To commemorate Missouri’s 200th year of statehood, the State Historical Society of Missouri is inviting all Missouri businesses, governments, organizations and entities to contribute materials for a time capsule to be opened Aug. 10, 2046.

SHSMO is working in partnership with volunteer organization Saint Louis Ambassadors on the project, according to Senior Strategic Communications Associate Beth Pike.

Contributing entities and establishments are asked to send physical copies to the SHSMO Center for Missouri Studies of items that represent Missouri’s past and present, as well as a note to future Missouri residents outlining their hopes for the future.

“It’s a time that we can really reflect not just on our past but where are we today,” Pike said. “Of course, we’re in this pandemic, but where we’re headed to the future. Where do we want Missouri to be down the road?”

The time capsule is an opportunity not only to reflect on Missouri’s past, present and future, but also to celebrate them, according to SHSMO Bicentennial Projects Coordinator Morgan Dennehy.

Missouri’s history is long and troubled, Dennehy said, but it is impossible to move forward without recognizing and honoring the past. Realizing Missouri residents have grown from its mistakes, she said, is cause for celebration.

Dennehy and SHSMO Oral Historian Sean Rost cited Missouri’s history of slavery and racist legislation to bar nonwhite immigration into the state as two examples of the state’s troubled past.

On the other hand, Rost said Missouri’s role in westward expansion in the 1800s was significant. The western-most state when it was admitted to the Union, Missouri served as a sort of “jumping off point” to what would become the western United States.

Rost added that these commemorative projects around the state’s bicentennial celebration — of which there are more than 100 — are vital to tell the entire Missouri story, rather than only those of metro areas.

“When you think of Missouri history, we often get kind of stuck in the story of St. Louis or Kansas City or a few spots in between,” Rost said. “I think it’s important that we are telling the story of all of Missouri from the voices of a diverse cast of Missourians.”

Contributors have until Aug. 10, 2021, to send in materials, and an event will be held Aug. 27, 2021, in St. Louis to commemorate the time capsule before it is housed at the SHSMO in Columbia until 2046.

Only physical submissions will be accepted for the capsule, and they must measure no larger than eight and one-half inches by 14 inches and have a combined thickness of no more than one quarter-inch, Pike said. Submissions should be mailed to the State Historical Society of Missouri at 605 Elm St., Columbia, MO 65201, with “Time Capsule” in the attention line.

Pike said learning from the past is essential in setting Missouri residents on a forward path, especially as they reflect on Missouri’s expansive history before and after statehood.

  • Tony Madden is a Fall 2020 education reporter for the Missourian. He is studying arts and culture magazine journalism at the Missouri School of Journalism. Reach him at tonymadden@mail.missouri.edu.

  • As senior editor of the Missourian, Fred Anklam manages general assignment reporters. He can be reached at anklamf@missouri.edu or in the newsroom at 573-882-5720.

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