Planning of Missouri's 2021 bicentennial celebration starts now

SOUTHEAST MISSOURI (KFVS) - Missouri is turning 200! Wait, that will be in 2021 though. So how does an organization plan for a state-wide celebration? For starters, start planning early.

Six years early.

That's why the State Historical Society gathered with many historians, teachers and societies across the southeast Missouri area on Wednesday, June 17.

They are getting an idea of what historical value this area has to offer in the past 200 years for the state. Oh, and by the way, it's a lot!

This celebration has many intentions. One being to gather information to educate people of all the historical places, roads and people in southeast Missouri and the rest of the state.

Representative from their respected communities met up at the Cape Girardeau County Historical Center in Jackson on Wednesday morning. 

A lot of places were suggesting including gathering information on Bollinger Mill, Ste. Genevieve, Cape Girardeau Riverfront and many more. 

Also included are local events that have occurred throughout the history of Missouri.

For instance, the New Madrid Earthquake, Trail of Tears, Little River Drainage District canals and other events unique to Missouri.

A lot of these events helped landscape the United States in many ways.

Historians among others say there is so much history just in southeast Missouri and feel this will be hard to narrow down what to cover since there is so much.

Along with trying to narrow some local ideas for the upcoming celebration, they discussed how to incorporate information for the whole state for everyone to access.

Of those ideas tossed around are a new website dedicated to all a review of the history of Missouri in all areas. Other ideas include a video documentary, a Missouri Encyclopedia and more.

Laura Jolley, senior manuscript specialist with the State Historical Society of Missouri, said the undertaking for a statewide multiple location celebration is going to be a challenge. 

Jolley said this 200 year event will focus more on the people of Missouri and having fun while educating people about the history of their local area along with any other area in Missouri they might be interested as well. 

"At this point, it's just ideas. Whether we have individual celebratory events across the state or one large event incorporating all the people, these are all things to consider," said Jolley. "The main focus is celebrating and gathering information for those to learn about the last 200 years here."

Dr. Frank Nickell, Director of Missouri State Historical Society from Cape Girardeau, was also in attendance.

"It's is great to see how much we have changed in our state over the last couple hundred years. We were such a diverse state," said Nickell. "More importantly, what we take from the past can help us learn what to do with our future."

The group will have many more opportunities to toss ideas over the next several years.

Jolley also said if anyone else has any ideas, they can always go to the State Historical Society for Missouri's website and submit an idea there as well.

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