Spend five minutes in Missouri and you'll figure out how heavily German this state is. It's evident in the multiplicity of German family and town names (Hermann ring a bell?), the resonant traditions of winemaking in our river valleys and brewing beer in our cities. But most of us probably don't know how key a role a certain group of German immigrants played in antebellum- and Civil War-era Missouri. Utopia: Revisiting a German State in America
at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; 314-746-4599 or www.mohistory.org) will fill us in. The new exhibit charts the fortunes of the Giessen Emigration Society, 500 souls who left Germany for the United States in 1834 with the intention of founding a Utopian state. Eventually they settled in Missouri, where their decidedly freethinking (read: progressive) philosophy informed their stance on slavery; they were staunch abolitionists within a state that was mainly pro-Confederate. Originating in Giessen, Germany, last year, the show has emigrated to our city, where it is open daily.
Credit: Organized by Municipality of Giessen in co-operation with Traveling Summer Republic. Co-organized by Cultural Church St. Stephen, Bremen; German-American Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C.; and the Missouri History Museum.
Nov. 22-Dec. 24, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Dec. 26-April 19, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 2014