August 10, 1821, marked the first official day of statehood, and 198 years later, a new chapter in the preservation and exploration of Missouri’s eventful past will begin with the August 10, 2019, opening of the State Historical Society of Missouri’s new Columbia headquarters, the Center for Missouri Studies.
“The Center will be a visionary space where Missourians of all backgrounds can discover our complex cultural roots and come to a deeper understanding of what it means to be a Missourian.”
-Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr., SHSMO past president
The new facility at Sixth and Elm Streets will house an expanded research center connecting students, researchers, patrons, and genealogists with the collections that the State Historical Society of Missouri holds on their behalf. In addition to improved access to the collections, the most marked difference will be an increase in both the size and quality of the art gallery.
Currently, less than one quarter of one percent of the State Historical Society’s artworks can be displayed. The new gallery will be twice as large, and it will be designed to properly showcase one-of-a-kind pieces, whether they are the iconic works of George Caleb Bingham and Thomas Hart Benton or original Hare and Hare architectural drawings from the Kansas City collections.
To prepare and move the invaluable collections from the Society's current location in Ellis Library, the Columbia Research Center will be closed to the public beginning April 19, 2019. This closure will last until August 12, 2019.
Access to the Columbia Research Center collections and reference materials housed onsite will be suspended during that time, but collections housed in offsite storage will be available for viewing at five other statewide research centers. Please contact staff at the Cape Girardeau Kansas City, Rolla, Springfield, or St. Louis locations to inquire about collection availability. Please note that all collections and reference materials housed at the Columbia Research Center will need to be returned by April 5, 2019.
The Columbia Research Center will not accept new research requests made from April 1 to August 11, 2019. All research requests requiring Columbia collections will need to be resubmitted on or after August 12, 2019. In the interim, staff from the five open research centers will try to accommodate patron research requests whenever possible. Please note that these additional research centers will have no access to newspapers on microfilm or obituaries, as those materials are housed at the Columbia Research Center.
The State Historical Society’s gift shop, including its online site, will also be closed from April 19 to August 12, 2019.
Beginning March 18, 2019, Interlibrary Loan services to and from the Columbia Research Center will be suspended and no new loan requests will be accepted. Loans of in-house manuscripts, reference books, and microfilm to other research centers will also be suspended at that time. The loan services will resume on August 12, 2019.
The State Historical Society regrets this disruption in services and apologizes for any inconvenience it may cause. Save the date for the Center for Missouri Studies Grand Opening on August 10 and be among the first to view the new facility as operations resume this fall.
In fulfilling the State Historical Society’s mission of being a place for all with an interest in Missouri’s past to exchange ideas and make connections, the Center for Missouri Studies is designed with two front doors. The south door will face Peace Park and the University of Missouri campus with its community of students and scholars, while the north door will face downtown Columbia, inviting in the larger community of Missourians and visitors to the state.
The art gallery will be featured prominently on the building’s first floor, along with flexible public spaces for hosting a wide range of events.
The State Historical Society of Missouri’s Columbia Research Center will occupy the second floor. One of six research centers across the state, the Columbia center will offer increased access to and preservation of manuscripts and newspapers. Administrative offices on the third floor will complete the building.
The Center for Missouri Studies will provide the State Historical Society of Missouri with a state-of-the-art facility that secures the ability to carry out its work for a second century. The many artworks, manuscripts, newspapers, and books preserved there will continue to tell Missouri's story.