Crisp museum invites community to Heritage Days
History came alive for Crisp Museum visitors during the second annual Heritage Days, a two-day event providing hands-on activities and artifacts illustrating Cape Girardeau’s history.
The River Campus museum opened its doors to the community from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday to host a weekend worth of educational events highlighting Southeast Missouri heritage.
In addition to the regular exhibits, the museum provided interactive activities and exhibits for individuals of all ages. Museum outreach specialist Gary Tyler said visitors could practice rope tying, examine late 1800s household tools and even take photos in historical period clothing.
Southeast students Jordan Stonehouse and Emily Reese, who work at the Crisp Museum, assisted visitors in creating tree silhouettes in front of a moon painting. After creating a moon and night sky from spray paint on paper, individuals could paint trees in front of it as part of the museum’s Halloween-themed craft.
The museum houses several centuries worth of artifacts from the Southeast Missouri area, including the Beckwith Collection. In 1913, southeast Missouri resident Thomas Beckwith donated stone tools and pottery found at his property to the university, which are some of the oldest artifacts at the museum.
Among the Heritage Day exhibits are several historical quilts made of flour or sugar sacks in bright, often floral designs. Curator Ellen Hahs said the inclusion of historic artifacts such as these Great Depression-era quilts emphasizes the changing times.
“It’s understanding that people did not have everything hands-on, immediate, today, shipped to your door by tomorrow,” Hahs said. “It was making do with what you had.”
Visitor Cindy Eggleston of Kansas City said the quilts had a personal tie, as she said she remembers her mother telling stories of her grandmother using flour sacks in a similar way.
Heritage Days at Crisp also included a lecture from Southeast Professor of History Joel Rhodes, who shared a presentation based on his book, “Haunted Cape Girardeau: Where the River Turns a Thousand Chilling Tales.”
The Crisp Museum will host several additional events this semester, including a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt during the month of October, an “Escape the Museum” event and several craft workshops.