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A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden

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African American foodYours for a Tender Thanksgiving Dinner, 1910, Postcard, 3 1/2 x 5 1/2". ACAC; Simpson Collection, AF.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007 ::found at  infoZine

Missouri is full of new and upcoming adventures in 2007. The following is a sampling of great new attractions and things for visitors to do while vacationing in the Show-Me State.

Places in History



Visitors to the expanded National World War I Museum in Kansas City will discover themselves on a glass floor suspended over a field of poppies one minute, then immersed in the sights and sounds of the trenches the next. Known for most of its 80 years as the Liberty Memorial Museum, the landmark is the nation's only public museum dedicated exclusively to the history of World War I. Major renovations completed in December 2006 added 25,000 square feet of colorful, "sound-full" experiences. For the first time, the public is able to see the museum's comprehensive collection of World War I memorabilia.

The Truman Presidential Museum and Library in Independence celebrates its 50th anniversary with special events and free admission on Thursday nights, May through September. This spring, visitors to the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site in St. Louis will be able to tour an exhibit gallery within the historic stable and explore the President's house and landscaped grounds.

"Dred Scott: A Legacy of Courage," an exhibit commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Dred Scott Decision, will open March 3 and run through Dec. 31 in St. Louis' Old Courthouse, where the slavery case began in 1847. The decision denied Scott and his wife, Harriett, their freedom. It was one of the factors that led the nation into the Civil War. Another yearlong exhibit, "Slavery's Echoes," opened Feb. 1 at the Missouri State Museum in the State Capitol, Jefferson City. It features poignant accounts of the lives of former slaves, offered in their own words.

Exhibits from Afar



Union Station in Kansas City will host the only Midwest stop in 2007 for the legendary "Dead Sea Scrolls" exhibit. The oldest surviving manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible, known to Christians as the Old Testament, are considered the most remarkable archeological discovery of the last century. The scrolls will be on display Feb. 8 through May 13. The exhibition will feature a number of artifacts and a distinguished lecture series.

St. Louis is one of only three stops for an elite exhibit. The Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park will host "Symbols of Power: Napoleon and the Art of the Empire Style, 1800-1815." The exhibit, which runs June 17 through Sep. 16, includes more than 150 objects such as furniture, jewelry, gowns, paintings and silver-many of which have never been displayed outside of France.

Over at St. Louis' Missouri Botanical Garden, explore "Chapungu: Nature, Man, and Myth." Artists from the African nation of Zimbabwe created the monumental, hand-carved stone sculptures of animals, families, and creatures of legend in this collection. The exhibit runs April 28 through Oct. 31.

Building Excitement



Signs of Kansas City's $7 billion construction boom are popping up everywhere in 2007. Stunning architectural showpieces include the new Steven Holl-designed Bloch Building of underground galleries topped by translucent glass lenses at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, opening June 9, and the Sprint Center, a circular, all-glass arena designed to provide a unique venue for major sporting events and concerts. The Sprint Center, which will encompass the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, is scheduled for an October 2007 grand opening. Also, October will see the nine-block Power and Light District come to life with restaurants, nightlife, shopping and the reopening of the Empire Theater.

Independence welcomes Bass Pro Shops in 2007. The store, scheduled to open in fall, will feature wildlife dioramas and a six-story atrium with a four-story waterfall descending into a 30,000-gallon freshwater aquarium stocked with record-size game fish. Included in the plans: Islamorada Fish Company Restaurant; a lodge-themed hotel; and an outdoor wilderness wetlands area for wildlife.

Hilton will open and operate three new venues at Branson Landing this year: Hilton Promenade, a boutique hotel, will open in February; Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel and a new convention center will open in August.

The Missouri Wall of Fame Mural, located on the Mississippi River floodwall in historic downtown Cape Girardeau, has been refurbished and the red brick sidewalk in front of the mural was extended. Plans for 2007 include reader boards to interpret the images. A dedication ceremony in planned for late spring.

