History Museum on the Square

Sharing Stories of the Crossroads

As a city at the crossroads of our nation, Springfield, Missouri played a role in many significant events throughout American history. Step back in time, and see these stories come to life through hands-on experiences, world-class exhibits, and activities for all ages. You’ll become part of the story as you ride on our passenger train, encounter a Wild Bill Hickok shootout, and immerse yourself in the Birthplace of Route 66.


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    Illuminating Stories of the Past

    The Museum

    Journey through eight interactive galleries to see how Springfield, Missouri and its region shaped American history. Each gallery brings unique stories to life through world-class exhibits designed by Explus and videos and interactives created by Richard Lewis Media Group. Our rich and vast collection of artifacts, photographs, and “voices of history” are combined, using innovative technologies that are fun for all ages. You’re sure to discover something new with every visit.

    Adults $16
    Seniors, Military & Students $13
    Children (4-12) $10
    Children Age 3 & Under FREE
    Group Adult Rate with 10+*
    *3 days’ notice is required

    For FREE parking location click here

    Welcome Center

    Enjoy interactive displays and stories of the past as you enter.

    Native Crossroads at the Spring

    Explore the Native American experience in and around Springfield.

    Trains, Trolleys, and Transportation

    Take a ride back in time through Springfield’s transportation history.

    Pioneers and Founders at the Crossroads

    Peek into the lives of Springfield’s founding families.

    The Civil War In Springfield

    Discover Springfield’s significant role in the Civil War.

    Wild Bill Hickok and the American West

    Experience America’s first recorded Wild West shoot-out.

    Birthplace of Route 66

    Travel to the place where it all started.

    Voices of History

    Hear more stories of the crossroads in our temporary exhibit gallery.

    Get Your Kicks Where Route 66 Got Its Name


    From neon signs to classic cars to drive-ins, Route 66 represents a time in American history that captivates nostalgia lovers everywhere. With one of the largest Route 66 timelines and maps in the country, this gallery is a must-see for any Americana enthusiast.

    Hop into the turquoise blue '57 Chevy Bel Air convertible at the John T. Woodruff Theater and learn about the local man who gave Route 66 its name.

    After that, enjoy your stroll through numerous interactive neon sign exhibits and take photos of your favorite spots along the historic Mother Road.

    • Visit the John T. Woodruff Theater complete with a ’57 Chevy Bel Air convertible, and learn about the man behind the Birthplace of Route 66.
    • See a plethora of interactive neon sign exhibits featuring local Route 66 icons like Red’s Giant Hamburg, Rail Haven motel, Sanders’ Standard Oil gas station and Sunset Drive-in Theatre.
    • Hear the story about John Wilkinson, a local boy who met Elvis Presley at the Shrine Mosque and later became his rhythm guitar player.
    • See a restored Martin & Schwartz Model 80 Series 4B Cyclops gas pump, view stunning Route 66 paintings by artist Jerry L. Rice, and discover more iconic pieces throughout the gallery.

    Making History in the Present

    Upcoming Events

    Stay informed of the latest events and traveling exhibits happening in and around the museum. Make memories today and celebrate the past in the present.

    The Route 66 Series – Year 3 Hotel/Motel

    06/19/2024 - 00:00

    The Route 66 Series: Year 3 Checking In: Iconic Hotels & Motels of Route 66

    Thank you,  Series Sponsor:

    O’Reilly Automotive       *       MSU Libraries – Ozarks Studies Institute

    Thank you, Exhibit Sponsor:

    Hotel Vandivort      *      Elliott Lodging

    General Admission applies.


    Host: History Museum
    Location: 154 Park Central Square - History Museum on the Square

    SERVICE – Community Service Fair on the Square – A Huge Success

    07/13/2024 - 10:00 a.m.

    This event was a huge success.  We want to thank all of the community organizations for participating. If you missed the in-person Community Service Fair and want to get involved in your community, check out the organizations that participated Convoy of Hope Foster Adopt Connect Humane Society GLO Center The Kitchen Sculpture Walk Victim’s Center…

    Host: History Museum
    Location: Park Central Square

    Downtown Walking Tour

    08/03/2024 - 10:00 a.m.

    Join us on this one-hour tour in Downtown Springfield, Missouri.
    Explore Springfield’s founding, growth, and most notable history where it took place.
    Learn about the Wild Bill Hickok shootout on the square, Route 66, Trail and Tears and more!

    Tour Dates:

    August 3, 2024 – 10:00 am

    $15 per person for Museum Members & Patrons, $20 per person for Non-Members.

    Host: History Museum
    Location: 154 Park Central Square - History Museum on the Square

    Commercial Street Walking Tour

    08/03/2024 - 10:30 a.m.

    Join the History Museum as we explore the history of Commercial Street!

    Explore Commercial Street with a one-hour walking tour. Learn about the impact of the railroad, the relationship between North and South Springfield, and the society and culture of C-Street.

    This tour is presented in partnership with the Commercial Club of Springfield, MO.

    Tour Dates

    Saturday, August 3, 2024 – 10:30 am

    $15 per person for Museum Members & Patrons, $20 per person for Non-Members


    Host: History Museum
    Location: Commercial Street - Meet at Jefferson Avenue Footbridge

    Route 66 Bus Tour – Get on the Mother Road!

    08/17/2024 - 01:00 p.m.

    Join David Eslick, History Museum Ambassador and a founder of the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival, as he shares the significance of Route 66 to the Springfield area,  photos of iconic places along the local route and an opportunity to share stories of the crossroads as you ride together.

