Modern History

The new Emerson Electric Center addition to the Missouri History Museum makes its debut

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If things don't look quite the same at the corner of Lindell and DeBaliviere, that's because a landing party from the mothership of modern architecture has alighted and set up shop.

The spectacular curved glass facade and 45-foot-high ceiling of the Emerson Electric Center addition to the Missouri History Museum welcome visitors to an updated tour of our city's and state's pasts and promise a journey through cool interiors that inspire even before you look down at the exhibits.

The joining of this spanking-new modern edifice to the classically styled Jefferson Memorial Building is a feast of contrast. The new surroundings, designed by Hellmuth Obata & Kassabaum, are so posh that you can't help but become a fast fan of local history. In particular, the long marble mosaic of the Mississippi River and environs will charm both children and their parents. The addition encompasses four galleries, an auditorium, four classrooms, a resource center, a restaurant and the Grand Hall, quadrupling the existing exhibition space.

Seeking St. Louis is the name given to the new permanent exhibits on local history housed in the addition. The journey through time is begun with the ancient Cahokia mound-building society and continues up through the present.

The Society is pulling out all the stops at the opening, which will feature live Dixieland jazz and a performing magician. The inspiring building will eventually be recognized as a monumental hunk of architectural history itself.

The Emerson Electric Center addition to the Missouri History Museum, Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue, officially opens at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 12. Admission is free. Call 746-4599 for more information.

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