Powers Museum Needs Your Help

The Powers Museum of Carthage needs your help. Recently, the museum’s air condition system had a near catastrophic failure. The result is that only the main gallery and library are receiving air conditioning, while the storage area of the museum, home to many of the museum’s most valuable and climate sensitive items, is not.

As noted in the above linked Joplin Globe article, never in the museum’s 24 years has it requested public help, but the cost of replacing the faltering system is more than the museum’s usual sources of funding can support. Repairs are not an option, unfortunately, as the company which makes the needed parts is now out of business.

The Director of the Powers Museum, Michelle Hansford, stated in the Globe article, “Powers Museum has never solicited the community for operational or maintenance support before, but now we need their help to make this repair possible. Any gift, no matter what size, will be used for this purpose. At this point, anything would be appreciated.”

If you have never been to the Powers Museum, it is definitely worth a visit and a fine example of what a local history museum should be. Please show your support for local history and make whatever donation you can to help preserve Jasper County’s history.

Globe Coverage of Powers Museum Lee Grant Exhibit

We previously mentioned the impending opening of the traveling Lee – Grant Exhibit, but wanted to bring to attention some coverage of it by the Joplin Globe.   The article includes a nice list of events happening in relation to the exhibit such as lectures, and reminds us, the exhibit is only around until the 20th of this month!  Also touched upon is Amanda Shurlds, the wife of General Grant’s brother-in-law.  With the impending 150th anniversary of the Civil War about to begin next year, now is the time to refresh yourself with the generals who helped brought about the war’s end.

Riches From the Earth

A typical mining scene around Joplin.

A typical mining scene around Joplin.

From time to time, we like to point out resources for Joplin’s and Southwest Missouri’s history.  For those of you who haven’t glanced at our links page, you likely haven’t noticed the link to Missouri Digital Heritage.  At that site is located the repository of the Joplin Public Library digital postcard collection which was used to great effect by Patrick McPheron in his Joplin video that we posted a couple days ago.  However, that’s not all that you can find at Missouri Digital Heritage worth looking at with concern to Joplin.  Another fantastic resource is Riches from the Earth.

Riches from the Earth describes its purpose as, “Riches of the Earth provides a basic introduction to the geological and industrial heritage of the Tri-State Mineral District. This district encompasses southwest Missouri, southeast Kansas, and northeast Oklahoma and was one of the United States’ richest mineral districts of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.”  More importantly, it’s focused entirely on Jasper County, the “heart of the Tri-State Mineral District.”  What follows is 261 images of mining, from mines to miners, to even a few mules.

Interior of a Joplin Mine

Interior of a Joplin Mine

The project is a collaboration between the Powers Museum, Missouri Southern’s Spiva Library Archives and Special Collections, the Western Historical Manuscript Collection-Rolla at the Missouri University of Science and Technology (U of Missouri – Rolla), and the Joplin Museum Complex.  It should be noted that if you have hopes of taking a peek at any of the Joplin Museum Complex’s photograph collection, this will be your only bet outside of buying one of the couple books the museum has deigned to publish periodically.  At this time, the photograph collection is generally off limits to the inquiring public (and in the process – Joplinites are cut off from freely accessing the best photographic and visual depiction of the city’s past).

Photograph access aside, Riches From the Earth is a good source for historic images of Joplin’s and Jasper County’s mining past.  It does suffer some from the slightly clunky interface of Missouri Digital Heritage website, but it’s a small price to pay for a glimpse into the past.

Note: All images are from Historic Joplin’s own collection.

Lee & Grant Traveling Exhibit Arrives at Powers Museum

Wikipedia image of Robert E. Lee painting

A portait of Lee via Wikipedia.

The much talked about Lee & Grant traveling exhibit will be opening September 1st at the Powers Museum in Carthage. The exhibit features,”a major reassessment of the lives, careers, and historical impact of Civil War generals Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant.”  Furthermore, the exhibit, “encourages audiences to move beyond the traditional mythology of both men and rediscover them within the context of their own time — based on their own words and those of their contemporaries.” To do this, the exhibit uses a great variety of items, such as photographs, paintings, accouterments, coins, prints, and reproduction clothing.  Also used are documents written by each of the famous generals.

Unknown to many, Julia Grant, Ulysses’ wife, had relatives who lived in Carthage, which created a connection to the Jasper County city and the Grants.  Lee also has a connection to Missouri, where while in service with the Corps of Engineers, he helped to prevent the Mississippi from flowing away from the bustling city of St. Louis.

For a sneak peak of the exhibit, check out this link on the exhibit from the National Endowment For the Humanities.

Of course, available all year round is the Powers Museum, a great place for local history.