Family Time



Columbia's newest attraction in 2007 is the YouZeum, a fascinating interactive learning environment designed to give visitors a better understanding of the workings of the human body and the healthful choices they can make. New educational experiences will be offered at Springfield's Discovery Center. The recently expanded "green" building will encompass the geography- and culture-focused WorldWise gallery by spring, as well as the science-oriented ChromoZone gallery by summer.

Branson has some new amusements to boast about this year. At Silver Dollar City, the new Giant Swing bursts through barn doors and swings a full 230 degrees, seven stories into the sky. White Water outdoor water park added Kalani Towers, an area with six new slides, including two 75-foot freefall drops and four mat racing lanes.

The latest expansion at Six Flags St. Louis is Bugs Bunny National Park, an environment children and parents can enjoy together. The park has a hot air balloon replica; a flying rocket ship; a miniature drop ride; spinning tea cups; a rocking, spinning tugboat; a miniature train; a three-story tree house; and a water play fountain. On a more heart-pounding scale at Six Flags is a new 230-foot extreme free-fall ride called the Superman Tower of Power.

Two St. Louis parks invite all children to come out and play. Forest Park offers an inclusive public playground designed for both able-bodied children and those with disabilities. A new Faust Park playground is wheelchair accessible and features chute slides, climbing boulders, swings and cushioned ground surfaces. Also at Faust Park, the historic 1929 St. Louis Carousel facility will be remodeled in 2007.

Zoo News



Carousels are in the news at Missouri zoos. Kansas City Zoo has received the first three of the 36 hand-carved wooden carousel animals that will populate the zoo's new Endangered Species Carousel. The carousel, expected to be in place and operational by Memorial Day weekend, promises to be a fun way to build awareness of endangered species.

On the other side of the state, Saint Louis Zoo recently unveiled its own carousel. The Mary Ann Lee Conservation Carousel features colorful hand-carved wooden animals, representing protected and endangered species housed within the Saint Louis Zoo. Elsewhere in the St. Louis zoo, there are adorable young residents ready to greet visitors in 2007: a baby Matschie's tree kangaroo; a young Asian elephant; and four cheetah cubs. Visitors may watch animal meals being prepared through oversized windows at the zoo's new Animal Nutrition Center.

Gardens Galore



New gardens and structures at the Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, include the Ottoman Garden, the first of its kind in the United States, showcasing exotic plantings, fountains and garden artifacts created in Turkey; the new George Washington Carver Garden, a memorial to Missouri's own "plant doctor"; and Tower Grove House, the Victorian country home of Garden founder Henry Shaw, which has reopened with new interpretation about life on the grounds during the 19th century.

Wheels and Wings



Professional bicyclists will ride across the state in the inaugural Tour of Missouri, Sep. 11 through 16. In its initial year, the Tour of Missouri will be one of the nation's top three stage races behind the prestigious Tour of Georgia and Tour of California races, providing three major domestic stage races on American soil. The six-day race is expected to cover about 600 miles and highlight urban excitement as well as the Show-Me State's stunning rural scenery.

At St. Louis County Parks' Museum of Transportation, the Earl C. Lindburg Automotive Center has undergone major renovations, transforming the exterior into a modern glass and steel facade resembling a contemporary auto dealership, while the interior has been updated with a new exhibit, "It's an Automobile Life: Car Culture in St. Louis and Beyond." For the kids, the museum has added a pirate ship, playroom and two mini-locomotives that pull passenger cars along a one mile-long track.

Transportation is the theme of several Missouri History Museum exhibits. "Shifting Gears: The Automobile Industry in St. Louis, 1890-1930" runs through April 1; "Flight City: St. Louis Takes to the Air" opens June 3. Also, this museum, in Forest Park, St. Louis, has an exhibit commemorating Charles Lindbergh's transatlantic flight.

