SHSMO boasts the nation's best collection of Missouri regional and westward expansion art, including Thomas Hart Benton's Year of Peril series, Fred Geary's regionalist woodcuts, and one of the largest collections of paintings by George Caleb Bingham. Also found in the collection are works by John James Audubon, Karl Bodmer, Frank Nuderscher, Fred Shane, and many other Missouri artists.
SHSMO's extensive editorial cartoon collection includes original drawings by Daniel Fitzpatrick, S. J. Ray, Bill Mauldin, Don Hesse, Tom Engelhardt, and others.
Contemporary works are continually added to the collection. Twenty-first century examples by artists such as Robert Bussabarger, Notley Hawkins, Jon Luvelli, Brian Mahieu, Jane Mudd, Byron Smith, and Frank Stack are preserved here for future generations.
SHSMO artworks are often loaned to other institutions to help share the story of Missouri and its role opening the West. SHSMO held artwork has been shown in galleries from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, allowing new and larger audiences to view significant works within the collection.
"Art is very accessible. Even people who aren't interested in reading scholarly journals or poring through newspapers can look at works of art and immediately begin to understand the past."
-Dr. Joan Stack, SHSMO curator of art collections
Accessing the Art Collection
The State Historical Society of Missouri Center for Missouri Studies Art Gallery features several topical and permanent galleries with rotating exhibitions (see below). These exhibitions can be accessed free of charge during regular business hours. SHSMO also welcomes visits from classes and groups. You can request a tour online.
See representations of frontiersmen, World War II soldiers, and local leaders who shaped Missouri's culture through the digital art collections.
Many works of George Caleb Bingham, Thomas Hart Benton, and Fred Geary are available as well as more than 17,000 editorial cartoons from SHSMO's holdings.
SHSMO's scholarly publications offer an in-depth look at Missouri history and heritage. Four of the Society's featured books provide a glimpse into the lives and careers of significant artists with ties to the Show-Me State including:
- "But I Forget That I Am a Painter and Not a Politician": The Letters of George Caleb Bingham
- Four Turbulent Decades: A Cartoon History of America, 1962–2001, From the Pen of Tom Engelhardt
- Fred Geary: Missouri Master of the Woodcut
- Thomas Hart Benton: Artist, Writer and Intellectual
State Historical Society of Missouri publications are available for purchase in the online gift shop, and proceeds benefit SHSMO research centers and programs.
Enjoy the work of some of Missouri's greatest artists in your home or office. SHSMO offers a select few reproduction prints and note cards through its online gift shop. Society publications are also available through the store. Members always save 10 percent, and proceeds benefit SHSMO research centers and programs.
Support the Art Collection
Financial gifts to SHSMO allow strategic additions to the nation's most significant Missouri-related art collection and expand the resources available to stage unique exhibitions. Learn more about making a gift.
Material donations are another way that you can support SHSMO. The State Historical Society of Missouri preserves paintings, political cartoons, fine art prints, photographs, newspapers, maps, and the written records of individuals, families, and organizations. Learn how donating your art can help make Missouri's history more vibrant and complete.