While our facilities are closed for the safety of our communities, we are working steadily behind the scenes at our own homes to assist patrons and to continue the mission of the State Historical Society of Missouri. We look forward to the day when we can reopen the Center for Missouri Studies and our six research centers and to welcome each of you back when we get to the other side of this pandemic.
Meanwhile, we thought you might like to know about some of the work we have been doing remotely for the past month.
Patron, Member, and Donor Services
Since we opened our doors over 120 years ago, we have been dedicated to serving patrons and providing access to Missouri history. This dedication continues today. From their homes, our staff are answering email from patrons and providing reference from our digitized collections.
We are grateful for the support of our members and donors during these times and members can still join or renew memberships online. Advancement staff are still processing online donations and staying in touch with donors.
Education, Publications, and Scholarship
Cape Girardeau Associate Director William Eddleman is researching and writing his regular history columns for readers in southeast Missouri.
We continue to develop educational materials to commemorate Missouri’s bicentennial, and the Our Missouri podcast is still releasing new episodes. Our editorial team is working on the Missouri Encyclopedia, an online resource on the state's history and culture, and you'll continue to see our regular publications in the mail, including the Missouri Historical Review and Missouri Times
Looking ahead, we are making plans for virtual programming to keep us connected with you.
Archivists and librarians are working on transcribing the Thomas Adams Smith Papers (C1029). Brigadier General Thomas Adams Smith was a professional soldier who served in Florida during the War of 1812 and on the Canadian front protecting civilians.
Transcriptions for the first six folders of Smith's papers are now available on the SHSMO digital collections website and more will be added as they are completed.
Expanding WWII Digital Collections
Archivist Heather Richmond is working remotely to add depth and breadth to the SHSMO World War II digital collection with images and transcripts from the Jean Schwarting Anderson Papers (C4024).
Jean Schwarting Anderson was born in 1923 in St. Louis, MO. In 1944, she enlisted in the Navy Women's Reserves (WAVES) where she would serve for the entirety of World War II. Anderson's papers consist of approximately 240 letters sent to friends and family primarily in St. Louis and Mexico, MO, between 1944 and 1946. These letters reflect the unique experience of women serving in Navy WAVES during World War II.
Increasing Access Post-COVID
By providing extensive descriptions, finding aids help guide researchers to materials within collections. Whereas a book in a library is treated as a single item when it is cataloged, the materials in a manuscript or archival collection are usually described in an overview, such as a finding aid.
Archivist Rachel Forester is working from home to refine the finding aid for the Missouri Valley Chapter-Society of Architectural Historians, Architectural Records (K0006). Once the finding aid revision is completed and it is safe to open our research centers again, researchers will have easier access to roughly 4,900 sets of architectural drawings mostly in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
Senior Librarian Amy Waters is adding Missouri high school yearbooks to the online catalog, making these resources more accessible to researchers once it is safe to reopen.
Providing Distance Education at MU, UMKC
SHSMO staff are also active educators. Associate Director for the Kansas City Research Center Lucinda Adams and Archivist Whitney Heinzmann have moved their course, Archival Methods, online as UMKC moved to distance learning.
Oral Historian Sean Rost has moved our first History of Missouri college class taught at the Center for Missouri Studies to the university’s online program for the rest of the semester after MU students were sent home because of the pandemic.
National History Day in Missouri Goes Virtual
We have been working with schools to transition the NHDMO state contest to a virtual platform. From April 13-26, volunteer judges in Missouri and elsewhere are reviewing student projects that advanced from regional competitions to the state contest.
Instead of meeting face-to-face with students, judging teams will communicate through email and Zoom meetings. Students will present exhibit panels through PowerPoint slideshows and will upload documentaries to the internet.
Many of you have stepped up to volunteer as judges for National History Day in Missouri, as we venture into new territory by holding the contest online. We’re so thrilled that we can give our Missouri students this opportunity to shine and show their hard work when many other extracurricular school activities have been shut down this spring.
Like you, we have adjusted our daily lives and continue to do the important work of the State Historical Society. We are planning ahead for the day when we reopen our research centers by developing protocols to help protect the health and safety of our patrons, volunteers, and staff once the stay-at-home directives by local and state officials are lifted.
Thank you for your patience as we continue to serve you. We look forward to seeing you on our upcoming virtual programs in April and May. For news, programs, and our digital collections, please continue to visit this site.
Please stay safe!