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    Lewis Miller, owner of the Mitchell Museum

BOONVILLE, Mo.– A work in progress since 2009, the Boonville Tourism Center has finally opened its doors to tourists and Boonvillians at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday. The open ceremony featured an official ribbon cutting, as well as appetizers presented by various restaurants in Boonville.

The museum, which is housed in the former Shryack-Givens Grocery Store on Spring street, contains various artifacts from Boonville history, as well as items from other Boonville landmarks, such as the Mitchell Museum. Included is a keel boat model, a wagon on loan from the Mitchell museum, and various other artifacts. Also included is a model of the Hannah Cole cabin, as well as the first stoplight in Boonville (circa 1960s), and various historic photographs from years past in Boonville. While the museum is spacious, it has been renovated in an attempt to retain the historic characteristics, while offering modern amenities and a comfortable feel.

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                  Boonville Visitor Center

Lewis Miller, owner of the Mitchell Museum, offered his opinions on the museum.

“This [the tourism center] will draw more tourism, as people on the Katy Trail will stop in for refreshments and look around,” stated Miller. Miller’s museum, which features various wagons and automobiles produced by the Mitchell Company, as well as the only Mitchell bicycle known to exist, is located up the street from the new tourist center, and has attracted antique automobile hobbyists from all around the country. While Miller owns the museum, tickets are sold through the tourism department, and Miller allows the tourism department to keep the revenue, which is used to maintain the tourist center or other attractions.

Boonville mayor Julie Thacher says the museum is a great addition to the community, and will improve the economy and tourism in Boonville.

“It’s another attraction in our community and is a stopping point for people on the trail. They usually stop and hopefully they spend some money, or they decide to go downtown, or the gals at the tourism center send them someplace downtown,” said Thacher. Thacher feels that it provides “some opportunities that haven’t been there before for our economy.”

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                     Ribbon Cutting

“We have a fantastic tourism department. It has evolved over the years, and we have to give a lot of credit to those that went before the current tourism folks, and we got a good board and a good tourism director, and Katy Gibson and Kate Fjell,” added Thacher.

Thacher feels the historic preservation in the Boonville area is “gaining momentum again.” Thacher feels this preserves the charm and beauty of the community, including the Depot Area, which the new tourist center, as well as the Mitchell Museum, is located in.

The museum, according to Katie Gibson, tourism director, has been in concept since 2009, when the city purchased the building from its previous owners.

“I was on board with the idea. I loved the idea of Boonville having a museum, so it’s been nice to be part of the concept, and see the progression as the building has come along and see it the last two years and the hands-on part of helping it to come to fruition,” stated Gibson.

Gibson believes the museum will grow as residents donate or lend items to the tourism center for display. She also claims they will rotate items in and out to make it interesting and different on each trip.

Gibson stated that any residents who have any artifacts they’d like to submit to the museum can contact the museum at (660) 882-3967, or visit the tourism center at 100 East Spring street, to pick up a question-and-answer form regarding the collection policy.

The museum is open from 8:30 to 4 o’clock on weekdays, and 10 to 2 on weekends.


Article contributed by: Garrett Fuller