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Local museum opens "The Great Flood" exhibit

Two Jon boats used in the Great Flood of 1993 sit on the floor of the museum. The wall behind the johnboats is a 15-foot-tall mural that shows flood levels through July and part of August 1993.
Courtesy of the Boone County History and Culture Center
Madeline LeMieux hand painted the exhibit's mural that shows the 1993 flood levels through July and part of August. The mural is 15 feet tall.

Sometimes, museums inform people of events that happened hundreds of years ago. But the Boone County History and Culture Center is taking museum-goers just thirty years back, to a time that some visitors will even remember.

“The Great Flood” exhibit opened at the center on July 25, and it marks the 30th anniversary of the 1993 flood that came through Missouri and eight other states. The disaster was record-breaking, and the exhibit encourages folks to look back and reflect.

The exhibit is open to the public with free admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

Mary Ellen Lohmann is the director of administration and communications for the Center. Remembering the Great Flood is hard but worth doing, Lohmann said.

“When I’ve seen people walk into the exhibit, they have those hard memories,” Lohmann said. “But they also have those beautiful stories of resilience.”

Lohmann said the concept behind the exhibit was to revisit the Great Flood and look at what it meant to the communities in Boone County. The exhibit approaches the flood from different perspectives, giving visitors an idea of economic, human and landscape impacts.

The exhibit includes a hand-painted mural, two Jon boats used during the flood, photos, archival video and newspaper clippings from the time.

Madeline LeMieux hand painted the mural, which is 15 feet tall. It displays how high the river rose through July and part of August, with news articles from thirty years ago giving updates about the flood’s progress.

Chris Campbell, the executive director of the Center and the Boone County Historical Society, said it was important to put the exhibit together 30 years after the tragedy.

“The event itself was hugely impactful to the county and will always be referred to in the county’s history,” Campbell said. “That’s our job, is to remind the community of our history and why it’s important.”

Campbell says the second reason to have an exhibit is because the county should expect another similar event.

“There’s no way the last major flood in Boone County was in 1993, in 1995,” Campbell said. “It’s not in our past, because it’s going to happen again.”

The exhibit will remain open until Feb. 3, 2024. More information is available at boonehistory.org.

Abby Lee is a student at the University of Missouri studying journalism and women’s and gender studies. She has interned with mxdwn Music and The Missouri Review.
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