Soldiers Memorial Military Museum

at 1315 Chestnut St, St. Louis, Missouri , 63103

Since 1938 Soldiers Memorial Military Museum has served as a monument to the sacrifices of our brave men and women in uniform. Come and experience their stories with us. Soldiers Memorial Military Museum is owned by the City of St. Louis, Board of Public Service and operated by the Missouri Historical Society, which also operates the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park. Beginning in Spring 2016, the Museum will close to undergo a multi-million dollar renovation, creating a state-of-the-art museum facility honoring military service, veterans and their families. The initiative to construct a memorial plaza and memorial building to honor the gallant sons and daughters of Missouri, and of our city, who "made the supreme sacrifice in the World War", began in 1923. Over the course of several years, the City of St. Louis and its citizens raised money for the project. Under the leadership of Mayor Bernard F. Dickmann, and with some funds coming from the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works (Project No. 5098), the construction of the building, development of the memorial plaza, and improvements to the parks began on October 21, 1935 and the memorial and museum officially opened on Memorial Day, May 30, 1938. "This magnificent edifice, erected as a perpetual reminder of the valor and sacrifice that has enabled America to live, will spur us on as a people to make America greater. We, who live, because others have died, should make of this shrine a place of love and a monument of peace." - Mayor Bernard F. Dickmann, May 30, 1938 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, came to St. Louis to dedicate the site for the Soldiers Memorial building on October 14, 1936. “…Here will rise a fitting structure—a symbol of devoted patriotism and unselfish service. We in America do not build monuments to war: we do not build monuments to conquests; we build monuments to commemorate the spirit of sacrifice in war—reminders of our desire for peace. The memory of those, whom the war called to the Beyond, urges us to consecrate the best that is in us to the service of country in times of peace. We best honor the memory of those dead by striving for Peace, that the terror of the days of war will be with us no more. May the beauty of this monument, which will rise on this site, cast a beneficent light on the memories of our comrades, may a substantial structure typify the strength of their purpose, and may it inspire future generations with a desire to be of service to their fellows and their country.” Seemingly, the poignancy of the President’s words were not lost on his audience: The quality and pride of craftsmanship, the careful attention to detail and design, confirm the depth of commitment and steadfast appreciation of Great Depression-era St. Louisans for those who served in the armed forces—veterans—and for those who served to the last measure of their lives—who made “The Supreme Sacrifice.” Further, these St. Louisans did not forget the families, understanding that war reaches beyond the battlefield, to the American home, with lasting effect long after peace treaties are signed. Here are a few architectural features to notice the next time you visit Soldiers Memorial. The quoted material is as described in a very early guide book, published by Mason Printing Company, St. Louis: * Exterior walls of the building itself: Of Bedford limestone, from Bedford Indiana. * Outside, looking up, trimming the building just below the second floor balcony: “On the facing of the parapet, surrounding the upper promenade, are carved medallions representing infantrymen, marines, tank operators, sailors and the other divisions of service.” (p. 14) * Outside, large sculptured, limestone figures flanking the stairs: “Four magnificent sculptured stone figures, two on the south side [Chestnut street side], representing Courage [male figure] and Vision [female figure]; two on the north side [Pine street side], representing Loyalty [male figure] and Sacrifice [female figure]. These massive, beautiful figures are the work of Walker Hancock, a native St. Louisan.” (p. 14) * Going up the stairs to the entrance and under the covered atrium area, the Cenotaph: “Of black granite resting upon a base of Bedford stone. Carved upon [the cenotaph] are 1075 names of soldiers and nurses from our city, who made the supreme sacrifice [referring to WWI].” (p.11) * In the covered atrium area, looking up: Gold Star Mother mosaic ceiling: Probably designed and installed by the Ravenna Mosaic Company, St. Louis—the same company that did the mosaics at the Cathedral Basilica on Lindell. Note that lights embedded inside the cenotaph shine upwards onto the ceiling at night—to highlight the detail and color of the tiles. As stated in the Mason Printing guide book: “Large flood lights in the hollowed center of the Cenotaph illuminate the ceiling which is of glass mosaic in red, gold and silver. Centered in the ceiling is a large gold star, dedicated to the mothers of St. Louisans who died in the war.” (p. 11) * Elevator and stairway, located in the west museum lobby, north end and south end, respectively: “Access to the upper part [second floor] of the Memorial is by automatic elevator, which is completely paneled in American Walnut [probably from Missouri]. There is also a magnificent modernistic stairway, the walls of which are napoleon gray marble from Phoenix, MO. The treads and risers are of terrazzo. Modernistic aluminum rails and lighting fixtures create a pleasing and entrancing atmosphere.” (p.17) * Entrance doors and museums: “There are two museums, east and west sides, at the entrance to which are modernistic aluminum light standards. The doors to the museums are made of heavy plate glass, encased in frames of aluminum and alloys that produce a soft, satin silver finish. The floors of the museum[s] are of terrazzo, while the nine-foot wainscoating [in the museums] is of St. Genevieve [Missouri] rose marble, with Belgian blue marble as a trim. The grill work over the doors and the 28-foot windows in the museums is of aluminum.” (p. 15) * Basement area where CEMA offices are currently located: “On the ground floor is the assembly room used by the Gold Star Mothers and other war organizations of women. The assembly room accommodates 300 persons.” (p. 18) Note also that the U.S.O. held events in the basement area before CEMA and before the U.S.O. moved to Lambert Airport. The Soldiers' Memorial was designed by St. Louis architectural firm Mauran, Russell & Crowell, in the Classical style, but with limited ornamentation. Its entrances are flanked by four monumental sculptural groups carved in Bedford stone, representing figures of Loyalty, Vision, Courage and Sacrifice. Created by sculptor Walker Hancock they stand, with their horses, on the North and South sides of the building. Ornamental pylons on the terrace level name major World War I battles in which St. Louisans participated. Inside the building, a 38-foot high ceiling of mosaic tile tops the loggia area. The tiles form a large gold star dedicated to the mothers of St. Louisans who died in wars. A black granite cenotaph in the center of the loggia is inscribed with the names of 1,075 St. Louisans who lost their lives in World War I.

