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The Civil War in Missouri

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About the Exhibit

About the Exhibition

Unidentified Union captain and woman, Hannibal, Mo.

Coveted by the Union and the Confederacy, and eventually recognized by both governments, Missouri had a unique war experience. Powerful political figures on opposing ends of the slavery issue pulled Missouri in two directions, forcing those without strong feelings to reluctantly choose sides. It mattered little which side Missouri's citizens were on, as hardly anyone felt safe in an increasingly indiscriminate war between combatants. Eventually, the war radically altered the political, economic, and social reality of Missouri through the abolition of slavery.

To commemorate the Civil War sesquicentennial, the Missouri History Museum's comprehensive exhibit will feature compelling imagery and diverse artifacts. Although the exhibition will address issues with which our entire nation wrestled, topics that are distinctively Missourian will take center stage: the caustic border troubles in western Missouri; the state's racial, ideological, and political divisions; the evolving nature of slavery; and both sides' struggle to secure the state for their needs.

Ultimately, through the stories of ordinary Missourians, museum visitors will gain a deeper knowledge of the events of the war in Missouri and have a better understanding of how those events shaped who we are today.

Learn more about our Traveling Exhibition.

Advisory Board

Carol Bohl - Cass County Historical Society
John F. Bradbury, Jr. – Western Historical Manuscript Collection–Rolla
James Denny – formerly of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Louis Gerteis – University of Missouri–St. Louis
Carolyn Gilman – Missouri History Museum
Diane Mutti-Burke – University of Missouri–Kansas City
Jeff Patrick – Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield
LeeAnn Whites – University of Missouri–Columbia