The Missouri Civil War Museum is located in the
Jefferson Barracks Historic Site in just south of St. Louis. The facility is
the largest educational complex dedicated exclusively to Missouri’s role in
the Civil War. The museum is housed in the Jefferson Barracks Post Exchange
and Gymnasium Building that was built in 1905. The building was designed as
an athletic and activity center for the commissioned officers at the base
but became a center for all enlisted personnel. The building was equipped
with a full-size gymnasium, a barbershop, an indoor pistol range, and a
two-lane bowling alley. In addition, it would have a small store, a kitchen
area, recreational rooms, and an athletic locker room. It was designed to
assist the veterans in relaxing and keeping active on their off-duty time.
The Museum is located in the Jefferson Barracks Military Complex which is
the oldest operational military installation west of the Mississippi River.
Originally established in 1826 as the country’s first Infantry School of
Practice, Jefferson Barracks received its name in honor of President Thomas
Jefferson who had died earlier that same year. Jefferson Barracks was
primarily a supportive military installation overseeing the westward
expansion in the new acquired Louisiana Purchase and assisted in protecting
the early European settlers. Before the Civil War Jefferson Barracks was the
desired post for graduates from the military academy at West Point.
The Post Exchange Building was actively utilized prior to World War I until
sometime after World War II. During the decades that followed World War II,
the Post Exchange started suffering from maintenance neglect and a decline
in overall condition. It is also during this time that the Federal
government started selling off surplus property such as equipment and land.
These reductions are what lead to the purchase of much of the surrounding
land by St. Louis County to create nearby Jefferson Barracks County Park.
In 1988, after many years of maintenance neglect and inactive use, the Post
Exchange Building along with some other property, was deeded over to the
government of St. Louis County where an attempt was made to stabilize some
of the structures. In 2002, the Missouri Civil War Museum not-for-profit
corporation, along with the support and partnership of the St. Louis County
Parks and Recreation Department, began the long and extensive historic
restoration of the Post Exchange Building. Although the building became a
museum and educational facility, the restoration and implementation efforts
placed top priority on maintaining the historic integrity of the building
and its original details. The museum contains hundreds of original artifacts
from the Civil War. Visitors will see an original Stidebaker hose wagon, A
Civil War cannon, a “war horse,” and many other area memorabilia. The museum
contains a movie room and several other multimedia presentations. The museum
welcomes groups and field trips by students.
Visiting the Missouri Civil War Museum
9 am to 5 pm daily
Christmas, and New Year's Day
Admission, reduced rates for seniors,
children, and groups of 10 or more. Children under are free
Missouri Civil War Museum Members and Active Military Members are
here for directions provided by the Missouri Civil War Museum.
N 38 30.365
W 90 17.025
St. Louis area.
Missouri Civil War Museum
- Use the official site of the Missouri Civil War Museum for answers to all the questions you may