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Missouri History Museum Moves Forward In Project To Inventory Soldiers Memorial Collection

statue outside soldiers memorial
St. Louis Beacon file photo

The Missouri History Museum is one step closer to working with the historical collection of Soldiers Memorial Military Museum.

On Tuesday afternoon, the executive committee of the Missouri History Museum’s board of trustees voted to continue negotiations with the city of St. Louis, based on a new preliminary draft agreement. The city, which owns Soldiers Memorial, would give the History Museum donated funds with which to inventory and process the collection, which includes photographs, uniforms, medals and weapons.

Museum officials said Tuesday that anonymity is part of the donation agreement. But Enterprise Rent-A-Car has confirmed that its owner, the Taylor family, is the donor.

The scope and cost of the project have yet to been determined. But History Museum president Frances Levine estimated, “It could be $1 million, it could be more than $1 million.”

The donor is ready to contribute whatever funds are necessary, in that range, according to Chairman of the Board of Trustees John Roberts. The endeavor could take up to two years and would necessitate the hiring of additional staff, who would be paid through the donation.

The executive committee of the History Museum board first voted in 2013 to consider the project. Finalizing the deal would require numerous further steps. The city, and the History Museum’s full board of trustees must approve it. The History Museum’s subdistrict commissioners won’t vote but will be shown the document before it’s signed.

“Nothing’s ever sure,” Roberts said. “It’s contingent upon this being a positive thing for both the city and the Historical Society.”

Roberts and Levine each indicated that both the city and History Museum are enthusiastic about the project.

“It’s such an important story, the story of veterans in this area,” Levine said. “We think it’s a win-win if we can get all the signatures on it and everybody to go forward.”

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.