Collections from Missouri National Parks

National Park Service, Centennial One Object Exhibit

In celebration of the National Park Service Centennial in 2016, this exhibit showcases one object from every national park museum collection in Missouri. We invite you to explore museum collections from George Washington Carver National Monument, Harry S Truman National Historic Site, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, and Wilson's Creek National Battlefield.

The sculpture represents George Washington Carver as a youth, seated on a rock. He holds a plant in his left hand and gazes upward.

George Washington Carver National Monument

Harry S Truman became the 33rd President of the United States upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt on April 16, 1945. This foulard patterned bow tie exemplifies Truman’s personal style and was neatly tied around his neck that day when he solemnly took the oath of office. President Truman’s bold neckwear was often the subject of discussion in Washington circles and within his own family. On June 1, 1945 he wrote, “I’m always so lonesome when the family leaves. I have no one to raise a fuss over my neckties…I usually put on a terrible tie not even Bob Hannegan or Ed McKim [Truman confidants] would wear just to get a loud protest from Bess and Margie.” Apparently a favorite, he also wore this bow tie on two important days in 1945: the day he presented the United Nations Charter to the Senate for ratification and at his first meeting with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin during the Potsdam Conference.

Harry S Truman National Historic Site, HSTR 23221

Pioneers used guidebooks such as this to plan their journeys west where they hoped to create a better life for themselves and their families. This volume outlines the past, present and future prospects of California and details the hardships and obstacles that travelers would encounter on their way there. Its expressed purpose is to, “enable those who contemplate emigrating to choose the most appropriate labour-field for the future, and to instruct them how to proceed in making their arrangements for reaching it in the most economical, safe and expeditious manner.” This book represents the great optimism of the pioneers who left their homes to settle the west and the difficulties they faced reaching their destinations.

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, JEFF 5423

Ozark National Scenic Riverways was established in 1964 as the country's first National Riverway ''for the purpose of conserving and interpreting unique scenic and other natural values and objects of historic interest..." This image from around 1920 perfectly illustrates that portion of the enabling legislation. The unidentified man stands on the end of a wooden johnboat beached on a gravel bar. Johnboats were hand made by local craftsmen, and were built specifically to maneuver on the Current and Jacks Fork Rivers. The man has returned from a gigging trip, his gig resting against his shoulder as he shows off his catch- two good size bass that are likely headed to the plates of his family and friends.

Although today gigging and fish fries on these crystal clear rivers are usually considered recreation, earlier in Ozark's history fishing and gigging was often a good way to feed a family.

Ozark National Scenic Riverways, OZAR 1460

This fragment of a letter from Ulysses S. Grant to his wife Julia was found in a window at the Grant home during an historic preservation project. Estimated to be from 1850 or 1851, the letter begins “Dearest Julia” and indicates that Grant is anticipating news of the birth of his son, Fred, or regimental transfer. Grant served in the military during the Civil War and as president during Reconstruction, two very tumultuous and defining periods in American history. Personal letters such as this one provide insight into Grant's relationships and attitudes toward family, and can help historians support conclusions about what motivated his decision making.

Ulysses S Grant National Historic Site, ULSG 919

The outbreak of the Civil War forced all communities across the country to make difficult choices. American Indian tribes in present-day Oklahoma faced an uncertain future as many were slave-owners and identified themselves with Southern culture and traditions.

The flag is symbolic of the Cherokee Nation's support of the Confederacy. The pattern copies the Confederate First National flag. The circle of 11 white stars represents the states which formed the Confederacy. Within the circle are five red stars for each of the “Civilized Tribes.” They are the Choctaws, Seminoles, Chickasaws, and Creeks with the large center red star representing the Cherokees. The words “Cherokee Braves”� announce the unit's fighting resolve at the beginning of the war.

The flag is associated with Colonel Stand Watie. Watie was a prominent Cherokee tribal leader with Southern sympathies. In 1861 he quickly began recruiting tribesmen to fight for the Confederacy.

Waite's first major action was at the Battle of Pea Ridge, March 1862. Following the battle, they returned to Indian Territory and were involved in several small actions and raids against Cherokee Unionists.

In June 1862 a Federal force followed the Neosho River to an area the Confederates had been raiding. Among them was Stand Watie and other Confederates. At sunrise on July 3, 1862, a detachment of about 300 Federal cavalrymen completely surprised the Confederate camp near Locust Grove. Some of the Confederates fled to nearby woods where occasional gunfire continued all day while others scattered. The crushing defeat at Locust Grove demoralized American Indian resistance and encouraged Cherokee recruitment for the Union cause.
The flag was found in the Confederate camp by Lt. David Whittaker of the 10th Kansas Infantry. The flag was subsequently acquired by the National Park Service from a private collector. This is the only known example of a Confederate American Indian regimental flag.

Wilson's Creek National Battlefield, WICR 30118

Credits: Story

Park museum staff from: George Washington Carver National Monument, Harry S Truman National Historic Site, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, Wilson's Creek National Battlefield.

National Park Service, Museum Management Program Staff: Amber Dumler, Stephen Damm, Ron Wilson, and Joan Bacharach

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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