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Gallery + Theatre Program: STL Civil Rights Legacy

Dates Available: Thursdays and Fridays, from June 8 through July 28

Start Times Offered: 10am, 11am

Program Duration: 1 hour and 45 minutes

Ages: 8–18

Group Size: 10–36 children

Gallery Visited:   #1 in Civil Rights: The African American Freedom Struggle in St. Louis

Chaperone Requirement: 1 adult chaperone per 8 children

Price: Free

This landmark exhibition examines the rich and longstanding Civil Rights history in St. Louis. From the first Civil Rights demonstration in the country on the steps of the Old Courthouse, to the freedom suit of Dred and Harriet Scott, to the modern Black Lives Matter movement, there is a strong legacy of Civil Rights activism in St. Louis. *Please note that some of the oral histories in this exhibition use language that may offend or upset some visitors.

More about this Gallery + Theatre Program
This program aims to expand and deepen students’ traditional understanding of the Civil Rights movement to include those working long before and after the 1950s and 1960s right here in their hometown. Students will visit three areas of the exhibition representing different time periods in St. Louis’s history. At each stop, students will learn about the historical and social context and the agency of the individuals highlighted. Participatory conversations, hands-on activities, and a short theatre performance will extend students’ understanding of the exhibition. Here’s a closer look at what the students will see and do:

In the Gallery
During the gallery tour, students will be historians as they investigate the people, events, and artifacts of the St. Louis Civil Rights Movement from the early 1800s to today. Students will define and connect their own rights to those that activists fought for in the past and will think about their own agency to protect their rights and the rights of others.

  • At stop 1, Students will investigate some of the city’s earliest activists, including John and Mary Meachum, Lucy Delany, and Charleton Tandy. Students will compare and contrast the actions each activist took and evaluate their outcomes.
  • At stop 2, Students will activate their historical imagination as they learn protest songs used at the Jefferson Bank sit-ins in the 1960s. Students will interpret how historic activists felt as they fought for Civil Rights.
  • At stop 3, Thanks to the Ferguson Collecting Initiative, MHM has many diverse artifacts from the events in Ferguson. Students will compare and contrast the stories told by different artifacts and will discover the importance of collecting today to ensure diverse stories are told in the future. 

*Please note that the above stops may not occur in chronological order. Also, portions of each stop may be cut out if your group arrives late.

Theatre Performance: BAG Then; BAG Now
From 1968 to 1972, a group of local African American musicians, artists, actors, and poets worked together in BAG—the Black Artists Group—to showcase their talents, teach area youth, and encourage black pride. This 35-minute play follows BAG's journey and highlights the artistic talents of the Teens Make History Players in the spirit of BAG's legacy. A 10-minute Q&A session will follow.

 Please read our Summer Policies before booking your visit. 

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