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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Painting with snowy field in foreground, bare trees in middleground, and cloudy sunset in background.
May 4 – August 1 | Center for Missouri Studies

This exhibition presents a small portion of the hundreds of new artworks that the State Historical Society of Missouri has recently collected. As the Society celebrates its 125th birthday, this exhibition illustrates the institution’s ongoing commitment to acquire a wide variety of artworks that help to preserve the cultural heritage of the Show-Me State.

22 African American women sitting around a table
May 4 – September 30 | Center for Missouri Studies

This exhibition highlights the voices, memories, and history of African American people who call, or have called, the Ozarks home. In 2021, the State Historical Society of Missouri was awarded an American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant through the National Endowment for the Humanities and Missouri Humanities for a project titled “African American Heritage in the Ozarks.” As part of the project, SHSMO staff created an interactive exhibit, which is on display in the Wenneker Family Corridor Gallery through September.

Fragile: Handle with Care by Tom Engelhardt
May 4, 2023 – February 1, 2024 | Center for Missouri Studies, Columbia

Since the 1930s, environmental issues have played a growing role in shaping public policy in the United States. Decades of activism have called attention to the dangers of pesticides, pollution, deforestation, extinction, and climate change. This exhibition examines original editorial cartoons by Missouri artists that explore these environmental concerns. Open now through Winter 2023 during regular visitor hours in the SHSMO Art Gallery.

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, 2026 | 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, 2026 | 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, 2026 | 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.