We are a historic house museum with a permanent vast collection of mid-nineteenth century to early twentieth century furnishings and decorative art. Many of the items in our collection belonged to the DeMenil Family or other influential families here in St. Louis.
The Death of Bear Robe Painting
Our most interesting artifact is a painting that was found in the attic in 1964. It was wrapped around an Hawken rifle and hidden away in the rafters of the attic sometime before 1856.
It depicts the death of Henri Chatillon's first wife, Oglala Sioux wife, Bear Robe. The painting contains Oglala Sioux religious iconography pertaining to death. It is the only artifact we have from the Chatillon period of the house (1848-1856).
1904 World’s Fair Collection
The Saint Louis World’s Fair officially opened on April 3o, 1904. Over the course of the next eight months 19,694,855 people visited the fairgrounds which were located in present-day Forest Park and the campus of Washington University. Sixty-three nations and forty-three US States had exhibits at the fair and the amusement area called “The Pike” held fifty more educational, scientific and historical displays.
This collection is especially important to our history because our very own Alexander DeMenil served on the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition as the Director of the French Exhibit and translator to the French dignitaries that visited St. Louis in preparation for the Fair.
Admission to this exhibit is included in all of our regular tours. Please check here for tour times and admission information.
The Chatillon DeMenil 1904 World’s Fair Collection holds over 1200 pieces of memorabilia ranging from the most common souvenirs one could purchase at the fair, like etched ruby glass, to rare and unusual items only received by guests of honor. One such rare item is the Festival Hall clock, made by St. Louis jewelers Mermod-Jaccard.
Our collection is due to the passion of a great collector, Joseph Andrew Meisel Jr, and the generosity of his daughter, Pat Meisel McBride.
Here are some other great ways to celebrate and learn more about the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis:
Visit the 1904 World’s Fair: Looking Back at Looking Forward exhibit at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park,
Take a trip to the St Louis Art Museum in Forest Park, one of the few remaining structures from the 1904 World’s Fair. It originally served as the Palace of Fine Arts.
See the Flight Cage at the St. Louis Zoo, which was originally commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution to hold the U.S. Bird Exhibit at the 1904 World’s Fair.
Take a tour of The Scott Joplin House, the home of a famous St. Louis composer who performed at the 1904 World’s Fair.
Take a tour of the Cahokia Courthouse State Historic Site, which was moved from Cahokia to Forest Park for the fair.