How to celebrate the bicentennial of Missouri in Columbia this weekend

Something fun, entertaining, educational or all three is a goal of the Missouri bicentennial celebration this weekend in Columbia.

The event from Friday to Sunday is called Festes Junts pel 21.

“We have different things for everyone,” said Michael Sweeney, coordinator of the bicentennial of the Missouri State Historical Society. “There’s music, food shows, talks.”

Planning has been going on for over two years.

Everything is free, Sweeney said. Masks will be needed inside.

The events will be held at the Missouri Center for the Study of the State Historical Society of Missouri and on the campus of the University of Missouri, including Jesse Hall, Missouri Theater and Peace Park.

A full calendar of events is available at

A preview of “Missouri! A Bicentennial Celebration,” produced by Ozarks Public Television and KMOS-TV, will be screened Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Missouri Theater before being shown on PBS stations statewide on the 12th. of August.

A Virtual House Lounge with a 70% scale version of Thomas Hart Benton’s mural “A Social History of Missouri” will be installed at the Jesse Hall roundabout. Bob Priddy of the Missouri State Historical Society will offer informative tours of the mural at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., and 1 p.m. on Friday.

Previously: Columbia Bicentennial Weekend scheduled August 6-8

There are several talks planned. Steve Bilko, executive director of the Missouri Humanities Council, will speak at 11 a.m. Friday about his book “Contesting the Constitution: Congress Debates the Missouri Crisis, 1819-1821.”

The talk will be at Cook Hall, Center for Missouri Studies.

Sean Rost, an oral historian with the Missouri State Historical Society, attaches eyelashes hung on the back of a panel depicting the bicentennial of Missouri.

Slavery was an underlying problem when Missouri was admitted as a state, but not the only problem, Bilko said Monday by phone to preview his talk.

The main question was whether Congress has the power to put conditions in a territory that wants to be admitted as a state, Bilko said.

“It’s a major constitutional crisis in American history,” he said.

There was no problem when Alabama was admitted as a slave state in 1819, he said.

“For many northern congressmen, this is not part of the original United States,” he said. “Does not apply”.

The Missouri Bicentennial Quilt is a project of the Missouri State Historical Society and the Missouri Star Quilt Company in collaboration with the Missouri State Quilters Guild.  The quilt is on display at the Missouri Studies Center of the Missouri State Historical Society.

Congressman James Talmadge Jr. he tabled an amendment that would have gradually emancipated enslaved people in Missouri, Bilko said. It failed.

The Missouri Compromise resulted, admitting Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state. It also banned slavery in all other Louisiana purchasing territories south of Missouri.

“The Missouri Commitment really fostered on the sidelines an ardent anti-slavery faction and such an ardent faction of pro-slavery apologists,” Bilko said.

The political division has comparisons with some of the current political divisions, he said.

More MU news: The COVID-19 pandemic exposes the digital divide for black families and online education, according to a University of Missouri study

The weekend will include other interesting events, Sweeney said. The Missouri folk arts program will feature two violin jam sessions and a blacksmith demonstration over the weekend. There are violin sessions at 3pm on Friday at Peace Park and 2pm on Saturday at Jesse Hall. The blacksmith demonstration is Saturday at noon until 3 p.m., in a location well across from the Center for Missouri Studies.

The bicentennial staff of the State Historical Society of Missouri Center for Missouri Studies, left, Clara Barclay, a student of oral history;  Michael Sweeney, bicentennial coordinator;  John Schneider, assistant preparator for the art department;  and oral historian Sean Rost installs 4-by-8-foot panels depicting Missouri history for the center’s bicentennial view.

MU engineering students have created a virtual gallery showcasing the entire Scruggs-Vandervoort-Barney painting collection at the MU Museum of Art and Archeology.

The paintings, created in 1946 and 1947, highlight the state’s industry, agriculture and recreational activities.

Sweeney said all the paintings have never been shown at once.

“It’s really a great Missouri snapshot from the 1940s” in the paintings, Sweeney said.

“Missouri – Heart of the Nation: A Virtual Reality Exhibit” will be shown on the MU campus from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Lafferre Hall VR Lab and Jesse Hall Roundabout.

There will be a panel discussion on the exhibit at 9 a.m. Friday in Cook Hall at the Center for Missouri Studies.

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