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The History

Missouri became the 24th state of the United States of America on August 10th, 1821. In the two centuries since, Missouri has become and integral part of the nation, rich in geography, culture, and community. Our state’s approaching bicentennial is a unique opportunity to commemorate its history. 

Our Bicentennial programming will be a three-year commemoration of the region, people, and 114 unique counties that make up Missouri. We aim to engage Missourians of all ages, and visitors alike, in educational programs, community activities, and fundraising initiatives that explore our state’s past and look toward its future. 

Missouri 2021 Bicentennial Challenges: Missouri Explorers

In partnership with the Missouri 2021 Bicentennial, we created a “German Heritage Corridor Challenge” and a “Native American Heritage Challenge” as part of Missouri Explorers program, which encourages people to travel across the state and participate in challenges to receive Missouri Explorers merit badge buttons. Click below to view these challenges, or check out to see the full list of challenges!


Bicentennial Exhibit: Struggle for Statehood

Struggle for Statehood traces the history of Missouri towards American statehood and explores why its application for admission sparked a national crisis that almost destroyed the very Union Missouri sought to join. Visitors will learn about the significance of the controversy and its lasting implications on our state and nation. Struggle for Statehood will be on exhibition in Missouri communities until December 2021.

Exhibit panels include: Missouri’s First Peoples, Colonial Missouri, The Americanization of Missouri, Slavery Along the Mississippi, Living on the Edge of Statehood, How to Join the Union, The Rise of “The North” and Antislavery Politics, The Crisis in Public Opinion, Crisis in Congress and Compromise, Missouri’s First Elected Leaders, Missouri Constitutional Convention, Aftermath: The State the Union Couldn’t Swallow. 

For more information on Host Site Locations and Dates where you can visit this exhibit see our Events Calendar. For more information, email Claire Bruntrager at


Wondrous Writings of Missouri

Our “Wondrous Writings of Missouri – Bicentennial Literacy Lectures” will operate statewide for one year beginning August, 2020 and conclude with a culminating event in Jefferson City, MO in August 2021. This series will feature presentations from scholars throughout Missouri at select historical sites in the state and will commemorate literature produced by writers who lived in, or worked in the state, or who’s writings reflect the history, heritage, culture, and/or people of Missouri.

Presentation themes may include; Fiction (novels and short-stories), Non-Fiction (essays, narratives, biographies and autobiographies), Folklore, Poetry, and Theater Plays.

Host Site Locations and Dates can be found on our Events Calendar. For more information, email Claire Bruntrager at

Read Former MH Executive Director Steve Belko’s Struggle For Statehood Article in Missouri Life Magazine


Read Former MH Executive Director Steve Belko’s “Reinterpreting the Declaration of Independence: Congress Debates the Missouri Admission Crisis” Article on Starting Points Journal


Missouri Penny Drive

From 2018 to 2020, elementary schools throughout Missouri collected pennies in honor of Missouri’s upcoming Bicentennial. Proceeds collected were used to fund the conservation of important state founding documents.  

Thank you to the following elementary schools for hosting a Penny Drive!

Alma Schrader ElementaryBlue Ridge ElementaryClippard ElementaryEastwood Hills ElementaryFleetridge ElementaryLaurel Hills ElementaryLittle Blue ElementaryNorfleet ElementaryRobinson ElementarySouthwood ElementarySpring Valley Elementary, and Westridge Elementary

Missouri Bicentennial Alliance Event, 2018

The Bicentennial Alliance of Missouri consists of Missouri Humanities, the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy, the Missouri Council for History Education, the Missouri History Museum, the Missouri State Archives, and the State Historical Society of Missouri.

On January 8, 2018, exactly 200 years to the very day that petitions from the citizens of the Territory of Missouri were submitted to Congress by Henry Clay, we joined to celebrate the official collaboration of this Bicentennial Alliance. The evening was attended by numerous legislators, including Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft. 

To view MO Humanities Events, including Bicentennial Events, visit our calendar.