Explore the significance of Missouri’s statehood in a traveling exhibit that examines the conflict, crisis, and compromise surrounding its admission into the Union in commemoration of its bicentennial this year.

The exhibit, Struggle for Statehood, will be on display at the Field House Museum from November 3 to December 3, 2021. Museum hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm, and Sunday from noon to 4 pm. 

The exhibit explores the many facets of the Missouri crisis on both a national and local level. Learn about the history of Missouri leading up to its battle for admission and how that history shaped the future state. Consider the history of slavery in Missouri and its lasting effects on the region. Examine what it means to be a state and how that meaning differed for the diverse groups of peoples living in Missouri at the time of its admission.

“No state, I can readily assure you,” said Dr. Steve Belko, Executive Director of the Missouri Humanities Council, “entered the Union with greater fanfare.” When the residents of the Territory of Missouri petitioned Congress in 1818 for admission into the United States, a three-year-long political and ideological battle began between “free” and “slave” states, almost destroying the very union Missouri sought to join. The political upheaval was temporarily resolved with the “Missouri Compromise,” in which Maine entered the Union as a free state, and Missouri – a slave state – became the 24th state in the United States of America. But Missouri’s admission to the Union laid bare the undercurrents of division over slavery and the increasingly fraught political balance between the North and South that would culminate in the American Civil War. In the two centuries since its admission, Missouri has become an integral part of the nation. Our state’s bicentennial is a unique opportunity for all Missourians to commemorate and better understand its history.

The exhibit was developed by the Missouri Humanities Council in consultation with the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy and is supported by The Bicentennial Alliance. Companion programming has been made possible in part from funding provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Visitor Information

Admission: Adults $10.00, children 7-16: $5.00, members and children 6 & under: free

Museum Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Sunday noon to 4:00 pm


  • Starting Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021, repeats every day until Friday, December 03, 2021 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm


Field House Museum

634 S. Broadway
St. Louis, MO 63102