Center for Missouri Studies highlights lasting effects of state's history, culture

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 | 6:33 p.m. CDT; updated 7:19 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, August 6, 2014

COLUMBIA — A new Center for Missouri Studies will focus on how society today has been influenced by the state's history and culture and how that will continue, Mary Ellen Lohmann of The State Historical Society of Missouri said.

"There have been so many people who have traveled to or through Missouri, and that offers a varied culture for our state," Lohmann said. "It also paints a more vibrant history for us."

The center will be established this fall at the society's headquarters at MU.

"It's really just a way of looking at our current mission and making sure Missourians know that we collect and protect Missouri's history and hope they are enjoying it,"  said Lohmann, coordinator of publications and media relations. "If we don't look at (history and culture) now, there's no way we can learn from what we are doing today."

The center's activities will include supporting preparation for the state's bicentennial celebration in 2021, according to a news release from the society. The society will take the lead in planning commemorations for the anniversary.

Gary Kremer, who has been the society's executive director for more than a decade, will supervise the new center. Kremer also will be the first Center for Missouri Studies senior fellow and will spend time researching and writing state history, according to the release.

"Gary is a wonderful scholar on topics from black studies to overall general Missouri history," Lohmann said.

The center will offer two fellowships, each with a stipend of $5,000. One will promote scholarship on Missouri's environmental history and the second will seek interdisciplinary approaches to the study of Missouri's past, according to the release.

Fellowship proposals are due by Nov. 1. The process is open to both academic and independent scholars, according to the release. The fellows will present their work in a new Center for Missouri Studies Speaker Series. Application details are available at

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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