    Tour Dates:

    Summer Bus Tour Date:

    August 17, 2024 – 1:00 pm – Leaving from Downtown Springfield (specific address to be confirmed)

    $30 per person for Members and $35 per person for NonMembers

    At least ten individuals need to be registered for this event.  If ten are not registered one week before the tour date, a staff member of the History Museum on the Square will give you a call with a chance to reschedule or get a refund.



    Host: History Museum
    Location: Meet at History Museum on the Square

    Meet The Museum: Educators’ Evening

    08/17/2024 - 05:00 p.m.

    History Museum on the Square invites you to…

    Meet the Museum: Educators’ Evening

    When: Saturday August 17, 2024 -5 pm – 7 pm

    Where: 154 Park Central, Springfield, MO 65806

    Cost: FREE

    All regional K-12 and homeschool educators are invited for a free evening at the museum to learn about our education programming and resources for educators. Get to know more about our field trips, educational trunks, Meet Missouri program and more!

    This is an educator-only event (no additional guests). All attendees should be prepared to share contact information at the door for free admission.

    For more information, contact whitney@historymuseumonthesquare.org or call (417) 831-1976 ext. 1006.

    Host: History Museum
    Location: 154 Park Central Square - History Museum on the Square

    Leaving a Legacy: Downtown Walking Tour

    08/17/2024 - 10:00 a.m.

    Leaving a Legacy: Downtown Walking Tour

    Saturday, August 17, 2024, 10:00 am

    How do we as a community memorialize our past and build a legacy worth sharing? Learn what the museum does to preserve its collections and tell the stories of Springfield. All ages are invited to join us on a walking tour of historic sites, memorials, and markers near the museum and participate in a fun time capsul activity.

    No Registration is required for this FREE event. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

    Meet at the History Museum on the Square (154 Park Central Square) at 9:45 am to participate.

    The walking tour will start at 10 a.m. and last 45 minutes. The time capsule-building activity will take place right after the tour.

    Participants are encouraged to bring an item to contribute to the time capsule.

    Host: History Museum
    Location: 154 Park Central Square - History Museum on the Square

    History Museum Book Club

    09/12/2024 - 07:00 p.m.

    Join the History Museum on their next Historical Fiction read!
    Join us in reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.
    Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and now a Netflix series All the Light we Cannot See is set in the final days of WWII, where the paths of a blind French girl and a German soldier collide.
    We’ll be meeting Thursday, September 12, 2024 at 7pm at Mother’s Brewing Company (215 S Grant Ave)

    History Museum on the Square strengthens our community’s future by learning about our past and our culture, so we started a historical fiction book club in January 2020.

    Join the FB Group here and see the variety of books that we have discussed.

    We look forward to our next discussion!

    Host: History Museum

    Sensory Friendly Saturdays

    09/14/2024 - 10:00 a.m.

    Event Dates:
    August cancelled due to the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival
    September 14, 2024
    October 12, 2024
    November 9, 2024
    December 14, 2024
    January 11, 2025
    February 8, 2025
    March 8, 2025
    April 12, 2025
    May 10, 2025
    June 14, 2025
    General Admission Applies – No registration is needed.


    Host: History Museum
    Location: 154 Park Central Square

    Sharing Stories of the Crossroads – Hosted by John Sellars

    12/31/2023 - 04:00 p.m.

    Join John Sellars, Executive Director Emeritus of the History Museum on the Square and long-time lover of local history, every Tuesday at 4:00 pm on KICK 92.3 FM.

    The program will focus on History Bits in Springfield, Local Headlines from a Century ago and a variety of guests to share local history and stories of the past.

    Check out the link for past podcasts.

    Host: History Museum

    Truly a Jewel

    Fantastic collaboration of the history of Springfield MO. and the surrounding area. Excellent presentations. Truly a jewel in the queen city’s crown. Interactive stations throughout. A must see.

    Wille E

    Hands down the best Route 66 museum

    Hands down the best Route 66 museum in Missouri and one of the top ten museums on ALL of Route 66! There’s so much to see and interact with while you’re visiting here. There are multiple floors that have a great deal of Springfield history on display. Be sure to try the virtual shoot out!!!…

    Roamin’ Rich

    Quick drop in did not disappoint!

    I had just a few moments after my lunch to stop into the new history museum. First impression: “wow.” They have done an amazing job of utilizing a compact space to relate an amazing amount of information! The exhibits are top notch and first rate—and truly transport the visitor to another place and time! My…

    Jaimie T.

    A definite MUST SEE!

    This place was AWESOME! If you can, sign up for a walking tour!!! Yes, it will cost you extra, but it’s SO worth it if you get Katie. Not sure about other docents, but Katie was just WONDERFUL! Our group learned SO much and really enjoyed ourselves! The museum itself is really great too… I…

    Wanda H.

    Latest News

    Our Stories

    Take a deeper dive into the rich history of the Springfield region and its impact on American history through our stories.

    The Possum Plague of 1929

    It’s September of 1929, and apple harvest season is nearly upon us.  The local orchard owners are sure their yields will be high, but the nearby marsupials have other plans.  Opossums descended on the fruit trees in droves, devouring apples from the ground, baskets, and straight from the branches.  As word began to spread from…

    Read More

    Adah Fulbright: The Heart of Education and Community

    Adah Fulbright was born in 1873 in Springfield. Her ancestors arrived enslaved in Springfield with the white Fulbright family and they built the first log cabin in the area. Fulbright received her secondary education and graduated from the original Lincoln School in 1891. After she graduated from high school, she went on to attend Lincoln…

    Read More

    Illuminating Stories of the Past

    Places To Visit

    The museum is located at the heart of downtown Springfield, Missouri. You’ll find parking and restaurants within walking distance. Our interactive map shows places of rich history in and around the Springfield area, from Civil War sites to the iconic Rail Haven motel on historic Route 66.