In seeking ways to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War at his library, Plaza Branch Manager Joel Jones didn’t have to look far. There was a perfect partner just a few blocks away.
Located at 6115 Wornall Road, the John Wornall House Museum stands as a brilliantly preserved reminder of not only the battles between the Union and Confederacy but also of the daily lives of Americans in the mid-to-late-19th century. Built in 1858, the house served as an impromptu field hospital during the Battle of Westport on October 23, 1864.
Now, the museum holds year-round events, including a summer camp for kids and ghost tours around Halloween. Jones’ own children, aged 8, 11, and 13, regularly participate in the programs.
The museum also has its fair share of books, magazines, and historic, handwritten correspondence from the Civil War era. Check out the video below for a tour of the Wornall House's bookshelves, hosted by Executive Director Kandice Walker.
“It’s a good natural fit,” Jones says of the Library’s partnership with the museum. “The Wornall House has a lot of resources and credibility, and we have the space, so it gives them a good deal of exposure,” he continues. “I’ve also appreciated seeing new people come into the Library for the first time.”
Jones, Walker, and Plaza Children’s Librarian April Roy devised a year’s worth of adults’ and children’s programming. According to Jones, people have been flocking to the programs, which focus on the social aspects of life during the Civil War.
After hosting an 1800s tea party in April at the Plaza Branch, the Wornall House staged a Civil War Fashion Show in Truman Forum in May. This past weekend, 190 people attended a June 5 lecture by David Meyers of the Society of Civil War Surgeons on Medicine in the Civil War.
Upcoming events include a hands-on program about Missouri’s immigrant cultures, titled “Who Lived Here?” on June 17, and a Civil War Traveling Music Show on August 21.
Look for more programs in the months to come.
-- Jason Harper