Houston native Norman Brown visits with Michael Sweeney, coordinator of Missouri Bicentennial, right, over lunch Wednesday in Houston. 

Texas County residents received their first look last week at a 2021 celebration of Missouri’s 200th birthday.

Michael Sweeney, Missouri bicentennial coordinator, stopped at Houston’s Melba Performing Arts Center as part of statewide tour to build awareness for numerous activities underway.

Sweeney said the Missouri General Assembly asked the State Historical Society of Missouri to help commemorate the event that will mark Missouri’s entry as the 24th state to join the United States of America. Locally, the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce, Houston Community Betterment and Arts Council and Downtown Houston Inc. hosted the event.

The plan for 2021 revolves around allowing the state’s residents “to celebrate, explore and share perspectives on the state’s rich history and culture” locally and as part of statewide activities.

Several activities are planned

Sweeney outlined many opportunities for participation.

•Missouri encyclopedia: The online effort provides users easy access to authoritative information on the history and culture of Missouri. Residents can contribute topics at MissouriEncyclopedia.org.


•My Missouri 2021 Photograph Project: The endeavor involves professional and amateur photographers capturing and sharing distinctive places in the state. Those selected will be shown on the Missouri 2021 website (Missouri2021.org), social media platforms and exhibition across Missouri. At the end, photographs will be added to the State Historical Society of Missouri’s permanent collections for use by researchers, teachers, students and the public.

•Missouri Community Legacies: Local groups and school classes are invited to document local traditions, meaningful places, organizations, institutions of significance to communities, counties and the region. Sweeney said the result will be a snapshot of Missouri built by its people. A field kit is available at Missouri2021.org.


Michael Sweeney, coordinator of the state’s 2021 bicentennial, speaks Wednesday at the Melba Performing Arts Center in Houston. 

•Missouri Bicentennial Quilt: In commemoration of Missouri’s 200th birthday, Missouri Star Quilt Co. in Hamilton and the State Historical Society of Missouri will seek a quilt block from every Missouri county and the City of St. Louis. It will be assembled into a single quilt. More information is at Missouri2021.org.

•Bicentennial Penny Drive: A project of the Missouri Humanities Council, the effort is occurring at Missouri public elementary and intermediate schools. The goal of the penny drive is to raise fund for the conservation of founding state documents. To learn more, call Claire Bruntrager, associate director, at claire@mohumanities.org or call 314-781-9660.

•Endorsement Program: Local organizations wanting to sponsor events can gain publicity through an endorsement program by the statewide organization. It allows use of a logo and triggers promotion on the statewide website and social media platforms. In Cape Girardeau region, 15 communities are working on a traveling mural project, Sweeney said.

Other statewide projects are planned: Missouri will update its license plates for the first time in 10 years, lesson plans for “Four Years to Statehood” are available for third-fifth grades, a statewide reading program might be implemented for adults and children, a musicians bureau and passport/badge book for those traveling to events.

Sweeney was accompanied to the meeting by Kathleen Seale, senior archivist at the State Historical Society of Missouri’s Rolla Research Center.

How can you stay in touch? Find information on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @Missouri 2021 or join the email list at Missouri 2021.org.

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