eugene field house museum capital campaign

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Today’s Eugene Field House, a St. Louis cultural gem, is preparing to renew itself with construction of the Field House Museum, a dynamic cultural and educational addition that will complement the existing National Historic Landmark.

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  • 2The men behind the museums rich, uniquely American stories

    Roswell Field was the pivotal attorney who brought into federal court the freedom suit of Dred and Harriet Scott. While the Scott family had several attorneys during their battle for freedom, without Roswell Fields creative legal strategy, the Supreme Court would never have been forced to hear the case. This impact on American history is deeply significant, shaping the rise of Abraham Lincoln, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the eventual end of slavery.

    Todays Eugene Field House, a St. Louis cultural gem, is preparing to renew itself with construction of the Field House Museum, a dynamic cultural and educational addition that will complement the existing National Historic Landmark.

    Visitors will enjoy eclectic and engaging experiences that will showcase the inspiring legacies of the Fields to promote a deeper understanding of similar, modern day issues.

    The museum will house exhibits, workshops, and conferences on civil rights, law and social justice, literature, journalism, poetry, American culture and the culture of childhood, including toys.

    4,000 Square Feet

    $2.625 Million Capital Campaign

    Detail; Missouri History Museum, St. Louis

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    Eugene Field, known as the childrens poet and father of the personal newspaper column, would today be considered the first blogger. His fascination with toys, childhood, mimicry, and mischief made him one of the most popular authors and characters of the 19th century. His most famous poems include Wynken, Blynken and Nod, Little Boy Blue and The Duel (The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat).

    Located in a prime position within the historic triangle of the Gateway Arch, the Old Courthouse, and the Eugene Field House, the new Field House Museum will be an intimate and robust 4,000 square foot, multi-use facility.

    Gateway Arch visitors will find a true immersion experience in an authentic antebellum home that complements the new exhibits in the renovated Museum of Westward Expansion.

    The Old Courthouses new, exclusive focus on the Dred Scott case provides an opportunity to continue the story at the Field House Museum just a few blocks south, with an emphasis on understanding its broader effect on law, politics, and human rights.

    The project will also provide much needed reinvigoration to an area that has suffered for years of disinvestment just south of Busch Stadium, potentially spurring other exciting redevelopment projects.

  • In considering this challenge, I am reminded of the people who

    made the history we seek to preserve.They were acutely aware of

    their times and the circumstances around them. They had a keen

    sense of reality.They saw what needed changing, conceived of new

    possibilities, and looked around the corner when few others would.

    We must emulate their example. We must enthusiastically

    ask ourselves, What is possible?

    Stephanie Meeks, President & CEO, National Trust for Historic Preservation

    Improvements are long overdue

    Operating for decades in the cramped conditions of a three-story row house has severely limited opportunities to access, experience, and share the Eugene Field House and the contributions of Roswell and Eugene.

    Lack of handicap accessibility, no guest restrooms, limited storage and office space, and no education or meeting areas have resulted in an inability to share or expand collections and exhibits, or welcome sizable groupsmaking it a short-stay destination enjoyed by a limited audience.

    g EARLY 1900s

    g 1940s

    g 2014

    4

    Reinventing House Museums for the 21st century

  • 5The proposed new museum both complements and relates historically to the existing Eugene Field House.

    The Field House Museum will convert a sleepy house museum into a destination that will complement and enrich the downtown St. Louis experience.

    A: The proposed museum recalls Walshs Row. Each bay is the equivalent of the width and depth of the former row houses and the Eugene Field House.

    C: A delicate glass bridge connects the new museum to the Eugene Field House, providing ADA access to the main level.

    B: A continuous clerestory window admits light into the museum interiors while affording ample wall space for exhibition.

    Highlights of the Expansion

    B

    B

    C

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    g WEST ELEVATION (FRONT)

    h EAST ELEVATION (BACK)

    A

    A

  • 6Highlights of the Expansion

    The new museum will feature a flexible, multi-purpose exhibit space showcasing the American experience linked to the Field father and son legacy.

    j As an introduction to the museum and historic house, visitors will be able to view a brief film situating the house and its occupants in its time.

    j Hands-on opportunities will enable visitors to interact with exhibits.

    j Interpretative exhibits will include black history and civil rights.

    j The existing provocative and revealing A Room Divided exhibit will be expanded. The exhibit compares and contrasts the life of free and enslaved people in a dramatic example that gives a glimpse into the past differences in daily lives of 19th century children, while providing hints into todays continued human rights struggle and inequities at a childs level.

    j Traveling exhibits will include experiential opportunities.

    j A conference space will enable us to bring together scholars from inside and outside academia to discuss and explore issues related to the legacies created by Roswell and Eugene Fields influence on American culture.

    j Exhibits will pair the historic houses collections of Field family items, period pieces, books, and toys.

    j Rotating exhibits will feature toys and the arts that tie with the Field family legacy.

    j Toys represent advancements in craftsmanship, design, and technology, and hold a special place as objects that bind all people. Exhibits will showcase fabulous collectibles donated by long-term supporters, as well as experiential opportunities to see, touch, and experiment.

    g MULTI-PURPOSE EXHIBIT SPACE

    Android and iOS apps, as well as other devices and technology, will be available for self-guided tours, as well as provide people with disabilities or limited mobility the opportunity to experience the second and third floors of the historic house.

  • 634 South Broadway, Saint Louis, MO 63102

    phone (314) 421-4689; fax (314) 588-9468

    eugenefieldhouse.org

  • 7Additional improvements:

    Handicap accessibility will be featured throughout

    the expanded facility, including the restrooms. The first floor of the historic home will be made handicap accessible for the first time in our history.

    j Comfortable seating and visitor storage space for items like strollers and backpacks will be included.

    j The gift shop will be expanded, increasing our potential for revenue.

    j Reception space, offices, and curatorial space will be included.

    j An outdoor patio and enclosed courtyard will be available for seating and special events. A poetry garden experience will be incorporated into the courtyard.

    h The new project will feature a paved, secured parking lot with 42 spaces and handicap access, plus a bus and tour drop off point.

    j The new library is designed to appeal to a wide range of interestshistory, literature, communications, media, and journalism, and will provide access to a vast array of materials.

    j Programs will include educational workshops, poetry labs, and creative writing.

    j The library will be home to the largest Eugene Field collection in private hands. Long-term supporters will generously donate their collections for display, including numerous first editions, embellished works, manuscripts in Fields hand, letters, unpublished works, newspapers, and original watercolors by Field contemporaries, including Frederic Remington.

    A new Eugene Field Library

    Modern technology and applications will make the Eugene Field Library materials accessible and appealing to large and small groups, or individuals.