200 years in the making

Mizzou faculty, staff, students and alumni celebrate the Missouri bicentennial and prepare to share their expertise at this weekend’s “Together for ’21 Fest.”

jesse hall with "together for 21 festival" banner on it and blue sky above

Aug. 3, 2021

The University of Missouri has partnered with the State Historical Society of Missouri to organize and host events celebrating Missouri’s 200th anniversary. MU faculty, staff, students and alumni will help bring the festival to life Aug. 6 through 8 at free events across campus and in our community. Here are a few to take note of:

Missouri: Heart of the Nation VR Gallery

Friday, Aug. 6, from 9 to 9:50 a.m. — Cook Hall, Center for Missouri Studies

MU engineering faculty members and the associate curator of European and American art from the Museum of Art and Archaeology will discuss the process of developing the Missouri: Heart of the Nation virtual reality exhibit.

“I am looking forward to the first-time virtual reality users’ expressions and reactions as they first experience this exhibition,” said Chip Gubera, director of Undergraduate Studies, IT Program in the College of Engineering. “Missourians have come a long way in 200 years. This gallery celebrates Missouri’s past through a forward-looking technology that is spectacular to experience.”

Bicentennial of the Missouri Judiciary with Judge (and alumna) Mary Russell

Friday, Aug. 6, from 10 to 10:50 a.m.– Hamra Classroom, Center for Missouri Studies

Missouri Supreme Court Judge Mary R. Russell will present on the history of Missouri’s judges and milestone events and cases shaping our judiciary history. Russell is a 1983 graduate of the MU School of Law.

Missouri: Heart of the Nation

Friday, Aug. 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 8, from noon to 4 p.m. – Lafferre Hall (VR Lab) / Jesse Hall Rotunda

This interactive art exhibit designed by Mizzou engineering students offers an opportunity to view the entire Scruggs-Vandervoort-Barney Collection, composed of 98 paintings. The collection was commissioned in 1946-47 by owners of the St. Louis department store Vandervoort’s and highlights agricultural, industrial and recreational activities across the state.

“Our event presents an art collection in a completely new way that reflects Missouri’s natural beauties, life, activities, culture and history,” said Fang Wang, assistant teaching professor in the College of Engineering. “I expect many will have their first experience and interaction with virtual reality technology through our event, and I hope they will enjoy this new way of viewing an art exhibit.”

Book talk: Jeffrey L. Pasley

Friday, Aug. 6, from 2 to 2:50 p.m. – Cook Hall, Center for Missouri Studies

Jeffrey L. Pasley, professor of history and associate director of the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy, will present on his recent publication, A Fire Bell in the Past: The Missouri Crisis at 200 (Vol. 1) Western Slavery, National Impasse. Pasley, a native of Topeka, Kansas, did some of the first historical research of his life (as a teenager) at the State Historical Society of Missouri. He has taught at Mizzou since 1999.

“I have found that most Missourians are quite surprised to discover that there is a major historical event historians refer to as the ‘Missouri Crisis,’” Pasley said. “As a historian, my hope for Missouri is that we will be able to think more clearly about our state’s present problems, and brighten its future prospects, if we are more honest and well-informed about its past.”

Latinx Communities in Missouri

Friday, Aug. 6, from 2 to 3:50 p.m. – Hamra Classroom, Center for Missouri Studies

Curators’ Distinguished Professor Juanamaría Cordones-Cook will present her documentary Nancy Morejón: Famous Landscapes. In it, she offers an intimate view of the inner world, intellectual journey and life experiences of Nancy Morejón, one of the most notable poets of the contemporary Afro-Cuban Renaissance. Following the documentary, Cordones-Cook will share her views about the diverse racial and cultural identities of the Latinx communities in Missouri.

“The University of Missouri has become Nancy Morejón’s home in the U.S.,” said Cordones-Cook. “In her numerous visits to our university, she has also nurtured a strong connection between the people of Missouri and Cuba to the point that MU has become a destination for Cuban writers and artists. I hope that Missouri keeps opening its cultural borders and embraces diversity and the enrichment that comes with it.”

Missouri on Mic

Saturday, Aug. 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Peace Park, across from the State Historical Society of Missouri

What comes to mind when you think of Missouri? What do you hope for future Missourians? A team of MU School of Journalism students will be asking these and other questions and recording oral histories at the Missouri on Mic traveling audio booth. KBIA News listeners will have a chance to hear some of these stories in the fall, and the stories will also appear at Ragtag Cinema later in the year.

Janet Saidi, KBIA assistant news director, said participants are asked to share their thoughts about Missouri, among other topics. "'What’s your life been like the past year? What do you think of Missouri? And what does Missouri mean to you?' You get so many different kinds of viewpoints,” she said. “Basically, people are just telling us what’s on their mind. We get a range of experiences — very funny, quite, sad, and tragic experiences.”

Note: As you make plans to attend events on campus, be sure to follow the latest Show Me Renewal guidelines.

Subscribe to

Show Me Mizzou

Stay up-to-date with the latest news by subscribing to the Show Me Mizzou newsletter.