Monday, September 28, 2009

What a great line up of holiday events in St. Joseph, Missouri!

St. Joseph, Missouri, the birthplace of the Pony Express, which will celebrate its sesquicentennial next year, will offer a full line-up of festive activities this holiday season.

The Pony Express theme will add to holiday cheer through the popular “Christmas Card Ride” program, offered December 19th and 20th by the Patee House Museum. For 50 cents per card, or $5 for 10 or more cards, your postage-paid, ready-to-mail holiday cards will receive an authentic Pony Express stamp—just like mail carried in the mochilas of Johnny Fry, Pony Bob, Wild Bill Hickok and other Pony Express Riders from April 3, 1860 through October 26, 1861. The Patee House is located at 12th & Penn Streets; (816) 232-8206, .

The Albrecht Kemper Museum of Art will kick off the holiday season with the annual Sparkling Sugarplum Festival 2009...Fabulous, Festive, Fancies, in which local and re gional vendors transform the museum into a sparkling holiday gift gallery! A “Preview Open House: Eat, Drink, Shop & Be Merry” will take place 6-8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 12 ($30 admission, or $100 for patrons including weekend admission and parking pass). “Ladies Night Out” is set for 5-8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 13 ($15 includes admission and wine tasting). Gift Gallery hours will be 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 13, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat., Nov. 14 ($5 admission). In addition, the much-anticipated “Breakfast with Santa” event will take place Saturday, Dec. 5. Santa’s pancakes will be served hot off the griddle with bacon, juice, and coffee--plus a special treat for each child. Cameras will be welcome! Choose the 9 or 10:30 a.m. seating. ($10 per person).

The museum’s Third Thursday Wine Tastings, presented by Hy-Vee Wine & Spirits, will offer a sampling of fine wines for holiday enjoyment and entertaining, 5:50-7:30 p.m., Nov. 19 and Dec. 17 ($10 per person). An opening reception will be held for the museum’s holiday-season exhibits, “Bruce McCombs: Master Prints from the Albrecht-Kemper Collection,” and works by Northwest Missouri State University Art Faculty, 4-7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 20. Both exhibits will be on view from Nov. 21 through Jan. 11, 2010. The museum is located at 2818 Frederick St.; (816) 233-7003,

The holidays are a special time at St. Joseph Museums, Inc.’s Wyeth-Tootle Mansion Museum. The 1879 Gothic home typifies St. Joseph’s “Golden Age.” The annual holiday lighting ceremony, “Come Home For The Holidays,” will take place at 6 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 3, followed by holiday music by the Hosea elementary School Bell Choir and the St. Joseph Community Chorus Dickens Singers. The free event also will feature home tours, carriage rides, Santa and Mrs. Claus, refreshments and children’s crafts. On Saturday, Dec. 5, the mansion will offer “Nature’s Noel,” a winter crafts workshop for families ($3 adults, $1.50 students, free for children age 6 and under). The Wyeth-Tootle Mansion is located at 1100 Charles; (816) 232-8471,

On Tuesday, Dec. 15, St. Joseph Museums will sponsor a “Spirit of Christmas Past” Holiday Day Trip, featuring guided tours of the mansions in Independence, including “A Christmas Victorian Wedding” at the Vaile Mansion, a 31-room Second Empire Victorian home; an 1850s holiday boutique at the 1859 Federalist-style Marshal’s Home; a tour of the National Frontier Trails Museum; and “A Dickens of a Christmas” at the 1890 Bingham-Waggoner Estate, where dinner will be served in this 26-room mansion. The finale will be a driving tour of Kansas City’s new Power & Light District and the famed Country Club Plaza, where 80 miles of holiday lights will illuminate the night sky. The trip will leave the St. Joseph Museum, 3406 Frederick Ave., at 11:30 a.m., and return by approximately 8:30 p.m. ($75 for museum members. $90 for non-members; includes motor coach transportation, admission fees, dinner, snacks, driving tour, and gratuity. Reservations requir! ed).

On Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 5 and 6, the National Military Heritage Museum will hold its annual “Patriotic Christmas” celebration, where children will have the opportunity to have their picture taken with Santa—in a helicopter. The museum is at 701 Messanie; (816) 233-4321, St. Joseph’s oldest home, the Robidoux Row Museum, will put on its holiday finery during its “Home for the Holidays” celebration. Its nine rooms will be decorated by local merchants and the Saint Joseph Historical Society. Candlelight tours will be offered 1-8 p.m., Saturday-Monday, Dec. 5-7, and Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 12-13. ($2 in advance, $3 at the door). The museum is located at 3rd and Poulin; (816) 232-5861;

