The Missouri History Museum founded Teens Make History (TMH) in 2007 to teach skills that the U.S. Department of Labor identified as requisite for workplace success; encourage high school graduation; and help students gain the self-worth and capabilities needed to excel. Teen apprentices are paid employees of the Missouri History Museum who work closely with professional staff and complete real work projects. In the process, they learn important skills like cooperation, responsibility, and time management.
TMH began with four student apprentices who researched, wrote, and performed museum theater plays. The program has since expanded to include other areas of museum work. In 2011, the TMH Academy was created as an entrance workshop to the program. In the TMH Academy, students explore different departments in the museum and complete challenges in teams. In 2012, the TMH Exhibitors were created as a new team in the program. Today, TMH annually serves a diverse group of approximately 50 students between the TMH Academy and TMH Apprenticeships.
Before graduating from TMH, teen apprentices fill out a retrospective self-evaluation about their skills like time management, problem solving, and working with others. They rate themselves as they were when they entered the program and as they are now. Every teen apprentice has evaluated the program as generating growth in all or some of these areas. Today, TMH has graduated over 70 apprentices. TMH alumni have gone on to a variety of colleges or vocational training following high school.
Teens Make History has been honored to win several awards, including The St. Louis Argus’s Youth Organization of the Year Award in 2009, the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award in 2014, and FOCUS St. Louis’s What’s Right with the Region! Award in 2015.