The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

October 4, 2012

Our View: History treats

Readers who love history — and even those who are only casual fans of the archives — will hit pay dirt if they make a trip to the Joplin Museum Complex.

First, the museum rolled out a special display of political memorabilia. It’s the first showing of the nearly 7,000 items from the Richard Boss Political Americana Collection acquired in 2009 by the museum.

The collection starts in the 1870s and moves to the present. Among the items on display are political sheet music, textiles, magazines, postcards, newspapers, campaign materials, presidential materials and busts, china, glassware, books and medals, as well as civil rights, war and patriotic materials. It was acquired using a private donation from a former museum patron and longtime resident of Joplin and is valued at more than $150,000.

Be assured, no bailout money was used in the purchase of the collection.

If that’s not enough to prompt a trip to the museum complex, beginning today residents can see a traveling exhibit focusing on Missouri’s role in the Civil War. The exhibit also features a number of rare pieces from the collection of Joplin resident Allen Shirley.

What’s there to see?

Well, there will be strands of hair from Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln, along with pieces of the wood from the gallows where those accused in the plot to assassinate Lincoln were hanged.

There will be interactive screens telling the timeline of the war as it developed in the state and detailing significant battles. The roles of William Quantrill and William “Bloody Bill” Anderson, along with the participation of figures such as Jesse and Frank James, are also described in the exhibit.

An opening ceremony will be at 3 p.m. today at the museum in Schifferdecker Park.

The Missouri History Museum and the Missouri Humanities Council have sent “The Civil War in Missouri” to Joplin where it will be on display until Nov. 21.

Both of these are displays that many would travel a long distance to see.

Isn’t it great that it’s available to you so close to home?

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