JOPLIN, Mo. —
A great way to get your loved ones interested in family history is to take them to museums in the areas in which their ancestors lived. As your relatives view the displays, they'll gain an understanding of the reasons their ancestors moved to the area as well as what their lives were like.
If your ancestors were miners in Southwest Missouri, one of the best museums to visit is the Joplin Museum Complex, which has one of the world's most outstanding collections of ores and minerals, in addition to several displays about mining. The complex also has displays about other aspects of the region.
The complex is located at Seventh Street (Old Route 66) and Schifferdecker Avenue. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call 417-623-1180.
If your ancestors lived in Southeast Kansas, take your family to the Heritage Center and Museum, located at 740 East Ave. in Baxter Springs. Displays are about such topics as the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Native American history, African American History, cattle trails, Tri-State District mining and early-era baseball.
Last week Jim and I had a chance to visit the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, located at 600 Museum Way in Bentonville, Ark. The museum, founded by Alice Walton and designed by Moshe Safdie, opened a year ago.
The architecture of the complex and the surrounding tranquil water and wooded hills, as well as the paintings, sculptures and other art, are well worth the trip. There is no entrance fee because admission is sponsored by Wal-Mart. The museum is closed on Tuesdays. For more information, call 479-418-5700.
Update on the McDonald County Historical Society: On Saturday the group is hosting a get-together at 2 p.m. to view scenes from the film "Jesse James" at the museum at 302 Harmon in Pineville. Everyone is invited to attend and share comments and stories about the filming of the movie set in the area in 1938.
Next Sunday the society will hold its annual Christmas party at the historic courthouse on the square in Pineville. The come-and-go party will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Music will be provided by Trilogy from 3 to 3:30 p.m. Christmas ornaments that feature the historic courthouse can be purchased at the party as well as 2013 calendars.
Update on Neosho-Newton County Library: This week I received an email from Sharon Coonrod Meredith, who works at the library. I learned that Mary Rountree replaced historian/librarian Rilla Scott when she retired.
Sharon also updated me on another change: This past fall, the staff moved the Local History and Genealogy department into the main part of the library, and also added more tables. The new arrangement provides a more open feel for people searching through stacks and viewing microfilm. The staff encourages everyone to come see the changes and use their resources.
Suggestions or queries? Write to Frankie Meyer, 509 N. Center St., Plainfield, IN 46168, or email frankie firstname.lastname@example.org.