As Missouri's bicentennial of statehood approaches in 2021, communities are being invited to develop locally-specific programs, as well as participate in several statewide projects.
The State Historical Society of Missouri is the lead agency encouraging community engagement projects to celebrate this historic milestone — Missouri entered the Union as the 24th state Aug. 10, 1821.
However, the state is not directing these events, rather supporting local communities as they take ownership of their own ideas and events, said Michael Sweeney, Missouri bicentennial coordinator.
"Right now, we're building a network, so when the time comes, we can make some things happen," he said.
The overall goal is to tell Missouri's story and cultivate a better understanding of the varied cultures, histories and geography within the 114 counties.
"This is an opportunity to think about the stories that best describe a community; how does this community want to be represented?" he said.
In Moniteau County, Sweeney has met with the Moniteau County Library and California Area Chamber of Commerce officials, so far.
"I'm very impressed with how organized they are and how they got way in front of this," library director Connie Walker said.
Walker shared the Missouri Bicentennial Quilt project information with the Bookworm Quilters. Quilting member Judy Scott said the group will discuss it.
And Walker said she expects the library will develop some kind of programming to recognize the bicentennial in 2021, before the summer reading program begins. She also suggested the Friends of the Moniteau County Library may consider a topic-related speaker for their new monthly speakers programs.
When local programs are confirmed, they can participate in the Missouri 2021 Endorsement Program, which will help with promotion.
Ozark Ham and Turkey Festival chairman Brad Baer said the California Area Chamber of Commerce also is interested in the bicentennial project, especially how the Endorsement Program could help promote the festival.
The bicentennial effort also has resources available, including "Four Years to Statehood," a set of lesson plans developed by the Missouri Council for History Education and the Missouri Humanities Council.
Bruce Nichols, president of the Moniteau County Historical Society, said they will begin to discuss ways their organization could mark the state's bicentennial.
Sweeney encouraged: "How can you best use this bicentennial occasion to promote local projects, events or history?"
The following are statewide initiatives inviting local participation.
Missouri Bicentennial Quilt
One quilt block from each county will be pieced together by the Missouri Star Quilt company to create the Missouri Bicentennial Quilt.
The assembled quilt will tour the state 2020-21.
Each block should feature "unique characteristics of Missouri culture and style," the program said. That could include aspects of geography, culture, landmarks or historic events.
The county block must be 6.5 inches square and of 100 percent cotton. A description of the feature significance must be included.
The deadline is Sept. 2.
If a county has multiple submissions, then a judging committee will select one based on meeting the qualifications and significance.
My Missouri 2021 Photograph Project
Professional and amateur photographers are invited to help build a permanent visual record of Missouri. The society will select 200 photos to exhibit across the state 2020-21 and then be preserved for future researchers, educators or the public use.
The deadline is Nov. 1.
Bicentennial Penny Drive
Elementary schools across the state have been invited to collect pennies to raise funds for conservation of founding state documents, through the Missouri Humanities Council.
Registration for the fall 2018 semester is open.
Call 314-781-9660 or send an email to [email protected] for more information.
Missouri Community Legacies
Local groups, school classes or individuals are encouraged to document local traditions, creative expressions, meaningful place and organizations and institutions of significance through the Missouri Community Legacies project.
"The goal of the program is to create a 'snapshot' of Missouri during its bicentennial of statehood and develop a resource of long-term use to students and teachers, researchers, and others interested in the rich history, life and culture of the state," promotional material said.
Information is being gathered now for the Missouri Encyclopedia, which will have a full, public launch with the bicentennial.
The concept will provide users with "easy access to authoritative information on the history and culture of Missouri."
Missourians are encouraged to share about people, places and events in the local community, county and region.
On the web:
Send an email to [email protected] for more information.