St. Louis, like all major cities which are located on the banks of a river, thrived as a settlement even as early as the sixteenth century, when it was inhabited by the mound dwellers and thereby got the name ‘Mound City’. Over a period of time, it was annexed by the French because of its strategic location, who held on to the city till the early nineteenth century when it finally became a part of the USA. The city was an important commercial center as it was bestowed by all the conditions that are essential for trade, namely pliable waterways, road connectivity, and centralized location. St. Louis faced its share of wars and epidemics and having emerged triumphantly, grew into a cultural center for performing arts of all types. As a city, it is blessed with a lot of museums that showcase its history and narrate with pride its journey through centuries.
Among the innumerable museums gracing the city of St. Louis, some of the famous ones are listed as follows:
St. Louis Art Museum
The St. Louis Art Museum is a part of Forest Park and is home to paintings by world-famous artists like Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Picasso. Built in 1904 for the World’s Fair, it attempts to blend the history of the city with the present by exhibiting the modern works of art alongside the ancient artifacts and masterpieces.
The Museum was founded in 1879 and was then called the St. Louis School and Museum of Fine Arts, an independent entity within Washington University. The museum has the largest collection of artwork on display in the city, with three floors featuring a variety of styles of artwork from all over the world. The first floor has artwork from all of the continents. The second has more traditional artwork such as paintings, Christian art, sculptures, and special exhibits. The third floor has abstract and contemporary art.
Designed by famed architect Cass Gilbert, the Museum’s Beaux-Arts style building bears the inscription Dedicated to Art and Free to All. Through generations of public support and private benefaction, the Museum has assembled one of the finest comprehensive art collections in the country.
The Saint Louis Art Museum is one of the leading art museums in the country. With an average of more than 550,000 visitors each year, the Museum is among the top ten nationwide in attendance. The oldest publicly supported art museum in the country, it consistently ranks first nationwide in per capita educational service to its community.
The Eugene Field House is a museum that is dedicated to the life of Eugene Field, who used to write books for children.
Contemporary Art Museum in Grand Center is a rare noncollecting museum which conducts educational seminars and exhibitions known for their high standards and knowledge.
The Missouri History Museum depicts the history of the state specifically focusing on the World’s Fair held in 1904 and Lewis and Clark’s adventurous and eventful voyage.
The City Museum, as the name goes, is a miniature representation of the city of St. Louis and its main attractions are old chimneys, salvaged bridges and construction cranes which have all been an inevitable part of the city. It was built by Bob Cassilly and his 20 workmen who converted the venue of an international shoe company into a museum.
The Museum of Transportation was founded in 1944 with the intention of preserving the modes of transportation used during the early days. The museum has on display railway equipment like freight cars and passenger cars which were used by the early pioneers, classic models of automobiles which have long been removed from circulation and an assortment of aircraft, boats, and buses which have been a part of the city’s history.
St. Louis Children’s Aquarium Museum is home to a number of species of aquatic animals that were handed over to the museum as orphans. The exhibits include an insight into the aquatic ecosystems existing in different parts of the world and that visitors are allowed to watch the animals being fed and maintained by experts.
Campbell House Museum
The Campbell House Museum is dedicated to the life of Robert Campbell, who resided there with his family from 1854 to 1938. This museum is a true reflection of the opulent Victorian architecture and was renovated and restored over a period of five years at the cost of three million US dollars.
Victorian home-turned-museum was built in 1851 and features a carriage house, romantic gazebo, and aromatic rose garden. This museum is a nonprofit organization.
The Campbell House Museum is an 1851 three-story townhouse once owned by Robert Campbell, one of St. Louis’ most prominent residents. Because Campbell’s sons lived in the home until 1938, and shortly after that it became a museum, 90 percent of the Campbell furnishings have been retained making the museum a showcase of Victorian furnishings and decorative arts.
After a monumental five- year, million restoration the museum now stands as one of the most accurately restored 19th Century buildings in America, reflecting the high- Victorian opulence of the 1880s.
The museum contains hundreds of original Campbell possessions including furniture, paintings, clothing, letters, carriages and a unique set of interior photographs taken in the mid- 1880s.
Museum hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The Campbell House is closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and National holidays.
Admission and a guided tour is per person, children 12 and under are free. Reservations are not necessary.
Hours : 10a- 4p Tu- Sa, noon- 4p Su.