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See American History Unfold


Discover the Springfield, Missouri region and its imprint on America’s past through this interactive museum experience. Step back in time at The History Museum on the Square.


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 2 Service with a Smile!

    08/03/2023 - 00:00

    Route 66 Series culminating with The Mother Road’s 100th birthday in 2026.

    Service with a Smile: Route 66 Service Stations celebrates the service stations and people who ran them along Route 66 in Springfield, Missouri.

    Service with a Smile! is the second of five annual exhibits featuring the history, culture, and impact of Route 66.
    The Route 66 Series will culminate with The Mother Road’s 100th birthday in 2026.

    General Admission applies.

    Thank you Series Sponsor:

    O’Reilly Automotive

    MSU Libraries – Ozarks Studies Institute

    Exhibit Sponsor:

    Rick’s Automotive

    History Museum on the Square is a 501c3 nonprofit organization; all donations are tax-deductible as prescribed by law.

    General Admission Applies – You can purchase tickets at Guest Services.

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

    Haunted History Walking/Bus Tours

    09/22/2023 - 05:30 p.m.

    Unveiling the history behind downtown’s haunts.

    Join us for one of our Haunted History Walking or Bus Tours this year.

    The Haunted Walking Tours start at the History Museum on the Square and travel about a mile between Campbell Street, Walnut Street and Jefferson Street. Some of the stops include a visit to the Historic Fox Theatre, the Calaboose, South Avenue, Woodruff Building and more.

    The Bus Tour includes downtown Springfield Commercial Street and Drury University, expanding on stories beyond the walking tour route.

    These fundraising dates are on Friday and Saturday 5:30 pm, starting Friday, September 15th through Saturday, October 28th.

    Walking Tour prices for Non-members $25.00, Members $20.00

    Bus Tour prices for Non-members $40.00, Members $35.00

    Haunted History Tours are a yearly fundraiser for the History Museum on the Square.  Tickets are non-refundable.

    Thank you to our sponsors:

    BPJ Insurance, Fisk Transporation and Associated Theatrical Contractors

    By reserving your spot, you have agreed to the Terms of Release. Terms of Release are attached for you and your minors to read and agree to. There will also be copies at Guest Services when you arrive for the tour. Haunted Release, Indem, HH, Photo Consent 2023.docx


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

    Sensory Friendly Saturdays

    10/14/2023 - 10:00 a.m.

    Event Dates:
    October 14, 2023
    November 11, 2023
    December 9, 2023
    January 13, 2024
    February 10, 2024
    March 9, 2024
    April 13, 2024
    May 11, 2024
    June 8, 2024
    General Admission Applies – No registration needed.


    Host: History Museum
    Location: 154 Park Central Square

    History Museum Book Club

    10/24/2023 - 07:00 p.m.

    Our next read is Dead Presidents: An American Adventure into the Strange Deaths and Surprising Afterlives of Our Nation’s Leaders by Brady Carlson.
    We will meet on Tuesday, October 24th at 7 p.m. in Community Room A at the Library Center (4653 S Campbell Ave).

    Host: History Museum
    Location: History Museum on the Square

    Commercial Street Walking Tour

    12/31/2023 - 10:30 a.m.

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

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

    These walking tours will start again in the Spring of 2024.  If you are interested in scheduling a private tour, call us for details.


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

    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

    Route 66 Bus Tours – Get on the Mother Road!

    12/31/2023 - 01:00 p.m.

    Tour Dates:

    Check back in 2024 for new dates.


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

    Downtown Walking Tour

    12/31/2023 - 05:30 p.m.

    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, and more!

    These tours will start again in the Spring 2024.  If you are interested in scheduling a private tour for your group, call us for details.

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

    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.