Urban Museum Collaborative: Audience Development Project

In 2009, three small museums in downtown St. Louis came together to form the Urban Museum Collaborative. The Campbell House Museum, Eugene Field House Museum, and Griot Museum of Black History formed this group to is to promote a cohesive narrative of 19th century life in St. Louis through shared knowledge, interconnected outreach, and collaborative curriculum plans.

 The Missouri Humanities Council provided over $50,000 to support this new museum effort, making it still one of the largest grant projects ever funded by MHC. Each museum developed new curriculums and school programs. They focused on themes like opportunity, westward expansion, enterprise, urban growth, slavery, art, and culture. Funding also allowed them to create “touch trunks” – a collection of artifacts related to the museum that produce sensory activities for grade school classrooms. New promotional materials were printed to encourage multi-site visits and highlight the connection between all three museums.

Each museum was also able to complete one large-scale project specific to their site. The Campbell House reinterpreted many of its artifacts and updated its text panels to more accurately reflect its history. The Eugene Field House constructed a new historic garden to host events and workshops during spring and summer months. The Griot Museum rebranded and launched a new marketing campaign. Thanks to these efforts, all three museums have increased visitation and refreshed the history of 19th century St. Louis.