Created in partnership with the Humane Society of Missouri to celebrate their 150th anniversary, Tails of Friendship is a must-see for animal lovers and history buffs alike! On display in the museum’s entry, this exhibit features the remarkable story of pet ownership since the ancient era and also highlights the invaluable work of the Humane Society in protecting countless animals since 1870. Accented with pet-themed toys from the Field House Collection and the collar of the family’s beloved fox-terrier, Jessie, visitors will leave with a new understanding of their four-legged friends and their place in history.
Help the Field House Museum celebrate 90 years of Mickey Mouse by looking back at the early collectibles of the famous cartoon figure. On display from the Zork Collection will be a plethora of figurines, china, toys, and more. From toothbrush holders to lamps, Mickey Mouse was branded everywhere on objects for all ages. Learn the history of Walt Disney Studios and the famous creator, as well as the best places to start your own collection.
Countless St. Louis women change lives every day, and a fortunate few make headlines in doing so. From groundbreaking entertainers to stunning legal minds, the Gateway to the West boasts ties to some of history’s most remarkable women. Whether they spent their childhood in one of our historic neighborhoods or accomplished remarkable feats here as adults, our beloved city has fostered growth, inspired action, and encouraged dreams. These 18 phenomenal women are just the beginning.
Accented with historic toys from the museum’s collection, Things That Go Vroom takes visitors on a trip through St. Louis’ transformation from a railway and river-fed trading post to a hub of aeronautical manufacturing. With cast iron trains from the 19th century and “Hot Wheels” from the 1970s, you won’t want to miss this exciting ride into our city’s past and the toys that set our imaginations on track!
Foundations of Freedom followed the landmark case on its journey to the United States Supreme Court with attention to slavery in Missouri, freedom suits, the contributions of the attorney for the Scott family, Roswell Field, and the rise of national discussions on slavery and citizenship. This exhibit was sponsored in part by the Missouri Humanities Council with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Finishing Touches will go beyond clothing and explore the accessories that completed a look during the 1800s and early 1900s. A woman or gentleman of status was not ready to be seen in public until hats, gloves, rings, fans, etc. were added. Not only were accessories expected to be in place to complete an outfit, but could also be used as tools for communication. Discover the history of fashion accessories and St. Louis fashion within the Garment District when you tour this upcoming exhibit.
From Caricature to Celebration: A Brief History of African-American Dolls
March – July 2018
Toys are constant companions throughout childhood and beyond. Today’s children can find themselves represented in their toys, but this hasn’t always been the case. From Caricature to Celebration: A Brief History of African-American Dolls takes you on a tour of dolls spanning more than a hundred years. From the earliest days of traditional African dolls and racial stereotypes through the years of assimilation and early acceptance, follow the journey through more than 80 dolls to reach the present day.
Let’s Play Ball: Historic Games of America’s Favorite Pastime
July 20. 2018 – January 20, 2019
From board games to bagatelle, Let’s Play Ball!: Historic Games of America’s Favorite Pastime shows how baseball has been played off the field for decades through the unique, vibrant, and artful collection of Mr. Ed Nickels. Come see games based on baseball greats like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, pinball’s predecessor, baseball cards from unlikely sources, and a few games made right here in St. Louis. Let’s Play Ball! is sure to be a home run for the whole family.
From Plant to Pail: A Brief History of Peanut Butter
April 28 – September 30, 2018
A tasty snack enjoyed by many, peanut butter is as American as apple pie. From sandwiches to sauces, the iconic food has become a staple in pantries across the U.S. Did you know that peanut butter made its first big debut here in St. Louis at the 1904 World’s Fair? Or that it was first sold in metal pails to help keep it fresh? Find out more fun facts about the history of peanut butter in From Plant to Pail: A Brief History of Peanut Butter. See over 75 unique peanut butter pails, generously on loan from Donald and Shirley Zork.
A Plate at the Table
September 5, 2018 – February 24, 2019
A successful dinner party in the 1800s could mean the difference between a society sweetheart and a social pariah. From the clothing you wore to the setting of the table, a fine dinner was expected to follow proper etiquette to a tee. A Plate at the Table invites you into the culture of dining in nineteenth-century St. Louis by answering questions like where families such as the Fields bought their china and how they prepared for formal dining, surely providing a feast of information that every successful Victorian host or hostess ought to know.
