Rare Art and Artifacts Reveal a City’s History

As the name implies, stl250 is the celebration of St.Louis’ 250th anniversary. From grassroots to grand scale, this milestone is all about coming together as a community to rediscover the stories of our rich heritage.

The Sheldon Concert Hall exhibition, “Imagining the Founding of St. Louis,” is a stl250 event that helps tell the unique story of our city’s birth through fascinating works of art and historical artifacts. As you traverse this collection, you will discover that art has an innate ability to illustrate history, culture and legend like no other medium.

As co-curator, I’m excited to offer a sneak peek into the show and I hope you’ll join us at the opening reception, Friday, Feb. 7.

Sheldon 2

A Few Highlights:

The Sheldon’s exhibit offers an intimate glimpse into the city’s past with paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture by Oscar E. Berninghaus, Karl Bodmer, Charles Bird King, Louis-Leopold Boilly, Charles Ferdinand Wimar and others.


Also featured, are rare artifacts from native Missourians who inhabited the area at the time of our city’s founding. On loan from the Osage Tribal Museum, we feature an exquisite turban headdress crafted from otter fur, beads, metal and shell bird beak, as well as a stunning Osage shield made from hide, feathers, cloth, metal and pigment.

Be sure to catch the original handwritten entry from Auguste Chouteau’s journal, which tells the story of St. Louis’ settlement and describes the triumph of building the area’s first house. This type of extraordinary document is seldom seen in the original form, and will only be on display the first month of the exhibit.

Finally, an accompanying resource room provides books and other background materials for study, as well as a selection of contemporary works in photography and paintings.

It’s been an honor to work on this fascinating project and I know you will be truly intrigued when you visit “Imagining the Founding of St. Louis,” This exhibition reveals a profound chapter in our city’s history.

I’ll see you all at the opening!


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