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Missouri Explorers program encourages families to travel state during bicentennial year

A new Missouri bicentennial program is underway to encourage individuals, families and groups to travel the state and participate in fun challenges and learn more. Participants in the Missouri Explorers Program will receive a button upon registration and a list of challenges to earn additional merit badge buttons.

To achieve the merit buttons, participants will be asked to submit a photo of each stop in their challenge. Participants also can share their photos on social media using the hashtag #moexplorers.

Challenges in the program include the German Heritage Corridor; Native American Heritage; Travel the Mother Road, Route 66; Get your Kicks in St. Louis; Historic Gems of St. Louis showcasing civic treasures and historic sites; A Walk Through Time: Missouri Cemeteries; The Way of American Genius exploring innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders who helped shape American history, culture and life. Not included but still awesome is the Lewis and Clark trail.

READ: Missouri to include virtual program in Bicentennial

missouri bicentennial

A poster from Missouri’s Centennial celebration in 1921.

“We have a growing list of challenges that would allow Missourians to either travel across the state or explore a little closer to home and, hopefully, come away with a better understanding of Missouri’s diversity and unique cultural and historical places and people,” said Michael Sweeney, coordinator for Missouri’s bicentennial.

The German Heritage program has been one of most popular in the past because of a strong German heritage across the state. Beginning in the 1830s, thousands of German immigrants moved to Missouri in several large groups. They came in part by a favorable report of the area by Gottfried Duden of Warren County, and by the resemblance of the Missouri River Valley to the Rhineland. By 1860, Germans comprised more than half of Missouri’s foreign-born residents.

They brought their distinctive German culture with them, including wine and beer making, agriculture, festivals, language, religion, customs, and architecture, leaving an indelible imprint on Missouri and the nation.

The Missouri Explorers Program is open to anyone who is interested in traveling and learning more about the geographic and cultural diversity of the state. The program is free, but registration is required to receive merit buttons. Guides to each challenge are listed on the missouri2021.org website under Missouri Explorers. Also, if organizations are interested in sponsoring a new challenge, they can inquire about the program by sending email to contact@missouri2021.org

Missouri 2021 is a statewide initiative of the State Historical Society of Missouri to promote a better understanding of Missouri and its regions, communities and people. Keep updated on all Missouri 2021 happenings at missouri2021.org and by following the bicentennial on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @missouri2021.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice