If you love history and are looking for a way to get involved in the community while making some like-minded friends, the Young Friends group at the Missouri Historical Society is your solution.
“Young Friends is a group that introduces young adults and professionals to the [society], fostering an interest in the St. Louis region’s past and creating ways to get involved in the preservation and protection of our local history,” says Rebecca McBride, membership and annual fund manager for the Missouri Historical Society. “It’s an avenue for St. Louisans in their 20s, 30s or 40s to get involved and learn more about our shared history.”
About five years ago, a Young Friends Steering Committee made up of young adults and professionals was recruited and began leading the strategic plans and goals of Young Friends.
“Now, we have a committee of about 15 individuals who plan our programs, communications, messaging and recruitment for the Young Friends,” McBride says.
In 2016, as part of her New Year resolutions, Mallori Allen, who is now chair of the Steering Committee, was looking for volunteer opportunities.
“I have always been fascinated by history and love the Missouri History Museum, so I started there,” she says. “I came across the Young Friends trivia night on the website and got a table together. At the trivia night, I filled out a contact form stating I was interested in joining. … The rest is history!”
Interested individuals can either sign up to be a Young Friend or serve on the Steering Committee, which meets monthly and is more of a commitment, Allen explains.
“We are looking for a couple more people to serve on our Steering Committee, which plans and promotes, with the help of MHS staff, our main Young Friends fundraising event, the trivia night,” she says. The next Trivia Night at the Museum is slated for 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23. Space is limited, so reserve your spot here or 314-361-9017.
Individuals who do not have much time to volunteer but still want to get involved can opt to become a Young Friend without joining the Steering Committee, Allen says.
“Young Friends attend our events and serve as ambassadors of the Missouri Historical Society by bringing awareness to it and its mission,” Allen says. “It is an excellent way to use your skills and talents to support a local institution. You also get to meet different people and gain exposure to new aspects of St. Louis. You can take on leadership roles if you want and learn more about development and fundraising for a prominent nonprofit.”
Becoming a Young Friend is a way to be part of creating excitement around the organization and encouraging others to get involved at an affordable level, McBride says.
“All you need to do to join the Young Friends is become a Missouri Historical Society member at any level — it’s a free add-on to your membership,” she says.
Members receive e-newsletters with information about planned events, as well as a curated selection of blog content and other events presented by the society. Volunteer opportunities are also offered if members want to get more involved.
Young Friends also orchestrates History on Tap, a series of events that are held at different locations related to interesting stories about St. Louis.
“We recruit historians from across the city — including but not limited to our amazing staff — to present these stories,” McBride says. “In October, our event was hosted at Morgan Street Brewery. Missouri Historical Society Director of Library and Collections Christopher Gordon presented on the Great Fire of 1849 and told the legends and the facts surrounding a rather dubious character in St. Louis history named Dr. Joseph Nash McDowell. Other events have focused on topics such as the history of St. Louis beer, downtown and the architecture of Lafayette Square. Our next event will be about the history of music in St. Louis.”
The next History on Tap is slated for Jan. 10 at Blueberry Hill in the Loop. Click here for more information on Young Friends.