JOPLIN, Mo. — A portion of the Joplin History and Mineral Museum has now been open to the public for 90 years.
The section of the complex that is home to the Everett J. Ritchie Tri-State Mineral Museum, has been open to the public since 1931. MSSU Community Historian Brad Belk says that makes that facility one of the oldest in the entire state of Missouri. He says the building actually dates back to 1909 when it was a concession stand for Schifferdecker Electric Park but was repurposed several years later.
Brad Belk, MSSU Community Historian, said, “We do know that in 1929 and 1930, citizens that were really consumed with our Tri-State mining history wanted to have a place to show that, and the building was idle at the time and so they put a couple thousand dollars in it and converted it and put those incredible mineral specimens that we so much adore today.”
Belk says the rest of the building, which houses the Dorothea B. Hoover Historical Wing was added onto the Ritchie section in 1976. Belk plans on writing a booklet on the Ritchie section and formally celebrating the 90th anniversary in May.