Exhibitions

Art and educational exhibitions illustrate transformative moments in Missouri and U.S. history. The State Historical Society of Missouri houses exhibition galleries at the Center for Missouri Studies in Columbia. SHSMO also provides materials for display in galleries and exhibition spaces across the state.

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Ralph Foster Museum
May 1 – June 29 | Branson

Visit the Ralph Foster Museum at College of the Ozarks to view the "Broadcasting the Ozarks: A History of RadiOzark Enterprises" exhibit May 1 through June 29, 2024.

Created by the State Historical Society of Missouri-Springfield Research Center, the exhibit showcases the history of Springfield's RadiOzark Enterprises, the company behind nationally known syndicated radio programs such as The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show, The Red Foley Show, and Shorty Thompson's Saddle Rockin' Rhythm.


Ginger Rogers costume exhibition
March 2 – August 31 | Center for Missouri Studies, Columbia

For information on Day of Ginger April 13. A collection of costumes originally worn by Hollywood star Ginger Rogers will be on display in the SHSMO Art Gallery, in collaboration with the University of Missouri’s Department of Textile and Apparel Management. Rogers used clothing to strategically craft her own unique persona, including her partnership with Fred Astaire, throughout her career from the 1920s to 1984.


African American Art in Missouri
February 6 – May 9 | University of Missouri-Columbia

A new exhibit explores the history of African American Art in Missouri in the 20th and 21st centuries through the work of ten artists, with a special emphasis on artwork in the collection of the State Historical Society of Missouri, as well as artists associated with Mid Missouri and the University of Missouri-Columbia. The public is invited to view the exhibit at Ellis Library, Colonnade cases, on the Mizzou campus. 


Painting of soldiers preparing to board a ship to go to war. One soldier looks over his shoulder back at the viewer
May 3, 2023 – December 3, 2050 | Center for Missouri Studies Art Gallery

Our gallery space includes a permanent exhibition of ten large World War II paintings created by Thomas Hart Benton between 1941 and 1943. These images reflect the anxiety, horror, grief, and resolve that Benton and his audience experienced after the U.S. entered WW II on December 7, 1941. Benton responded to the national crisis with a series of nightmarish visions of war, eight of which were purchased by Abbott Laboratories and exhibited in New York City in 1942.


Painting depicting chaotic scene of soldiers forcibly evacuating civilians
May 3, 2023 – December 3, 2050 | Center for Missouri Studies Art Gallery

Our permanent exhibition of works by George Caleb Bingham includes the monumental 1869/70 Civil War painting, Gen. Order No. 11, which represents the execution of a military directive evacuating civilians in four Missouri border counties. The  evacuation order that took place in the midst of  Missouri/Kansas guerilla fighting  in 1863.  Also on display is the Bingham painting Watching the Cargo, a classic example of the artist's genre images representing the Missouri workers involved in river commerce.  Finally a number of Bingham portraits are also exhibited.


Formal portrait painting of Harry Truman, his wife Bess, and daughter Mary Margaret
May 3, 2023 – December 3, 2050 | Center for Missouri Studies Art Gallery

Greta Kempton's Portrait of the Truman Family (President Harry S. Truman, Elizabeth “Bess” Truman and their daughter Mary Margaret) is on permanent exhibition at SHSMO. The triple portrait was commissioned for the State Historical Society of Missouri with left-over funds raised by Missouri Democrats for Truman’s 1948 inaugural celebration. The painting was officially presented to the Society in 1952.