Educational Resources

at Missouri State Museum

Can’t make it to the Missouri State Museum? Planning a field trip and want to make the most of it? Either way, the Missouri State Museum strives to provide opportunities to connect you to the state’s history and natural resources. 


Traveling Trunks

The Missouri State Museum offers educational traveling trunks to teachers, libraries, families and event coordinators to reserve for use as teaching tools. The museum’s goal is to help young scholars connect to Missouri’s history and its resources. There are six trunks to choose from, and each one offers hands-on reproduction items, books, topic information and other items that can be used to explore Missouri’s past and its environment.

Trunks may be borrowed for up to two weeks within 50 miles of Jefferson City. If outside the 50-mile radius, please contact the museum for options. It is the responsibility of the borrower to pick up and return the trunks to the museum between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Other than transportation, there are no fees to use the trunks.

To check on availability, contact the museum at 573-522-9019 or education.statemuseum@dnr.mo.gov

PLEASE NOTE: To prevent possible spread of COVID-19 through surface transmission, trunks will be quarantined for a minimum of two weeks (14 days) between each check out.

Lewis & Clark

Step into the shoes of famous explorers William Clark, Merriweather Lewis and their traveling companions. See examples of items they took with them and used for trade. Read about their adventures and the people they encountered along the Missouri River. You can even listen to music inspired by the Lewis and Clark journey!

Lewis & Clark trunk content list

Civil War

Explore the daily life of a Civil War era soldier. What did soldiers carry with them?  What kind of foods did they eat? How did they write letters home and entertain themselves? Use replica artifacts to answer these questions and learn more about a day in the life of a Civil War soldier.

Civil War trunk contents (two available): 

Trunk 1

Trunk 2

The Great War (World War I)

Explore a day in the life of a WWI soldier. Use replicas to learn the difference between cold and warm weather uniforms. Discover how soldiers handled personal hygiene in the muddy trenches. Examine how they cared for their fellow animal soldiers on the front line. Soldiers carried all their belongings and equipment on their backs--piece together your own pack from the items in the trunk and see how heavy they really were!

Great War trunk contents (two available): 

Trunk 1

Trunk 2

Insects & Spiders

Take a look around your schoolyard, how many insects and spiders can you find? Use the tools provided to help you find and identify insects and spiders. Learn about what they eat, and which ones are beneficial. This trunk helps connect students to nature, and fosters respect and understanding for wildlife that is often seen in a negative light.  

Insects & Spiders trunk contents

Reptiles & Amphibians

The slithery snakes and squishy frogs from this trunk have much to share! Play reptile bingo or count the ribs on a snake skeleton. Identify these Missouri animals and learn about their habitats. This trunk helps connect students to their environment and fosters respect and understanding for beneficial wildlife that is often seen in a negative light.

Reptiles & Amphibians trunk contents

BOOM! The Rise and Fall of Missouri's Black Business Districts

Learn about the legacy, impact, and lives of Civil Rights era African Americans. How were they able to travel through a segregated nation? What where some of businesses they built, and were those businesses successful? Use replica artifacts such as the Negro Motorist Green Book, an antique camera and diecast cars to answer these questions and learn more about the triumphs of Missouri’s black business owners.

BOOM! trunk contents


Traveling Programs

Can’t make it to the museum? We can bring programs to you. Traveling programs are available to schools and organizations within approximately 50 miles of Jefferson City. With advanced notice, museum interpreters can develop programs on Missouri’s history and resources to meet your educational needs and goals. As traveling programs are developed, brief descriptions will be listed below.

To learn more about the possibilities of traveling programs for your classroom, contact the museum at 573-522-9019 or education.statemuseum@dnr.mo.gov.

"Birds of Prey" Traveling Program

What do hawks eat? What do owls do during the day, and why? These are just a few of the questions answered by museum educators in our Birds of Prey outreach program. Students can get up close with raptor feathers and owl eggs and see exactly what is inside a “raptor pellet.” Request a visit to learn more about the species of prey birds that call Missouri home. Call or email to schedule a time for a museum interpreter to visit your classroom.

"Mammals of Missouri" Traveling Program

Imagine the amazing world of Missouri mammals without leaving your classroom or location. With hands-on items such as mammal furs, skulls and tracks, students can learn about some of the different types of mammals in our state and answer questions such as: “Who sleeps during the day?”, “Is a bat a mammal?” and “What is scat?”. Call or email to schedule a time for a museum interpreter to visit your classroom.


Teachers' Guides and Worksheets

The museum is working on developing teacher guides, activity sheets and other easily reproducible resources. Descriptions and links to these sources will be added as they are developed, so keep checking back!

Scavenger hunt, History and Resources halls, Missouri State Museum:

Tom Benton’s Missouri (Benton Mural in Missouri State Capitol), developed by University of Missouri Extension: http://extension.missouri.edu/tombenton/downloads.aspx


Traveling Exhibits

The museum maintains a growing number of traveling exhibits that can be borrowed by schools, museums, libraries and other organizations. Our exhibits explore Missouri’s rich natural and cultural history. We are creating new exhibits and updating old exhibits regularly.

Exhibits are available statewide, though borrowers are responsible for picking up the exhibits and returning them to the museum. Traveling exhibits may be borrowed for three to nine months. Other than transportation, there are no fees to use the exhibits.

To learn more about our traveling exhibits and availability, contact the museum at 573-526-5454 or exhibits.statemuseum@dnr.mo.gov.

"BOOM! The Rise and Fall of Missouri’s Black Business Districts"

Inspired by the Missouri State Parks-produced booklet “The Business: African-American Business People from Missouri’s Past,” "BOOM!" interprets the history of five black business districts throughout the state. Due to segregation and racism, these business centers flourished, serving as the cornerstone of black life, culture and survival from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century. However, integration, civil rights legislation and urban renewal caused them to crumble and disappear.

"Benton, A Social History of Missouri"

Thomas Hart Benton’s “A Social History of Missouri” is an iconic mural located in the House of Representative’s Lounge in the Captiol. Now, experience the painting in your own community with this smaller “pop-up” version of the mural. Three pieces fit together to create a 70% scale of the painting. The exhibit offers a chance for people to view the legendary artwork without traveling to Jefferson City.

"Discover Your Missouri State Parks, 1917-2017"

Since its inception, Missouri State Parks has been an integral part of Missouri history. This exhibit looks at the state parks' 100-year history, starting with the purchase of Arrow Rock in 1923 through the rapid growth of the 1960s and '70s and finally sustaining the parks system through the parks, soils and waters sales tax. Learn why state parks are important and how and where you can enjoy one of the many state parks and historic sites.