Prominent Pieces: The Golden Age of Board Games
May 9 – August 26, 2018
Advance to the Field House Museum for Prominent Pieces: The Golden Age of Board Games. Discover the circumstances that led to the creation of game favorites such as Clue and Monopoly, and how advances in technology contributed to their success. Browse a selection of game boards from the museum’s collection, representative of the 1850s-1950s, when these games enjoyed the height of their popularity. Play a game in the hands-on area to experience the thrill that comes with face-to-face competition.
Holding Court: The Nobility of the Liberty of London Doll Collection
October 6 – December 30, 2018
Hear Ye, Hear Ye, the Field House Museum requests the honor of your presence at Holding Court: The Nobility of the Liberty of London Doll Collection. Offered by London department store Liberty & Co., these small cloth souvenir dolls came to be known as “Liberty of London Dolls.” Valuing the exquisite detail and hand-crafted elements of these dolls produced from the late 1930s into the late 1950s, Saint Louisan Margaret Shapleigh collected over 250 Liberty of London dolls. In addition to lending its name to the dolls, Liberty’s is famous for its floral printed fabrics and innovative art and design in consumer goods.
Teddy Bear Picnic
June – October 2018
For over 100 years the teddy bear has been a staple of American childhood. Often a favored toy, the teddy bear has accompanied many children on picnics and the grand adventures of youth. With an origin story that stretches across two continents, the teddy bear’s enduring legacy is one that has filled the imagination and hearts of millions of children and adults.
Learn the history of the teddy bear, the famous companies that created them, and see the many teddy bears on display in Teddy Bear Picnic.
Illustrating the Words: The Artistry of the Picture Book
November 2017 – April 2018
A picture is worth a thousand words, but an illustration brings imagination to life. Sparking creativity and creating worlds of wonderment, the picture book brings substance to fiction, all while subtly teaching morals and life lessons to its readers.
Illustrating the Words: The Artistry of the Picture Book showcases original illustrations of both classic and contemporary children’s books. Let your creativity come alive as you wander through over 40 pieces of artwork adorning the walls of the Field House Museum.
Threads of Society: American Quilts and the Stories They Tell
September 2017 – February 2018
Not just bedcovers, quilts were made with careful consideration. Whether commemorating personal events, remembering friends, broadcasting social status, or displaying skill, quilts often provide details of a woman’s life that would otherwise have been lost to time. They act as important representations of the American spirit in art, worthy of recognition and regard. Motifs and practices shown throughout the history of fine art can be found in abundance in these carefully crafted textiles, as both a continuance of past styles and a precursor to artistic movements that would not be popularized for decades to come.
Have you ever wondered what stories a house could tell if the walls could talk?
Built more than 160 years ago, the Field House was once part of a row house, a get-away from the noise and smoke of the small metropolis of St. Louis. The embodiment of the past and present, the brick house is the centerpiece of a series of dynamic stories that include attorney Roswell Field, who became the advocate in Dred and Harriet Scott’s quest for freedom, poet Eugene Field, whose verses captivated boys and girls across the country, and school children, whose pennies helped saved the house from the wrecking ball.
Detachable collars and cuffs, a doll house, inkwells, historic toys, as well as bottles excavated from the sites are some of the objects that help tell stories of compassion, resilience, and generosity that catapulted this simple brick house into a historic landmark and now a museum.
The Field House Museum wants you to experience our fun exhibit, Plastic Playground. This exhibit showcases classic toys made of plastic from the 1950s to 1970s and takes adults back to their childhood. Fisher Price, GI Joe and Plasticville train buildings are just a few artifacts currently on display. Let us take you back, and show a younger generation the toys that you played with when you were their age!
Visit the Historic Home Decorated for the for Holidays
November – January
Enjoy the historic Field family home as it is taken over by holiday cheer and décor during this splendid time of year! Starting in November of every year, the historic home is decorated for the season and showcases German Feather Trees from the 1890s along with many toys from the Museum’s collection. For specific dates, please contact the Museum at 314-421-4689.
From the Library
Binding the Written Works
February 5, 2020 – January 10, 2021
A bibliomaniac by nature, Eugene Field was known to have once remarked that the only book worth reading, is one that is nicely bound. In Binding the Written Works, the Eugene Field Library takes a closer look at the fascinating art of book binding and trends that the medium followed during the period of 1850-1950. Transformations were plentiful in the ways in which books were bound during his life and death, all of which will be on display.
Eugene and Julia: The Love Story of the Fields
February – July 2019
The saying “love at first sight” could never be more true when it comes to Eugene and Julia Field. From their whirlwind courtship, to their undying love throughout marriage, Eugene and Julia: The Story of the Fields will highlight the depth of their love through letters and the recounting of their lives together. This is a story you’ll be sure to fall in love with.
Field’s Famous Foods
August 2019 – January 2020
Take a bite out of Eugene’s writings when you explore the most mouth-watering and unique poems on everything food. Eugene Field loved food and often wrote about some of his favorites. Many of these poems are featured in Field’s Famous Foods alongside modern recipes. From apple pie and cheese to onion tarts, enjoy comparing famous foods of the past with popular dishes of today.
Childhood in Eugene’s Time: A Study Through Literature
Oh how times have changed! Before our very eyes, the concept of childhood has rapidly transformed with innovations in technology. Long gone are the days when children had only books, toys, and imagination to keep them occupied.
Childhood in Eugene’s Time: A Study Through Literature, showcases how novels and poetry can be utilized to understand the past. Our curator led
exhibit, using examples of Eugene Field’s poetry and novels by other authors of Field’s lifetime, will engage discussion about how childhood is reflected in the themes of Victorian era literature. Come explore how different or similar life was for children in the 1800s versus the modern day.
Eugene and His Works: The Adoration of the Children’s Poet
August – October 2018
Lullabies are nearly as old as human civilization. They are a tradition that is passed down from generation to generation through the cradle and are a child’s first introduction to society. A calming story spoken or sung, lullabies soothe the fears of the young and provide a sense of comfort. Eugene Field was a father and a lover of poetry; perhaps that is why he wrote so many lullabies. His poems range from stories of love’s protection to fanciful delights of fantasy. One of his series of verse reflects the heritage of different cultures, including Armenian, Jewish, Sicilian, and Japanese. In the library exhibit Eugene and His Works: The Adoration of the Children’s Poet on display are various publications of Field’s lullabies from individual books of “Wynken, Blyken, and Nod” to signed copies of “Western Verse”, and so much more.
Christmas Prose & Christmas Verse
November 2018 – January 2019
This holiday season the Eugene Field Library will be taking an in depth look at Eugene Field’s book Christmas Prose and Christmas Verse. Drawn from the book will be images and tales of the winter season. Prominently on display will be copies of the book itself. Come see how Field interpreted the traditions of Christmas and created his own.
For over the last 600 years paper engineering has astonished and entertained the world, becoming more than just a tool of science. Transforming from the simple movement of two pieces of paper sliding against each other, to the springs and motions of today’s movables, the pop-up element continues to entertain. Pop-In for Pop-Ups: A Peek at the Popular Book focuses on the artwork and mechanisms of movable books. Here you will find artistic pop-ups for children and adults dating from the late 19th century to the present day. From the basic designs of Benjamin and Geraldine Clyne of Jolly Jump-Ups, to the mastery of Robert Sabuda, all evolutions of the pop-up are represented by the artwork on display.
These unique dolls, which were created by socialite and silent western film star Nancy Ann Abbott, are sure to be a delight for the young and young at
heart. See all of your favorites from “Rain Rain Go Away” to the “Queen of Hearts” in this exceptional exhibit of fantasy!
The Field House Museum opens its toy vaults to share classic old playthings, from cowboys to fashion dolls, tea sets to toy cars. Revisit your childhood (or your parents’ childhood) with this nostalgic look back at the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s!
Best known for his poems “Wynken, Blynken, & Nod” and “The Duel”, more commonly called “The Gingham Dog & Calico Cat”, this exhibit showcases Eugene’s poetry as well as vintage toys from the Field House Museum’s collection that highlight his creative verse.