While passing through St. Louis recently I stopped at the recently reopened Soldiers Memorial Military Museum. The Memorial was opened in 1938 as a tribute to those from St. Louis who made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War.

In 2015 the Missouri Historical Society assumed control of the operations of the Memorial and immediately began a revitalization of it. This past November 3rd, the Memorial reopened to the public.

It opened with a special exhibit, WWI:  St.Louis and the Great War. This is a very effective exhibit that not only looks at the individual sacrifices made by the city’s citizens during the war, but also contributions of local business and industry

Another important aspect of the exhibit is the effect the war had on its citizens of German descent, approximately 20% of the population. One interesting fact that’s pointed out is that brew master August Busch invested a half million dollars in German war bonds at the beginning of the war–long before the U.S. involvement. At the time, it was considered a good investment.

The permanent exhibit, St. Louis in Service, looks at military history from the American Revolution to the present and the role of the city through the years.

If you are headed to St. Louis, the Soldiers Memorial is a worthy stop for the casual visitor or the Great War enthusiast.


Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.