ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Interpretive labels are being installed around the Thomas Jefferson statue at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park. They will explain why city leaders decided to honor Jefferson with the statue and the contradictions between his words in the Declaration of Independence while owning slaves on his Virginia plantation. The reading rail labels will also explore the Louisiana Purchase’s effect on the future of the United States and Indigenous people living west of the Mississippi.

“Since its unveiling to the public in 1913 the Thomas Jefferson statue has sat largely uninterpreted,” states Dr. Frances Levine, President of the Missouri Historical Society. “Over two years of work by researchers, writers, designers, and more than 100 reviewers went into developing these labels. The well-researched labels are designed to be clear, concise, and accessible to readers of all ages and varying historical knowledge. These labels will give visitors a deeper understanding of the country’s third president and will, no doubt, spark discussion, debate, and thought about his legacy.”

The signs will be installed on Tuesday around the Thomas Jefferson Statue in the Missouri History Museum. A panel discussion “Rethinking Monuments & Memorials” will be held at the museum on Thursday, April 28. Other topics up for discussion include the removal of the Christopher Columbus statue from Tower Grove Park and a memorial to honor Mill Creek Valley.

Learn more about the new signs, statue, and the panel discussion here: