LGBTQ exhibit moved from Capitol to Jefferson Landing State Historic site

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An exhibit detailing the history of the LGBTQ community in Missouri was relocated to the Lohman Building that is part of the Jefferson Landing State Historic Site. 

Individuals can begin viewing the exhibit Saturday. 

The Missouri State Museum and the Jefferson Landing State Historic Site will be closed Sunday and Monday for Labor Day.

Missouri State Museum team members operate the Jefferson Landing State Historic Site that is adjacent to the Capitol. 

The display was moved from the Missouri State Museum in the Capitol earlier this week after the department received complaints.

Department of Natural Resources Director Dru Buntin said in a news release, “We apologize for the way this unfolded. We agree the history of all Missourians is an important story that needs to be told, and we’ve made a commitment to work with the members of the State Capitol Commission and the Board of Public Buildings to do so.”

According to the department, "a careful review of the museum’s interpretive and exhibit guidance shows that exhibits on loan from other institutions like this one are often housed at Jefferson Landing State Historic Site." The Making History: Kansas City and The Rise of Gay Rights exhibit is on loan to the Missouri State Museum from UMKC. 

The exhibit, which UMKC produced, was borrowed due to its connection to a notable date – the formation of the Phoenix Society of Individual Freedom – on the Missouri Bicentennial timeline on display in the museum’s History Hall. It is on loan through the end of the year.

“In response to a number of concerns, we made the decision to move the exhibit while we clarified and reviewed our internal process to make sure we were complying with state law,” Deputy Department Director Mike Sutherland said. 

The Department of Natural Resources maintains the historical state museum in the Capitol. 

The museum develops many of its exhibits, but it also accepts displays on loan from other institutions, so visitors have a wide variety of topics significant in Missouri history and culture. 

State law requires the museum to coordinate with the Board of Public Buildings to use space in the Capitol. The board has delegated responsibility for that coordination to the Missouri State Capitol Commission. 

The department invites the public to attend its Sept. 16 public meeting for the Missouri State Museum and Jefferson Landing State Historic Site. 

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Riverside Collections Facility, 117 Riverside Drive, Jefferson City. 

Following the informational meeting, museum staff will provide a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum’s collections area.