A-Z Index

Museums and Collections

Established in 1905, Northwest Missouri State University has a long, rich, compelling past and a vital, diverse, interesting present. The online Northwest History museum was designed to showcase that history and offers visitors a rare window into campus life and the contributions of Northwest faculty, staff and students.


Agriculture Museum

More than 65 years ago an agriculture teacher at Northwest with the unlikely name of Frank Horsfall Jr. began asking his neighbors and friends for old farm tools.

In those days, mechanization was rapidly changing the face of farming in north Missouri - and across the United States - and Horsfall wanted to create a museum that would preserve and celebrate the region's traditional agrarian culture.

The response was enthusiastic, and the collection grew quickly, many farmers being both "savers" and people with a keen sense of the past. By 1940 Horsfall had his museum, which was initially housed in the Administration Building.

Over the years, the collection, which continued to expand, had various homes on campus. But eventually, as the University grew and more space was required for academic programs, it wound up in storage.

Then, with the completion of the Valk Agriculture Professions Center in 1970, the items were moved into display cases scattered along the corridors. They remained there until this summer.

Now, Northwest's collection of agricultural and American Indian artifacts has a permanent home. Dr. Jamie Patton, former faculty member, cataloged, arranged and displayed the artifacts in a large room on the north side of Valk equipped especially for that purpose. The museum officially opened in fall 200.

Items on display include collections of wrenches, horseshoes, butter churns and branding irons along with tools used by coopers (barrel makers), farriers (blacksmiths) and cobblers.

Scattered among these artifacts viewers will find a corn shucking glove, stirrups said to have belonged to a former Arkansas governor, and a Minié ball scavenged from the battlefield at Gettysburg.

Patton said the oldest items on display are an oxen yoke made in 1799 and a corn cob discovered in a pueblo ruin dating from A.D. 1100.
"We wanted to provide a secure environment where these items could be displayed and used for educational purposes," Patton said. "Most of our students don't have any idea what this stuff was used for, but they need to know where we've been in order to know where we're going."

For more information about the museum, or to donate an artifact, call the Department of Agriculture at 660.562.1155 (ext. 1155).

Missouri State Arboretum

Arboretum Page

Since 1993, Northwest Missouri State University has been the official Missouri State Arboretum.

The Arboretum won the 2000 CommuniTree Award "for exemplary stewardship of community trees."

The University and the City of Maryville were rewarded with the 2001 Communitree Award for the bypass project east of Maryville at the intersection of Highways 71 and 136. The awards were presented to the Missouri Arboretum by the Missouri Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council and the Forestry Division of the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Northwest Missouri State University is located in Maryville, Mo., a Tree City USA since 1998.

An arboretum is a place where trees and other plants are grown for educational or scientific purposes. On the campus of Northwest Missouri State University, over 1,300 trees provide spring flowers, summer shade, fall colors and winter shelter. As of the spring of 2000, the arboretum contained 111 tree species, ninety-four of which are deciduous broadleafs, fourteen are evergreen needleleafs and three are deciduous needleleafs.

The variety of tree species on this campus is good for education on many different levels. Professors use the trees to teach biology and botany. Local residents thinking of planting saplings can come to campus and view mature specimens before making a decision.

Warren Stucki Museum of Broadcasting

The Warren Stucki Museum of Broadcasting is one of the few museums - and perhaps the only one in the Midwest - dedicated exclusively to radio and TV broadcasting.

Created from the personal collection of retired radio engineer Warren Stucki, Savannah, Mo., and expanded with artifacts donated by radio buffs across Missouri and Iowa, the museum traces the development of wired and wireless communication from the telegraph through the "golden years" of radio up to the current digital era.

On seeing the collection of approximately 30 vintage radio sets, visitors often reminisce about "grandpa's" radio or "when we got our first TV." The museum also features several interactive displays at which guests can tap out Morse Code, hear old-time radio dramas and commercials, and listen to President Franklin Roosevelt deliver his first Fireside Chat over an authentic 1930s living room console.

Other highlights include a working, hand-cranked Edison phonograph with cylinder records, circa 1900; a 1924 article from "Successful Farming" magazine explaining why all farm families should have a radio in their home; vintage television gear and recording equipment used to create "the miracle of video tape," and the military radio young Stucki carried through the European theater during World War II.

Archives and Special Collections

Located on the second floor of the B.D. Owens Library, the University Archives contain thousands of documents, photographs and artifacts associated with more than 100 years of Northwest history.

For more information, contact the University Archivist at

The library also contains a number of special collections, including the Hooper Civil War Collection, the Willa Cather Collection, the Lewis B. Mayhew Collection and the Charles I. Frye Collection described below.

The Willa Cather Collection

The B.D. Owens Library houses a complete first-edition set of the works of novelist Willa Cather, which was acquired by matching a substantial gift from a patron with Northwest Foundation funds.

The impetus for purchase of the set was a gift from Mrs. Charles (Lela) Bell, an avid reader and supporter of higher education and the arts, whose love for Cather's writings was inspired by a Northwest faculty member. Mrs. Bell's gift was matched by funds from the Morehouse and Saville bequests.

The first volume of the set carries Cather's signature. To support this rare holding, Owens has developed a solid collection of scholarly material about Cather ranging from biographies and annotated bibliographies through memorabilia to current criticism of her works.

The most recent acquisition to the Cather collection is a rare "advanced copy" -- a bound galley proof -- sent to Cather for final editing before the work was published.

The Hooper Civil War Collection

Tom Hooper, a Maryville resident and realtor, was an avid collector of Civil War memorabilia and writings. Of particular interest in the Hooper bequest to the B.D. Owens Library are the "Official Records of the Union Army" and the "Official Records of the Confederate Army," exhaustive records of personnel and supplies for both the North and the South.

One of the most unusual pieces of the Hooper bequest is a rare reproduction printed in a limited edition of a Civil War soldier's handwritten diary.

The Hooper bequest totals nearly 400 volumes as well as artifacts and memorabilia. This bequest is actively supported through Owens' current collection development efforts, which include additions of new scholarly works, videos and memorabilia.

The Lewis B. Mayhew Collection

The B.D. Owens Library contains the entire personal library of the eminent scholar of higher education, Dr. Lewis B. Mayhew.

The collection includes Mayhew's substantial contributions to scholarship and research in higher education, dissertations of graduate students who benefited from his mentoring and books and journals that he read and reviewed for a large number of professional associates.

The collection came to Northwest's Owens Library through the efforts of President Dean L. Hubbard, a co-author and former pupil of Dr. Mayhew's, and Dr. Mayhew's son, Lewis B. Mayhew Jr. Unique volumes in the Mayhew Collection are housed separately in the Mayhew Room. The standard works have been incorporated into Owens' main collection.

The Charles I. Frye Collection

In 1995, the B.D. Owens Library received a valuable collection of works relating to geology from Professor Charles I. Frye, who retired from Northwest in 1996 after several years of service to the Department of Geology and Geography.

Dr. Frye's interest in early and rare geology textbooks resulted in his collecting a substantial number of special works. Most notable of these is the rare 1834 edition of Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology, which delights modern-day scholars with its hand-inked face plates and maps.