St. Louis (KMOX) – What has never been to St. Louis in recent memory, but has everything to do with the city and the state’s history?
It’s the original Louisiana Purchase Treaty. The document is in a vault at the National Archives and is only put on display for 52 weeks each decade.
But now, it will be coming to St. Louis to be put on display at the Missouri History Museum.
It will go on display October 25 through April 19, 2015.
Dennis Melton, the District Director for the U.S. Small Business Administration Eastern Missouri, had the inspiration to bring it here and he is ecstatic. “It’s what made 14 states become part of America,” he says.
He had the idea back in the 1990s to have the Louisiana Purchase document put on display here. At the time, he worked for the records center on Page Avenue. He was in Washington, D.C. on a work assignment and was given a view of the Louisiana Purchase Treaty.
“Honestly, my breath was taken away when she pulled it out of an anti-acidic box,” he says. “She took the lid off and I was like, ‘Wow, this is the Louisiana Purchase.'”
He began to think about how the treaty would be a perfect addition to renovations at the Arch at the time.
He says with the backing of the History Museum, the Records Center and the congressional delegation it was made possible to let St. Louis borrow the document.
When it’s put on display it will be in a case that filters impurities and moisture. Special lighting will also be in place and security will be increased.
In 1803, the United States agreed to pay France $15 million for the Louisiana Territory, 828,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi River. Roughly four cents an acre, the U.S. doubled its size, expanding westward. The Louisiana Purchase remade St. Louis into an American city.
The document will be featured in “The Louisiana Purchase: Making St. Louis, Remaking America,” a major exhibition scheduled to open at the Missouri History Museum October 25, 2014 and will run through April 19, 2015.
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