Tag Archives: Union Avenue Opera

2014 – Our Year in Review

Now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays are past and we’ve settled into the swing of 2015, we finally have a chance to take a look back at last year and share some news with you about what CHM has achieved over the past 12 months. In short, 2014 was one of the most successful years in the Campbell House Museum’s history. It was gangbusters and often exhausting, but we couldn’t be more pleased as we’ve crunched the numbers over the past few days. Here’s some of what made 2014 such a banner year.

Record-Breaking Attendance

dennis tour

Docent and Board of Directors member Dennis takes a group through the Museum in December 2014.

In 2014 the Campbell House Museum saw its highest levels of attendance since the mid-1970s, welcoming 4,852 lovely people like you through for tours. For some perspective: the last time our attendance topped 4,800, gas was 44¢ a gallon, the Vietnam War was ending and NBC was debuting a newfangled game show called Wheel of Fortune. While this figure might not seem like a lot at first glance, consider that almost every single one of our nearly 5,000 visitors in 2014 received an hour-long, guided tour led by one of our expert docents. That’s not too shabby in our book.

Stellar Reputation

At the time this post went to press, CHM was ranked as one of the top five St. Louis museums on TripAdvisor, way ahead of many of our big-budget (and wonderful!) friends throughout the city. Over the past several years, the Campbell House has increased its local profile as a must-experience site for St. Louisans and out-of-towners alike and its national profile as a leader for scholarship and research in the Fur Trade, Westward Expansion and Victorian Interior Design. This is reflected not just in our excellent TripAdvisor reviews but in publications like the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal and the Winterthur Portfolio. (p.s. if you haven’t reviewed us on TripAdvisor yet, we’d greatly appreciate some kind words!)

The lucky raffle winner of a shot of bathtub gin from a cup once owned by President U.S. Grant at 2014's #drinkuptweetupSTL

The lucky raffle winner of a shot of bathtub gin from a cup once owned by President U.S. Grant at 2014’s #drinkuptweetupSTL

Outstanding Events

2014 was a great year for special events at CHM. Kicking off in February with our celebration of STL250 and continuing through the year in our collaborations with Union Avenue Opera and #drinkuptweetupSTL with Distilled History and wrapping up with the enormously successful St. Louis Holiday Historic House Tour a few weeks ago, more people than ever are experiencing St. Louis history in unique, engaging ways.

Education, Education, Education

Nearly 500 students, ranging from third graders at the St. Louis French Immersion School to college students studying history, music and museum studies from universities across America stopped by to say hello and learn about the Campbell family and their home in 2014. CHM adopted a new mission this year, to “enliven the history of St. Louis and Westward Expansion through the story of the Campbell family and their home,” and a primary goal of this mission is to engage and involve students and the community. We’re off to a solid start.

But enough of us tooting our own horn.

None of this would have been possible without the incredible STL community, our supporters, members and volunteers. You came to see us, helped us accomplish our mission and supported local history. As we move into 2015, CHM asks for your continued support. We might not be the biggest fish in the pond, but we have an important story to tell and your attendance at our events, your financial support, even the simple act of reading this blog post demonstrates your commitment to making this small institution a big player in the preservation of St. Louis history. Thank you.



Students from Oakville High School visited the Museum and participated in a historic documents workshop in September 2014.


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Monday Update » 4.23.12

A draft of one of Lindsey's panels. Come by in two weeks to see the whole exhibit in person. (Believe me, she'll be REALLY happy if you do.)

Welcome to the downhill slope of Monday, everyone. It’s been a marathon around here the last few weeks, and this is what we have to show for it:

New Civil War Exhibit
Out with the old and in with the new…..Weekend Manager Lindsey is putting the finishing touches on her new exhibit, A Family Apart: The Campbells During the Civil War Years. She’s pulling some of Virginia’s dresses and jewelry out of storage, along with some exceptional old letters. Come by after May 8th to see the story of the Campbells during this turbulent period in American history.

Magical Spring Thing
Sam Clark’s big show — the Magical Spring Thing — on April 14th was a huge success. We’re still recovering from it, but we raised a few dollars for new environmental programming and special projects around the house. Big thanks to Sam and all the volunteers and board members who helped pull off another spectacular show with Union Avenue Opera, St. Louis Ballet, students from Webster University’s Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts, St. Louis Ragtimers and the Ballroom Dance Academy of St. Louis.

Webster Groves High School students working on an overgrown area at our fence. The yard looks wonderful thanks to their hard work.