The largest annual holiday lights display in Northwest Missouri will once again take place at Krug Park at the northern end of St. Joseph’s famed Parkway. The park will become “Holiday Park,” 6-10 p.m. from Friday, Nov. 27 through Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010 (including Christmas night). Started in 1981, today more than 100,000 visitors drive through each year to see the lavish display of lighted arches and trees, winter scenes and the park’s lovely Italianate buildings breathtakingly outlined in lights. At the southern end of the Parkway, Hyde Park also will be dazzlingly lit for the holiday season. Admission will be free to both parks. (816) 233-9652,

The St. Joseph Arts Community has planned a busy holiday schedule of theatre and music. The Robidoux Resident Theatre will present “Holiday in Plaid,” a gala dinner show, Thursday, Dec. 3 through Sunday, Dec. 20 at the Rodiboux Landing Playhouse, 103 W. Francis; ($9-$30; group discounts available). The players also will offer “The Lion In Winter,” Friday, Dec. 11 through Sunday, Dec. 13, at the Missouri Theatre, 717 Edmond; ($9-$16). Don’t miss this classic show featuring a hilariously dysfunctional royal family on Christmas Day, 1185. For more information about both productions, please call (816) 232-1778 or

The season would not be complete without a performance of Handel’s “Messiah.” The St. Joseph Community Chorus, in collaboration with community church choirs, will present this holiday favorite at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 5, and 3 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 6, at the Frederick Boulevard Baptist Church, 5502 Frederick Blvd. ($10 adults, $8 seniors, $5 students). The chorus also will present its annual winter concert, “Christmas at the Cathedral,” at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 12 and 3 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 13, at St. Joseph Cathedral, 318 N. 11th St. ($12 adults, $10 seniors, $5 students). For more information about both concerts please call (816) 271-4420.

And the Sanctuary Choir of First Presbyterian Church of St. Joseph will invite audience participation at its “Celebrate Christmas In Song” program, featuring Christmas carols and holiday music accompanied by piano, organ, brass and percussion, 3-4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 20. The church is located at 301 N. 7th St.; (816) 279-5062, (Free admission).

For more information about the Pony Express Christmas Card Ride, other holiday happenings in St. Joseph, Missouri, as well as the Pony Express Sesquicentennial plus lodging, dining, shopping and attractions in St. Joseph, MO, please contact the St. Joseph Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 785-0360 or visit

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Reading on a Rainy Day

I recently had surgery and while it wasn't life threatening, it has caused about 10 days of bed rest, new medications, etc. In the meantime, I've been able to do to a LOT of reading (I should be writing, but not enough energy yet). SO...while some of the books I've read are NOT historical, most have been and I wanted to share them with you in the hopes that you will share some of your good reads with me!

First, I read Blood on the Moon by Edward Steers, Jr. The book is a gripping account of the Lincoln assassination and capture/trial of Booth and his co-conspirators. Reads very much like a novel and is very fast-paced.

Next, I'm reading Public Enemies by Bryan Burrough. This book is what the movie starring Johnny Depp by the same name is based on. Another fast-paced book, it follows the years 1933 and 1934 and how the different gangsters orbited around one another in various parts of the country and the birth of the FBI.

Let me know what you're reading!



Battlefield Journal

Traveling Through History

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mindy Belloff is Recreating The Declaration of Independence!

Set by Hand, ONE LETTER AT A TIME, as Printed by a Woman in 1777, the portfolio will include essays with introductory text by David Armitage, Professor of History Harvard University & author of The Declaration of Independence: A Global History. Limited edition begins September 2.

In 1777, Congress commissioned Mary Katherine Goddard of Baltimore to print 13 copies of the Declaration of Independence, one for each of the colonies forming the United States of America. It was the first time the Declaration revealed the identity of the signors. She put herself at risk for treason by printing the document and adding her name at the bottom. To honor this American pioneer, artist Mindy Belloff will reproduce Goddard’s elegant two-column design, hand set over 7,500 characters in Caslon typeface as the original, and letterpress print them one at a time on paper made specifically for the historic recreation. Only nine known copies of the Goddard Broadside exist today, which makes it inaccessible to a wide audience. The new edition will be limited to no more than 150 copies. The project began on August 12th, as the first batch of type arrived at the artist's print shop, the same month and day of Mary Katherine Goddard’s death (August 12, 1816 at the age of 78). The date is symbolic as a celebration not only of our Founding Fathers’ drafting of this important document, but of the life’s achievement of a woman who stood up for freedom of the press and the rights of women in the newly formed UNITED STATES.

We hold these Truths to be self-evident,
that all Men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their CREATOR
with certain unalienable Rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty
and the pursuit of Happiness.

We hold these Truths to be self-evident,
that all People are created equal,
that they are endowed by their CREATOR
with certain unalienable Rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty
and the pursuit of Happiness.