On Exhibit: The Civil War in Missouri

“The Civil War in Missouri” is an exhaustive (well, I was exhausted when I got through it) look at, well, The Civil War in Missouri. It’s a well-named exhibit, in addition to being very comprehensive.

The exhibit opens today at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park in St. Louis. If you want to learn more about the War Between the States — and specifically how the war divided this state — the exhibit covers it all, complete with dozens of artifacts from the era.

Neither Confederate nor Union, Missouri was in a unique position when the battle lines were drawn. St. Louis sided with the North, the rural southern region had confederate sympathies while the western border was busy fighting it out with troublemakers from Kansas. As the war began both sides claimed the state as its own.

It’s all here — the Missouri Compromise, the Dred Scott Case, the Battle of Wilson’s Creek — all brought to life through quotations, documents, clothing, weapons, musical instruments and everyday items of the time. There are also plenty of computer screens for those who enjoy high-tech, interactive action along with their artifacts.

The exhibit is lacking in the big, “wow” items but what it lacks in flash it makes up for in quantity and thoroughness. Seeing some of the flags from the era were among the more impressive displays.

“The Civil War in Missouri” runs through March 16. The Missouri History Museum will feature a number of special events throughout the course of the show’s run. http://www.civilwarmo.org

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