CMU Museum of History to Host Spring BHS Meeting

The spring meeting of the Boonslick Historical Society will be April 27 at the Central Methodist University Museum of History on the campus in Fayette. The meeting begins at 11 a.m. and the general public is invited.

The museum, previously part of the Stephens Museum of Natural History, opened in September with a new identity to reflect a new mission focusing on cultural history—preserv­ing and interpreting the history of CMU, the City of Fayette, Missouri Methodism, and student activities at the university.

It is located on the main floor in historic T. Berry Smith Hall (1896) on the north end of the campus quad. Parking is available along Church Street and in the CMU campus parking lot at the corner of Lucky and Church streets across Church Street from the museum.

Dr. Robert Wiegers, professor of his­tory and curator of the museum, said the new museum emphasis is far different from the natural history approach of the old Stephens Museum, which is currently closed and will reopen on the lower level of Stedman Hall of Science in spring 2019.

“A history museum cannot be static,” said Wiegers, who has managed the three-year museum renovation. “It must change to provide timely or new attrac­tions that will make people want to come back. For instance, Christmas ornaments at Christmastime. Or traveling exhibits from the state history museum. Or perhaps we’ll have an observatory display from our own Morrison Observatory.”

Wiegers said the museum will maintain a permanent display area with such favor­ites as the Boone Stones (the original grave markers of Daniel Boone and his wife, Rebecca), the Jordan Coller Collection of Civil War Artifacts, and the World War II era-gyro compass similar to those used on U.S. Navy ships.

In addition, the museum’s focus on CMU history will be strong, and will grow, Wiegers said. One of the historic Morrison Observatory’s old telescopes has been placed in the museum, and the rich history of the marching band at Central will be represented as well.

The museum’s collec­tion of historic athletics memorabilia is burgeoning due to recent donations, and features a 1922 leather football helmet worn by alumnus Joe McClintic, a plethora of items from a 100-plus year history of basketball, several 1930-1940 football programs recently dis­covered in Clingenpeel Hall, a 1943 fabric jersey worn by William Morrow Sr., and much more.

Other items include a sextant (navi­gational device) used by the first captain of the S.S. Central Victory, a Navy ship named after Central Methodist; and a new display of 100-plus bobbleheads from the Royals and the Cardinals. Special figurines, bobbleheads commemorate the Show-Me Series Rivalry between the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals, often called the I-7o Series. There is now a National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It houses the world’s largest collection of bobbleheads and features dozens of exhibits related to the history of bobbleheads, making of bobbleheads and much more.

Persons interested in summer tours of the CMU Museum of History may contact Professor Wiegers at rwiegers@Centralmethodist.edu or Chuck Thompson at chuckthompson75@gmail.com.  Hours of operation during the fall and spring semesters will be announced at a later date.

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