Friday, June 10, 2016


            Now listen to my story about a man named Jed.
            A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed….Beverly Hillbillies

One of the better known objects in the three story Ralph Foster Museum is the actual truck used in the tv series “The Beverly Hillbillies”.  It is one of the very first things you see as you enter the museum, but it is not the most interesting by far.  Although you are free to take photos of the car with your own camera if you want to have your photo taken actually in the car there is a fee for that, around $10. 

Speaking of fees, the cost for the museum entry is adults $6, seniors (62 and older) $5  $4 for veterans and children high school age and younger free. For all they have in this museum the price is very reasonable. Our visit was a total of $9, thank you Gary for your service to our country. If you arrive after 3 pm and get your receipt stamped in red as you are leaving the next day is free.

Allow plenty of time for this museum it is far larger than it appears from the outside.  Kind of like the tents on the Popeye cartoons where Olive Oyl looks inside a tent and it is huge, but when she looks outside of it her neck stretches all the way around the tiny tent.  Or for you younger folks the tent Harry Potter and friends traveled in.

The first floor has the fore mentioned car, a child’s discovery play room, a display of Kewpie dolls, ancient artifacts (some from before Christ, very interesting seals), glassware, cameos of all types, and much more and that is just the first room.

The hallway going to the other end of the building includes a quilt display which feeds into a textile exhibit.  At the time we were there it was ladies clothing through history, all mainly in black.  Very eye catching. 

You men don’t need to feel left out while the ladies enjoy the dresses and quilts you can view to your hearts content a large assortment of tools of all types. Or you can shoot (pun intended) right up to the second floor where there is an enormous gun collection.

There are one of a kind guns, military guns, pocket guns, extremely old guns, walking stick guns, replicas and just about any type of gun or rifle you can think of. The only draw back I saw to this display was many of the guns did not have dates on them.  I would have loved to know more about what time period each gun came from, but that is the history buff in me.

Among the guns are ones that belonged to various famous people ranging from tv and movie stars to notorious outlaws.  Reading all the description cards would keep you there for a very long time.

Mixed in with the guns are interesting displays of different tv and radio personalities including record albums, clothing and other memorabilia. Keep your eyes peeled for the Willie Nelson items.

The stuff animal exhibit in the other end is both beautiful and sad.  Sad because the animals died to be displayed, but beautiful because they are very well done.

There are interesting information cards on some of them, very educational.  I had no idea the fur of a polar bear is actually clear, not white, and their skin is black. 

Looking at the animal displays it brings some great reality checks to you too.  Yes polar bears are big, but 9 ft?  Wow!  I had forgot how big Bengal Tigers are, and did not realize a wood chuck (which we saw one at the campground the day before) and a ground hog were the same animal.

If you go there look for the deer with the different ear and read the sign about it.

On up on the third floor are videos, more stuffed animals, including a great bird display, forestry items, more guns, a large fishing lure display and much more.
I forget if it was on the second or third floor there is a very good video about a project that the college students do to take the veterans of various wars back to the historical sites.  There are veterans who helped liberate the concentration camps.  They took these veterans back to those camps to tour.  The video is very stirring.  Those same veterans are honored in the Veterans Grove Memorial next to the Missouri Viet Nam Veterans Memorial.

We had been told to allow two to three hours for the museum in our schedule.  We arrived just after 2:00 pm and only truly saw the first and part of the second floor before the 4:30 pm closing time.  As we were leaving I mentioned to the cashier that I was sad that we hadn’t seen it all, but we had arrived closer to two than three so we didn’t qualify for the second day free offer, that we would come back another time.

A very nice gentleman was sitting nearby in the tiny gift shop overheard our conversation.  He said “You didn’t get to finish seeing it all?”  I responded no we would have to wait until another time to finish it.  He pulled out his wallet and handed us two complimentary passes, saying “I wouldn’t want anyone to not see it all”.  I not only was astounded at his generosity, but thrilled to get them. Thank you sir, whoever you are.  We thoroughly enjoyed our second day.

We went back the day after Memorial Day, used the passes and took our good old sweet time finishing up the museum, even revisiting some of the exhibits we had seen the Saturday before.  Photography with your phone is allowed in the museum, but we both simply didn’t think about doing so past the Clampet truck, while we were there we were so busy viewing all the great collections and reading all the different informational cards we simply didn’t think of it.

After we finished there we visited the one room Star School schoolhouse, which is free to visit and right next door to the museum.  They had photos of former classes and was surprised to see surnames of both mine and Gary’s family, with first names that could very well have been part of our heritage.  It was getting late so I didn’t write all the names down or think to snap photos of the photos and the names (dumb on my part) but I will look through my files to see if the names I remember from those photos match up with the names in my files and the proper years and place.

If they do I will contact the college to see about getting copies for my genealogy files.

While in that area we noticed the campus also has a Farmers Market there on either Friday or Saturdays (or both, sorry can’t remember) this time of year. It was scheduled to start the weekend after we left. The bounty at the market being from the products of the labors of the various students.

Next up was the walk down to Lookout Point for a spectacular view.  It is a bit of a hike, but all but the last part of the walk is wheel chair accessible.

 Of course we had to get a nature photo in.  This fellow was on the rocks at the point enjoying the view as much as we were. 

Once back at the truck we went in search of the 911 Memorial and then to the Missouri Vet Nam Veterans Memorial on our way out.  I’ll write about them separate although they are on the same campus.

Jan who was plenty tired after all the walking and standing, but so glad she visited it all as she tours the USA.

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