For comprehensive information about other Missouri events, attractions and accommodations, and to order an Official Missouri Vacation Planner, log on to www.VisitMO.com or call 800-519-4800.

Missouri's African - American Heritage

African-Americans, both free and slave, lived in Missouri from its earliest days. By the 1820 census, 10,000 slaves lived in Missouri, about a fifth of the state's population at the time. That same year, the Missouri Compromise admitted Missouri to the Union as a slave state while Maine was admitted as a free state. Jefferson City In 1866, members of the 62nd and 65th Colored Infantry pooled their funds to start a school for the newly freed blacks in Missouri and named it Lincoln Institute. Today, the historic hilltop campus of Lincoln University (820 Chestnut, 573.681.5000) serves the entire community. 

The Inman Page Library is home to the Ethnic Studies Center, which serves to cultivate and enrich the academic teachings of the African-American experience through its history and culture. Additionally, the center strives to promote cultural diversity for its students and the community at large by supporting and sponsoring ethnic-related workshops; displaying archival artifacts and art; obtaining collections and gathering bibliographies of ethnic-related resources such as newspapers, journals, books and films. 

Many books housed in these special collections are rare or out of print. Kansas City During the days of segregation, the African American population in Kansas City concentrated itself in the now historic 18th & Vine district. This area was not only the heart of the Black community, it was the heart of Kansas City jazz and the Kansas City Monarchs, a Negro Leagues team boasting a roster of greats such as Leroy "Satchel" Page and John "Buck" O'Neil. Today, this neighborhood is home to two museums that highlight its history

 

branson african american art

Branson Visitors can experience Kansas City's rich jazz heritage and african american art at fairs and festivals throughout the year.

 The American Jazz Museum (1616 E. 18th St., 816.474.8463) tells the story of jazz and some of its greatest performers through exhibits and interactive stations, perfect for any size group. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (1616 E. 18th St., 816.221.1920) re-creates the look, sounds and feel of Negro Leagues Baseball. Video presentations, exhibits and memorabilia chronicle the history and heroes of the leagues from their origin after the Civil War to their demise in the 1960s. The Black Archives of Mid-America (2033 Vine, 816.483.1300) has one of the largest Midwestern collections of African-American memorabilia, artifacts and research material. Included are local leaders, oral histories and business records. St. Charles The grave of Jean-Baptise Point Du Sable, credited with founding Chicago during the 1770s, can be viewed in St. Charles' Borromeo Church Cemetery. Du Sable was an affluent Haitian-born fur trader who was the first non-Native American settler. Learn more about the life of York, slave to William Clark and the first black man to reach the Pacific Ocean as part of the Lewis & Clark expedition at the Lewis & Clark Center (701 Riverside Dr., 636.947.3199). St. Louis St. Louisans of African descent have played a large role in the area's development since St. Louis was founded in 1764. Laws of the time forbade the education of black children, but ingenious St. Louisan the Rev. John Berry Meachum, established a "Freedom School" aboard a steamboat anchored in free territory in the middle of the Mississippi River. 

Meachum's life is featured in exhibits at the Black World History Museum (2505 St. Louis Ave., 314.241.7057) and his gravesite can be visited at Bellefontaine Cemetery (4947 W. Florissant). The Old Courthouse (11 N. 4th St., 314.655.1600) in downtown St. Louis is one of America's most important historic sites. It was here that slave Dred Scott sued for his freedom and the freedom of his wife, Harriett, in 1847. Scott won his case in St. Louis, but 10 years later appeals brought the issue before the Supreme Court of the United States which ruled that Scott was not a citizen and could not sue. The outcome of this case, in 1857, helped move the country toward the Civil War. Scott was freed by a new owner after the Supreme Court decision and died in St. Louis in 1858. Reenactments of the Dred Scott trial are conducted throughout the year at the Old Courthouse. Scott's grave can be visited at Calvary Cemetery (5239 W. Florissant).

 

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