About the Society

The State Historical Society of Missouri is the premier research center for the study of Missouri state and local history.  Founded in 1898 by the Missouri Press Association and a trustee of the State of Missouri since 1899, the Society preserves and provides access to reference materials and historical collections through research centers located in Cape Girardeau, Columbia, Kansas City, Rolla, St. Louis, and Springfield. The Columbia research center also houses a significant art collection with ongoing and varied exhibitions and serves as the administrative headquarters for the Society.

In 2013 the Society was designated by the Missouri General Assembly as the state's planning agent for the Missouri Bicentennial Celebration commemorating 200 years of statehood in 2021.

The Society's mission is to collect, preserve, make available, and publish materials that enhance research and support learning opportunities in Missouri studies and the history of the Midwest. Society holdings include:

  • unique manuscript collections
  • an extensive newspaper collection dating from 1808 with newspapers from all 114 Missouri counties and the city of St. Louis
  • thousands of editorial cartoons that are national in scope
  • rare and specialized books
  • thousands of maps and photographic images
  • oral histories
  • an extensive art collection that includes major works by George Caleb Bingham and Thomas Hart Benton.

In addition to caring for collections and working to provide easier access to records, the Society offers programs, lectures, historical and genealogical workshops, tours for school students and adult groups, and in-depth orientation for secondary and university students conducting research. The catalog of lectures and workshops is continuously updated to meet the needs of patrons.

A specific educational outreach objective of the Columbia staff is sponsorship and coordination of the National History Day in Missouri program, which creates regional contests providing thousands of Missouri students in grades 6–12 with opportunities to engage in hands-on research. As many as 600 of these students, along with their families, teachers, and contest judges and support volunteers, come to the University of Missouri campus each spring for the state contest.

The Society's editorial division is located in Columbia and publishes the Missouri Historical Review.  This quarterly journal has been the cornerstone of the Society's publications program since 1906, offering scholarly articles on diverse topics in Missouri history. The Society is also an active book publisher. To view a catalog of recent publications produced by the Society and other publishers, please visit http://shsofmo.org.

The Society hosts the Center for Missouri Studies within its Columbia headquarters. The Center's competitive fellowship program and other initiatives extend the Society's mission to promote and disseminate the study of the state's history and culture.

Each year the Society holds its membership meeting on a Saturday in late fall. Informational sessions, workshops, and a silent auction, business meeting, luncheon, and special program featuring a guest speaker are typically part of this annual event.


    Cape Girardeau

    Research Center
    Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.


    All Columbia facilities are closed on Mondays
    Research Center & Corridor Art Gallery
    Tuesday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.
    Saturday 8:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
    Main Art Gallery
    Tuesday - Friday 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
    Administrative Office
    Tuesday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.

    Kansas City

    Research Center
    Tuesday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.


    Research Center
    Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.


    Requested Materials Available
    Fourth Wednesday of each month 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
    Requests must be made at least one week in advance—by the third Wednesday of each month.

    St. Louis

    Research Center
    Tuesday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.

Holiday Closings (subject to change)

  • New Year Day: January 1, 2015
  • Martin Luther King's Birthday: January 17 - 20, 2015
  • Memorial Day Weekend: May 23 - 25, 2015
  • Independence Day: July 3 - 4, 2015
  • Labor Day: September 5 - 7, 2015
  • Thanksgiving: Noon November 25 - November 28, 2015
  • Christmas: Noon December 24 - 26, 2015
  • New Year Day: January 1 - 2, 2016