioned Congress in 1818 for admission into the United States, a three-year-long political and ideological battle began between “free” and “slave” states, almost destroying the very union Missouri sought to join. The political upheaval was temporarily resolved with the “Missouri Compromise,” in which Maine entered the Union as a free state, and Missouri – a slave state – became the 24th state in the United States of America. But Missouri’s admission to the Union laid bare the undercurrents of division over slavery and the increasingly fraught political balance between the North and South that would culminate in the American Civil War. In the two centuries since its admission, Missouri has become an integral part of the nation. Our state’s approaching bicentennial is a unique opportunity for all Missourians to commemorate and better understand its history.

The exhibit was developed by the Missouri Humanities Council in consultation with the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy and is supported by The Bicentennial Alliance. Companion programming has been made possible in part from funding provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Missouri Humanities (MH) is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The organization strives to enrich lives and strengthen communities by connecting Missourians with the people, places, and ideas that shape our society. For more information: www.mohumanities.org | @mohumanities.

In conjunction with the exhibit the Vandalia Summer Reading Program at the Vandalia Library will tour the musuem on Monday, July 22 at 1 p.m., the program will be over Missouri state symbols.

All planned events and programs are free.

Sept. 28 – Nov. 2 the Vandalia Area Historical museum will also have exhibits about — 1820’s – enslaved (farming) Johnson Family Paynesville, Pike County, 1822 Russella Easton – father was the 1st Attorney General, St. Charles, where the first capitol waslocated, 1819 Mohongo (Sacred Sun) Osage Indian, and 1818 -Joseph Bogy III , Ste. Genevieve. We are also building an exhibit of early settlers to this northeast part of the state.

The Historical Society’s focus is on getting schools and organizations from Audrain, Pike, Ralls, Monroe, Callaway, and Montgomery counties to schedule a tour during the month of October. Letters and e-mails have been sent.to 47 schools They are also looking for volunteers to work in the museum to give guided tours (people that know Missouri history so they can add interest to the exhibits). Two speakers will be scheduled for programs on Missouri history that will be open to the public free of charge during the month of October.

They are also working with the Vandalia Area Chamber of Commerce on Prairie Day activities. Parade, speakers, vendors, 1800’s children’s games etc.

The LeFemme Club President Linda Klug along with Ann Kohl are in charge of windows being painted in the downtown area with scenes of early Missouri. They are also starting a spruce up Vandalia campaign.

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