Museums, exhibits mark the Missourian's centennial

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Old Town Cape will come alive Saturday with several special events commemorating 100 years of one of its most famous residents, the Southeast Missourian newspaper. Besides a full schedule of music, street theater, magic, carnival-like newspaper contests, press tours, food, antique cars and children's games presented by the newspaper, downtown organizations will be bringing their own presents to the party, starting with a historic photo exhibit at Security Bank & Trust next door to the newspaper.

The display, called "Conversations with America, Parade Through the Decades," does not normally go to areas outside of large cities, but Parade magazine has had a long history with the Southeast Missourian and wanted to be part of its 100th anniversary, said TerrI Foley, who is coordinating the newspaper's celebration.

Many downtown businesses will be offering discounted prices and free food during the day.

Other exhibits in the downtown area include window displays planned by some of the downtown merchants, said Tim Arbeiter, director of Old Town Cape.

"We thought it would be neat to ask the merchants to display in creative ways," Arbeiter said. "They could be using current newspapers, old newspapers, old ads they used to run. Several of our merchants are very creative with their displays and windows."

Those displays will be judged, Arbeiter said, and small prizes will be given for the best ones. Hutson's Furniture, which is famous for its Christmas window, is one of many businesses participating.

Nearby at the Red House Interpretive Center, the Sons of the American Revolution will display the country's 27 flags, one of only a very few complete collections, said Leon Lefler, one of the Sons. Members of the group will be on the porch Saturday to answer questions and talk about the flags.

"Every time a new state came into the union the flag was changed," Lefler said. "This is the only complete collection in the state of Missouri."

A new flag was introduced on July 4 following the date a new state was brought into the union, Lefler said.

The Red House will be open with its usual exhibits. But to commemorate the Missourian's anniversary, it has brought in one of the nation's top Town Criers, to give an example of how news was delivered before newspapers. The winner of a local Town Crier contest will also walk throughout the downtown area on Saturday announcing events throughout the day.

Brenda Schloss of the Red House board of directors said that the board is also finalizing plans to have Mike Seabaugh of Cherokee Trails to tell Cherokee stories, and some musicians who will perform early American folk ballads.

At the River Heritage Museum, visitors can see a special exhibit on the history of the Southeast Missourian newspaper, including an old linotype press the paper once used. Director Marge Thompson said many of the museum's activities and displays will be of interest to children, including face painting and old-fashioned games like apple bobbing and a scavenger hunt.

"Children will go through the museum and look for 10 different objects," Thompson said.

A golf game and a basketball game, with prizes, will round out the events.

Members of the Historical Preservation Association and students from Southeast Missouri State University will assist at the River Heritage Museum that day.

A team of mules will be hitched outside the museum for the children to see, although not to ride, Thompson said.

The River Heritage Museum's regular exhibit, along with a Missourian newspaper timeline and video, will also be available.

The Southeast Missouri Hospital Auxiliary will be joining the party, too, with a Designer ShowHouse of Ideas, located at 700 N. Pacific St., former home of one-time Missourian publisher Gary W. Rust. The ShowHouse Tour is a fund raiser for the auxiliary and highlights top interior design in Southeast Missouri. Doors open at 10 a.m. on Oct. 1 and close at 6 p.m. The ShowHouse continues until Oct. 9, with different hours each day, opening daily at 10 a.m. except for Sunday, which opens at 1 p.m.

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