Our Stories

Museum Hours
It’s Sunday 8:38 am — Sorry, we’re closed
Monday – Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday – Saturday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

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…

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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…

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Gerald Brooks: Lincoln Band Director

 Gerald Brooks was born on January 6, 1913 in Quincy, Illinois. After his mother passed away at a young age, he moved to Hannibal, Missouri and attended Douglas High School. While at Douglas, he was greatly influenced by his own band teacher, Martin A. Lewis. Gerald Brooks graduated from Lincoln University in Jefferson City in…

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70th Anniversary of the Great Cobra Scare

2023 is already shaping up to be a big year for Springfield!   This year also happens to be the 70th anniversary of the Great Cobra Scare of 1953.  If you haven’t heard the details yet, be prepared to learn your new favorite story from Springfield’s history.  In August of 1953, Rio Mowrer owned a…

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Thanksgiving: A Holiday with History

Thanksgiving is a holiday that has changed a great deal over the course of American history. Its origins are wrapped up in the colonial founding story of our country: that of English Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock and the “First Thanksgiving.” The reality, however, is more complicated. Tracing the history of November’s big holiday backward…

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Bonnie and Clyde in Springfield: Kidnapping, Robbery, and Tangible History

The Depression Era of the early nineteen-thirties is home to many enduring American stories. One of the most famous is that of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, the infamous criminal couple who robbed, kidnapped, and murdered their way across the central United States for several consecutive years before their eventual death at the hands of…

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Bob Barker: Springfield Citizen, Television Legend

Bob Barker was born in Darrington, Washington on December 12th, 1923.  He spent most of his childhood on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Mission, South Dakota, where he was listed as an enrolled member of the Sioux tribe. His family moved to Springfield, where Barker graduated Central High School and attended Drury University on a…

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Springfield, Missouri: The Birthplace of Route 66

If you’ve spent even a few hours in Springfield, you’re bound to see a sign declaring it “The Birthplace of Route 66”.  This may sound like a bold claim, considering that the route begins and ends in Chicago and Los Angeles.  While our city is not the start of the physical highway, it is where…

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On the Diamond: African American Baseball in Springfield

Baseball in Springfield was segregated either by law or by custom until the 1950s. Information about the early African American teams is largely unavailable. The Hyde Park All Stars, sometimes known as the “Stars” took on all comers. They were an African American, semi-professional, barnstorming baseball team. They traveled to other cities and played teams…

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Notable Women in Agriculture

Around 12,000 years ago our hunter-gatherer ancestors began farming, providing themselves with a larger and more easily accessible food source.  The first tenders to these crops would have been men and women, working together to ensure the availability of their food. Since then, we have learned about famous and influential male farmers such as George…

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