Exhibitions About

Gallery exhibitions illustrate transformative moments in Missouri and US history. Located on the first floor, the main and topical galleries feature rotating exhibitions, with select works on permanent display. A second-floor corridor gallery features curated materials from SHSMO collections. The galleries are located at the SHSMO Center for Missouri Studies in Columbia.


The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s two-time Pulitzer Prize–winning cartoonist, Daniel Fitzpatrick, chronicled the progression of WWII as it happened with powerful and poignant editorial cartoons. The three installments of this yearlong exhibition present visual commentary on the events of the war as they happened. The second installment focuses on examples made between December of 1941 and the spring of 1943.

The State Historical Society of Missouri holds one of the few complete collections of the lithographs Thomas Hart Benton published in editions during his lifetime. Over 90 master prints dating from 1929 to 1974 reflect the many changes that took place in Benton’s attitudes and artwork over the course of his life. Many of these lithographs are variations on famed Benton paintings, and the diverse imagery attests to the complexity of the artist’s aesthetic, political and social ideas.

More Exhibitions

The State Historical Society of Missouri and Missouri Historic Costume and Textile Collection commemorate the centennial anniversary of women’s suffrage with the collaborative exhibition Missouri Women: Suffrage to Statecraft. Displays include related clothing and artwork from statewide collections that highlight roles of Missouri women in the national suffrage movement, as well as trailblazing women in Missouri politics before and after ratification of the federal amendment. Free and open to the public.

Pianist and ragtime music composer John William “Blind” Boone (1864-1927) was considered a musical prodigy of his day. Born during the Civil War, Boone overcame poverty, disability, and racism to become a nationally-known composer and musician from Missouri.

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the librarians in the Columbia Research Center have selected to display books and information about women born in Missouri who took unconventional routes to making history.  These “shocking women” include French entertainer Josephine Baker, fan dancer Sally Rand, frontierswoman Martha “Calamity Jane” Canary, and the American socialite Margaret “Molly” Tobin Brown.

View the Columbia Research Center’s exhibits during regular open hours Tuesday through Saturday.

This exhibition explores Black History Month’s 2020 national theme, The Vote, with a selection of twentieth-century editorial cartoons that address the issue of African American voting rights. Most of the artworks displayed are original drawings from the nationally renowned cartoon collection of the State Historical Society of Missouri. These rarely seen artworks document the long struggle Americans of color have experienced in their attempts to exercise their fundamental rights as citizens.

Music in Missouri explores Missouri’s contribution to American music. The state’s early folk musicians, marching bands, and choral societies inspired the birth of ragtime and then overlapped with the evolution of a new brand of blues in St. Louis. Those emerging styles then intersected with an explosion of new jazz in Kansas City, at the same time that Ozark bluegrass migrated northwards and entered this melting pot of rhythm to help create rock n’ roll, rhythm and blues, modern country, and gospel.

This yearlong exhibition in three installments showcases examples of Thomas Hart Benton’s original watercolors and drawings for the Limited Editions Club publications of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Life on the Mississippi. As a Missourian, Benton brought his own understanding of the landscape and people of the state to his illustrations, creating perceptive images that complement Twain’s prose.

Award-winning photographer Oliver Schuchard has made Missouri his home for more than four decades. Over the years, Schuchard has often turned his camera to diverse landscapes in his adopted state and elsewhere. This exhibition, in two installments, displays Schuchard’s dedication to the aesthetics and craft of black and white landscape photography over the course of his distinguished career.