Missouri Historical Society To Take Over and Renovate Soldiers Memorial Military Museum

By Krystin Arneson
In Culture

The Missouri Historical Society (the group that runs the Missouri History Museum) signed an agreement with the city on Wednesday to turn over operational control of Soldiers Memorial Military Museum to the MHS and approve a $30 million renovation plan to revive it. Signed on Veterans Day, the deal will result in a state-of-the-art museum that tells the story of St. Louisans who have served at home and abroad and that honors veterans and their families.

Rendering of proposed renovation plans | photo courtesy of the Missouri Historical Society

Rendering of proposed renovation plans | photo courtesy of the Missouri Historical Society

“Our long-term agreement with this team of experts will ensure that this Memorial is transformed into a world-class museum that honors our fallen and pays respect to those who fight for our freedoms,” said Mayor Francis Slay in a press release. “We owe this to our veterans and their families.”

The MHS will truly be doing it all, not just renovating the space but also taking charge of collections and exhibitions, and they’ll close the building in the spring to get it all going. Right now, the price tag of the project is $29-30 million, and it’s estimated the restoration will take just a bit longer than two years to complete.

photo courtesy of the Missouri Historical Society

Exterior of Soldiers Memorial | photo courtesy of the Missouri Historical Society

One of the biggest renovations will be turning the lower level into a gallery space, which will double the amount of room the building has for exhibitions. The other items on the to-do list right now include a building facelift (though efforts will be made to “respect the architectural and historical integrity of it,” says MHS President Dr. Frances Levine) and exterior cleaning, getting a good HVAC in there and ensuring it’s ADA-compliant.

The MHS has a strong museum track record: The Missouri History Museum is one of the most-visited in the nation, and it has the highest accreditation possible in the field (only the top 3 percent of museums in the US achieve it).

Operational costs for the museum will come from an MHS endowment from anonymous donors—no additional taxpayer dollars will be used for this public-private partnership.

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