Webster High School Lends a Hand
Our garden volunteers (read: Moms and Dads of the CHM staff) are especially grateful for the group of ten Webster Groves High School students and parents who came by on April 10th to do some heavy lifting in the garden. The enthusiastic teens knocked out an impressive amount of weeding, trimming, mulching and planting, and it was a pleasure to have them at the house.  The garden looks FABULOUS because of all their help. <please come back!>

The Mysterious Gus Meyer
Between digging up scoop on Lucas Place and the Campbell Family, there isn’t much Intrepid Researcher Tom™  can’t find. Last week, he started the quest to uncover more information about Gus Meyer, a devoted servant who began working at Campbell House as a gardener in 1901, and he eventually worked his way up to be Hugh Campbell’s personal assistant. After Hugh died in 1931, Gus stayed in the house and took care of Hugh’s brother Hazlett until he died in 1938. Gus continued to live in and manage the house until it finally opened as a museum five years later. He signed the Museum’s guest book on its opening day, and we lost track of him after that. Intrepid Researcher Tom™ has found information on his family and what happened to him after he left his job of over 40 years at Campbell House. We’ll make a blog post with all of his findings shortly.

Bring Mom to Campbell House for Mother’s Day
Stumped for what to get your darling mom on Mother’s Day? Easy, bring her to our house for Arias in the Afternoon, a garden party we’re co-hosting with Union Avenue Opera. Spend the afternoon relaxing in our garden and listening to a special one-hour concert while enjoying tea and nibbles from our neighbors, the London Tea Room. It’s going to be a great event and if you bring your mom, you’ll be her favorite son or daughter. We promise. Click here for tickets.

Urban Exploring 2.0: Museum Building at the Missouri Botanical Garden
After the overwhelming popularity of the post on our recent trek through the St. Louis Transit Company Electrical Substation, we’re going to try making Urban Exploring a regular feature. This weekend we had the chance to get inside the Museum Building at the Botanical Garden, a structure that’s closed to the public. A blog post featuring pictures of the Museum Building and Tower Grove House is coming this week.

That’s just some of what is happening at Campbell House. Check back with us for some exciting news on house painting (!), the 2012 Freedom’s Gateway Signature Event, and our Spring Members Party. From the Campbell family to yours, have a stellar week!

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Monday Update » 3.26.12

Executive Director Andy Hahn with his unusually shy Leo before our urban exploring field trip to the St. Louis Transit Company Substation on Locust this morning.

Happy Monday, everyone!

We had a busy weekend, due in part to the Sweet 16 and the Elite Eight madness happening at the Dome. While our weekend manager takes a well-deserved break, here are some newsy bits and a few things we’ve got cooking over the next two weeks:

Campbell House Architects Featured
Campbell House research volunteer Tom Gronski’s article on the Campbell House architects (Joseph C. Edgar and Thomas Waryng Walsh) earned top-billing in the Missouri Valley Chapter of Architectural Historian’s newsletter. Read all about it (and some other beautiful local buildings) here.  Way to go, Tom!

Field Trip to the St. Louis Transit Company Substation
A long-vacant building up Locust was built to house a big, giant battery system for streetcars. It was constructed right before the 1904 World’s Fair because the city anticipated substantially more streetcar traffic due to the influx of visitors. We’ll have a post about our visit to the old building complete with pictures for you next week.

New Civil War Exhibit
Lindsey’s plugging away on research, writing, and finding objects for her new exhibit on the Campbells during the Civil War. Sharing new research on Robert’s political leanings, slavery, and the impact of the war on the family and their friends, the exhibit will open in the third floor galleries in early April. You won’t want to miss it!

A Few Good Interns
We have more intern interviews booked, but we’d love to hear from you or someone you know needs a summer internship. We’re not picky about your course of study because it takes all kinds to operate a museum. Nonprofit Management? Museum Studies? PR/Marketing? History? Art? Come talk to us. Campbell House is a small place, so everyone — staff, volunteers and interns — wear many hats. You’ll get to see all sides of how we run the business, and we promise you’ll have an awesome experience here. Contact Executive Director Andy Hahn at andy [at] campbellhousemuseum [dot] org if you want to talk; we’d love to hear from you!

Upcoming Events
We’re working on putting together two spectacular events that you won’t want to miss. In just a couple of weeks, we’ll again be hosting the Magical Spring Thing at the Mahler Ballroom, which will feature St. Louis Ballet, Union Avenue Opera, the St. Louis Ragtimers, the Ballroom Academy of St. Louis. It’s going to be an unforgettable evening, so click here for more information. On Mother’s Day (May 13th), we’re pleased to partner with Union Avenue Opera to bring you (and your mom!) Arias in the Afternoon: A Victorian Garden Party. While you enjoy scones, tarts and tea from the London Tea Room, Union Avenue Opera artists will serenade you with a special Mother’s Day program. For details, read all about it here.

50-cent piece appearances last week: 0

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