CMU’s Stephens Museum Receives Grant

Heritage Preservation to help with assessment

Central Methodist University's Stephens Museum, located in historic T. Berry Smith Hall on the Fayette campus, has received a Conservation Assessment Program (CAP) grant from Heritage Preservation to participate in its 2014 museum assessment project.

Morris in the Museum

CAP assists museums by providing funds for professional conservation and preservation specialists to survey and identify the conservation needs of their collections and recommend ways to correctly improve collections conditions. Dr. Dana Morris is Curator for the Stephens Museum.

A professional conservator will spend two days surveying the collections and three days preparing a comprehensive report to identify conservation priorities. By participating in the assessment project, the Stephens Museum expects to develop a long-range preservation plan for collections, as well as further develop collections as learning tools.

The Stephens Museum is the only museum of natural history in this area. It houses collections of butterflies, insects, reptiles, birds, and bird eggs. Within the more than 250 bird species preserved through taxidermy are the Passenger Pigeon and Carolina Parakeet, both extinct since around 1914.

Also on exhibit are 20 unusual and beautiful hand-blown glass invertebrate models made by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka. This Bohemian father and son team are best known for the Glass Flowers of Harvard University. CMU is one of only a handful of institutions in the U.S. with a collection of glass invertebrates created by the Blaschkas.

A number of cultural artifacts are on display in the museum, including a large selection of Native American and Native African artifacts. Private donations have provided for an extensive assortment of Civil War and World War I memorabilia and weapons. Perhaps the most popular of the Museum's historical artifacts are the tombstones from the original gravesites of Daniel Boone and his wife, Rebecca Boone.

There is also a Mammal Gallery with many full body and shoulder mount specimens, donated by Dr. Jack Stephens and wife Vicki; and an assortment of fossils, minerals, and mollusk shells from around the world.

The Stephens Museum began as a small collection of biological materials, rocks, and minerals used by professors in their classes. A gift to Central in 1885 from Curator Lon V. Stephens (Missouri Governor, 1897-1901) was used to refurbish and equip the "Stephens Hall of Science." Stephen's Hall, CMU's first facility dedicated to the teaching of the sciences, became the home of the Museum. Stephens is the third oldest museum in Missouri.

Heritage Preservation is a national non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of the United States by identifying risks, developing innovative programs, and providing broad public access to expert advice, as well as caring for our universal endangered heritage.


Posted April 15, 2014