Missouri History Museum saving artifacts from unrest in Ferguson

You'll find a little bit of everything, t-shirts crafted with Sharpees and words of support, handmade signs on everything from cardboard to Styrofoam.

ST. LOUIS - It's been three years since Michael Brown was killed. His death and the unrest that followed threw Ferguson into the national and international spotlight. The events in Ferguson are part of an exhibit now on display at the Missouri History Museum focusing on St. Louis’ civil rights struggle.

Tucked away at the Missouri History Museum's research center are pieces of history you might not expect. Christopher Gordon is the Museum's Director of Library and Collections.

"This is truly a genuine artifact of it reflecting the feelings of the time,” said Gordon. “They have a lot of personal connection to the community, to this generation."

You’ll find a little bit of everything, t-shirts crafted with Sharpees and words of support, handmade signs on everything from cardboard to Styrofoam.

They're not relics dating back decades, but objects gathered from Ferguson that are just a few years old.

"We've been collecting history essentially as it happened and with the hope that we can really create the snapshot of history,” said Gordon.

The artifacts are part of the “#1 in Civil Rights” exhibit attracting visitors at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park. Gwen Moore is the Museum’s Curator.

"When we planned this exhibit it was 2013, so it was before Ferguson even happened,” said Moore.

Curators realized the struggle for civil rights was unfolding right in front of them.

"We were still coping with those issues that we have been dealing with for decades and decades and decades, so we felt that it fit," said Moore.

Criminal justice reform, black community distrust of the police and joblessness, they’re problems facing not only Ferguson, but communities all across the country.

"That's why we asked the question, “Is it a moment or is it a movement?” and as we said maybe it's a moment that sparked a movement, but it definitely has a lot of significance and meaning for the civil rights struggle here,” said Moore.

The exhibit #1 will be at the Missouri History Museum through April 15 of next year. The museum is still collecting artifacts from the unrest, if you have something you would like to donate, call Chris Gordon at the Missouri History Museum at 314-746-4514 or send an email to objects@mohistory.org.

© 2017 KSDK-TV


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