Watching the Cargo by George Caleb Bingham

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Featured Exhibition

Year of Peril

Benton's Perilous Visions

August 11, 2018 – Spring 2019

Main Gallery, Columbia Research Center

After the United States entered World War II, Missouri artist Thomas Hart Benton responded to the national crisis by working through his thoughts and emotions on canvas. Executed between 1941 and 1944, the works in the Benton's Perilous Visions exhibition manifest the anxiety, horror, grief, and resolve that Benton and his audience experienced during the war. Visit the Columbia center now to explore ten of Benton's paintings and their allegorical images, visions of events that came to fruition, and expression of fears that thankfully were never realized on US soil. Eight of these famous paintings illustrated the widely circulated Year of Peril propaganda booklet, published by Abbott Laboratories and the US government in 1942.

Shop Benton Products in the SHSMO Gift Shop

Wild Life

Marlin Perkins: Wild Life

December 2018 – December 2019

St. Louis Research Center

Missouri native Marlin Perkins lived a truly wild life. In addition to serving as the director of the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago and then the St. Louis Zoo, Perkins also hosted two popular television programs—Zoo Parade (1949–1957) and the award-winning Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, which ran for 26 seasons starting in 1961. Pulling from the more than 2,000 photographs housed in the St. Louis Research Center’s Marlin Perkins Papers, this exhibition explores some of the most legendary, dangerous, funny, and touching moments of Perkins’s life as they were captured on camera and in writing. With over 40 photographs, hand-written documents, and a few surprises, the exhibit highlights Perkins’s contributions to wildlife conservation through his work at the zoo, on television, and in the wild.

Schneider artwork


November 2018 – April 2019

Corridor Gallery, Columbia Research Center

As the State Historical Society of Missouri’s Columbia Research Center prepares to move into a new space in 2019, we pay tribute to the talented staff and volunteers at all of SHSMO’s six locations throughout the state with a final exhibition in the Corridor Gallery. The exhibition WORK ARTWORK consists of art by some of these staff members and volunteers. The variety of imagery and media on display reflects the creative energy and dedication that is otherwise expressed in the day-to-day activities of everyone employed at the State Historical Society. THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO!

Monumental Figure

The Aesthetic of the Monumental Figure

Fall 2018 – Spring 2019

Main Gallery, Columbia Research Center

Throughout the history of Western art, painters have signaled the importance of human figures by representing them on a large scale. Such figures may be contemporary, historical, allegorical, or religious. Traditionally a “monumental figure” is half-life-size or larger. This exhibition includes seven pictures with such figures.

The selection includes commissioned portraits, anonymous nudes, imaginary figures, and images of everyday people. Audiences may see personal, political, psychological, and social meanings in these images, and these messages are amplified by each pictures monumentality.

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