Soldiers Memorial Military Museum
1315 Chestnut St
St. Louis, Missouri , MO 63103
United States
Contact Phone
P: (314) 622-4550

General Info

HOURS: Monday-Friday 9:00AM-4:30PM Saturday-Sunday 10:00AM-3:00PM The two museum galleries of Soldiers Memorial contain a collection of military-related objects of both local and national historical significance, such as photographs, posters and printed materials, uniforms, flags, medals, firearms, edged weapons, and a range of war-time memorabilia from both the battlefront and the homefront. Watch for special programs, events, and regularly-changing exhibits. To schedule a group tour, call (314) 622-4550.

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Soldiers Memorial will be closed on Friday, July 3rd and Saturday, July 4th for the 4th of July holiday. The museum will re-open for regular hours, 10am. to 3pm., on Sunday, July 5th, 2015.

Published on 2015-07-02 17:14:06 GMT

FLAG DAY AT SOLDIERS MEMORIAL: The American Legion 11th and 12th District invites you to attend and participate in a flag retirement ceremony at 10:55am. on Flag Day; that is, Sunday, June 14, 2015. The Ceremony will take place at Soldiers Memorial on the Chestnut street-side steps and patio. You are welcome to bring to the ceremony any old flags from home that you may have to retire. The Flag Retirement Ceremony is especially good for families since everyone can participate in folding the flags and walking the folded flags for retirement during the ceremony: If you are unable to come to the Ceremony on Flag Day, remember that you can drop off your old flags at Soldiers Memorial throughout the year during museum open hours: Monday through Friday, 9am.-4:30pm., and on Saturday and Sunday, 10am.-3pm. Leave old flags in the "Flags To Retire" box located in the west lobby (elevator lobby).

Published on 2015-05-05 01:39:56 GMT

MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND AT SOLDIERS MEMORIAL: The American Legion 11th and 12th District invites you to attend a ceremony to remember the service and sacrifice of our military at 10am. on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend; that is, Saturday, May 23, 2015. The Ceremony will take place at Soldiers Memorial on the Chestnut street-side steps and patio.

Published on 2015-05-05 01:38:54 GMT

Soldiers Memorial Military Museum will be closed on Saturday, May 2, 2015 because the building is being used for Stand Down for At Risk and Homeless Veterans. Regular hours resume on Sunday, May 3, 2015 when the museum is open from 10am. to 3pm.

Published on 2015-04-29 15:30:28 GMT

The VA St. Louis Healthcare System and the St. Louis VA Regional Office will host a Veterans Town Hall meeting, Thursday, 3/26/15, 5-7pm., 3710 Enright Avenue, St. Louis, 63106. Open to the public. For more information:

Published on 2015-03-24 13:42:30 GMT

From the BBC: The Last Post will be played all over the world on Remembrance Day. But as Alwyn W Turner explains, its origins had nothing to do with mourning.

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