The History Department provides scholarship and teaching in the public interest. Our partnerships with schools, historical agencies, and communities serve the university’s land grant mission. We help make UMSL a Carnegie Foundation designated Community Engaged Campus.
Our Partners Include:
In Spring 2019, students from the Museums, Heritage, and Public History Program from the University of Missouri – Saint Louis partnered with the Griot Museum of Black History to design and install the exhibit, "Still We Thrive." Created in consultation with community members, the exhibit highlighted the history, identity, resilience, and activism of the following historic Saint Louis area African-American neighborhoods: The Ville, Fountain Park, and Lewis Place. The exhibit was on display in May and June of 2019. Please contact Dr. Andrew Hurley for more information.
View pictures of last year's exhibit and this project.
UMSL is home to the Mercantile, the oldest library west of the Mississippi. Its world-class collections of manuscripts and artifacts make it an exciting place to do research projects or complete an internship.
We partner with the Missouri History Museum in the Museum Studies Program, student internships, the Primm Lecture, and special projects.
Have Blues Will Travel
On the evening of December 4, 2020, the National Blues Museum in St. Louis celebrated the opening of “Have Blues, Will Travel,” an exhibit curated by students in UMSL’s Museums, Heritage, and Public History graduate program. The exhibit chronicles the experience of African American blues performers who toured the country during the era of Jim Crow. For Black musicians who made their living by traveling, life on the road involved a series of challenges: where to buy a meal, where to find overnight lodging, and how to avoid the dangers associated with being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Blues musicians relied on guides like the Green Book to design safe travel itineraries and they depended on a network of clubs and dance halls, often owned by Black entrepreneurs, that catered to Black or mixed-race audiences. “Have Blues, Will Travel,” brings this difficult period of time to life through photographs, stories, and music.
The exhibit was researched and designed exclusively by UMSL students in Spring 2020, over the course of a single semester. While some of the research took students to libraries and archives, many important insights came from conversations with people who lived the history: blues performers and record producers. Originally scheduled to open in May, the exhibit was placed on hold when Covid-19 forced the temporary closure of the museum. The exhibit will remain on display through July 2021 at the National Blues Museum, 615 Washington Avenue.
We host the regional competition for National History Day, a year-long academic program focused on historical research, interpretation and creative expression for 6th to 12th grade students.
Located in the Thomas Jefferson Library, the State Historical Society of Missouri focuses on preserving the diverse history of the city, its people, and the region within a statewide context. Its collections provide students the opportunity to develop their own research projects.