The Artifact of the Month column will feature artifacts from the park's collection, some on display, some that are in storage. Artifact of the Month is intended to give you a sneak peek behind the scenes into the history of these fascinating items.
December 03, 2013Posted by: Kathleen Moenster, Assistant Curator
Among the early industries in St. Louis, the manufacture of stoves emerged as one of the largest and most successful. The ever growing market for stoves in the West coupled with the abundance of iron from the area, made stove manufacturers quite wealthy. In the slightly more than 100 years that it existed, St. Louis led much of the country in stove manufacturing. A fine example of a cast iron stove in our collection is JEFF 4750-an 1869 cast iron parlor stove, Bridge, each and Company, Model #7-The Pearl.
October 29, 2013Posted by: Kathleen Moenster, Assistant Curator
Quilts have been a part of history as long as have beds themselves. In Europe, they comforted kings and queens. In America, however, quilts came to be used in vastly different circumstances. Here, pioneers in need of warm bed covers and with little cloth to spare, out of necessity, sewed together scrap after scrap of material to achieve bed-size patchwork panels. One of the many sources of inspiration for quilt patterns was pioneer living itself which contributed to the development of the “Log Cabin” pattern. The Artifact of the Month is an example of a 19th century “Log Cabin” style quilt from the collections. In making these quilted bed covers, women also achieved a level of beauty and creative expression not otherwise found in many frontier homes.
July 19, 2013Posted by: Kathleen Moenster, Assistant Curator
The 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition was a showcase of man’s progress. It was intended to commemorate a proud past but also point the way to a bright future. In order to assist the many visitors that attended the Fair, daily programs were issued serving as guide books that described the day’s events and provided a map of the Fair. JEFF 2333 is one of those colorful programs from October 8th, 1904.
April 30, 2013Posted by: Kathleen Moenster, Assistant Curator
The impact of the jukebox on American culture was profound. People now had the freedom to listen to what they wanted to, almost anywhere they wanted. On exhibit in the St. Louis gallery of the Old Courthouse is JEFF 8277, a Seeburg Rex 1937 model art deco style jukebox that holds 20 records. The development of the jukebox is an interesting story.
February 28, 2013Posted by: Kathleen Moenster, Assistant Curator
Paul Rockwood was an American graphic artist, printmaker and lithographer who made many drawings of keelboats, flatboats and other views of early transportation on the western rivers. Keelboats were common rivercraft at the beginning of the 19th century. The history of early transportation on the Mississippi River would be incomplete without a discussion of the important role of the keelboat. Artifact JEFF 1407 is a well-executed pen and ink drawing by Paul Rockwood which depicts the arduous t
December 06, 2012Posted by: Kathleen Moenster, Assistant Curator
Swiss artist Karl Bodmer was one of the greatest painters of the American West. His aquatint engraving "Steamer Yellow-Stone/On The/19th April 1833" is the artifact of the month. His works are remarkable for their careful detail and sensitivity and are recognized as some of the most perceptive and visually compelling visions of America and its peoples.
November 20, 2012Posted by: Jennifer Clark, Archivist
The Gateway Arch Ephemera Collection is meant to document the development of the image of the Arch to become the primary icon of St. Louis. Since 1948, the image of the Gateway Arch has been used in a wide variety of ways and represented on all types of materials. The collection comprises items on which the Gateway Arch design has been used artistically and commercially to promote ideas, products and events associated with St. Louis.
September 19, 2012Posted by: Kathleen Moenster, Assistant Curator
Since America is now in the throes of the 2012 Presidential campaign and election, it seems like an appropriate time to discuss examples of campaign buttons from the Jefferson National Expansion collection.
September 18, 2012Posted by: Jennifer Clark, Archivist
This month’s artifact of the month is one of the park’s wonderful archival collections - The Fur Trade Illustration Project. This fascinating collection consists of two hundred and fifty pen and ink drawings by National Park Service artists William Macy and James Mulcahy.
September 17, 2012Posted by: Kathleen Moenster, Assistant Curator
This large, silver Thomas Jefferson peace medal was donated to Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in 1964. It is a fascinating piece of the past. These precious medals were given as tokens by explorers to important leaders and chiefs of Native American tribes as a symbol of peace and friendship between the two groups. Read about its interesting history.
March 01, 2012Posted by: Jennifer Clark, Archivist
The collection comprises the records of park historian Don Rickey. In the 1960s, Rickey was planning exhibits for the Museum of Westward Expansion and was searching for information, letters, photos and artifacts from men who were soldiers in the United States Army in the West. Rickey undertook a project in 1962 to contact all the surviving un-remarried widows of Indian Wars Veterans who were still receiving pensions from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
January 01, 2012Posted by: Jennifer Clark, Archivist
January's artifact of the month is Titian Ramsay Peale's insect specimen collection kit. This kit was a vital tool of one of America's early naturalist explorers used in his efforts to document the native species of the American continent.
November 01, 2011Posted by: Jennifer Clark, Archivist
The artifact of the month for November is a pair of extremely large and elaborate vases that were presented to St. Louis lawyer Charles Gibson as a gift from the Prince Regent of Prussia Wilhelm I (later to be King of Prussia and the first Emperor of Germany). The gift was in recognition of Gibson's work representing the previous King of Prussia, King Friedrich Wilhelm IV, in a legal case that took place in St. Louis' Old Courthouse.
September 01, 2011Posted by: Jennifer Clark, Archivist
The artifact of the month for September is a fascinating reminder of the hostility and resentment that remained in the state after the end of the Civil War. This Oath of Loyalty book consists of pages containing the text of the "test oath" and the signatures of men holding (or seeking) public office in the city.
On September 10, 1804 on Cedar Island, in South Dakota, William Clark discovered the fossilized remains of the ribs, backbone and teeth of a plesiosaur. Plesiosaurs were animals who lived at the same time as the dinosaurs, but swam rather than walking on land. Clark thought it was a giant fish bone!