Library picture

Executive Director Rebecca Gordon and Director of Communications Katherine Reed are pictured in the Library

With Missouri’s bicentennial arriving in 2021, the Friends of the Missouri Governor’s Mansion is working to provide a fresh, comprehensive, and educational experience for both this year and the next.

The organization preserves the Mansion’s history through stewardship of the home’s interior, its historical collection, and educational programs. According to Director of Communications, Katherine Reed, their mission is to maintain the mansion and its legacy for the people of Missouri as well as for its future.

“The Friends of the Missouri Governor’s Mansion is the statewide non-profit, non-partisan organization that is dedicated to Mansion preservation,” Reed said. “We preserve the history of the mansion through education programs with our tours and then we also are responsible for the preservation of any historic relics in the mansion such as the artwork, the furniture, rugs, drapery, and so on.”

The organization’s ultimate goal for this year is to prepare for state’s bicentennial along with the mansion’s 150th anniversary in 2021. Built in 1871, the mansion was occupied by Governor Brown and his family the following year. With that in mind, the Friends of the Missouri Governor’s Mansion is already working on promoting several events spotlighting its past.

“This year we’re really dedicated to showing how Missouri and its history helped shape the mansion and the first families that lived in it,” Reed said. “We have a series of events that we do throughout the year and each of those events, such as Manners at the Mansion, brunch with the First Lady, and candlelight tours are going be showcasing that history and highlighting the bicentennial.

 In addition to these events, the group is working alongside with First Lady Teresa Parson to create a cookbook summarizing all the recipes that have been used within the mansion.

“We’re also working on a cookbook with First Lady Teresa Parson and her staff over at the Mansion and its going to be a collection of recipes from the Mansion - most beloved recipes there - and then also from around the state of Missouri.” Reed said. “That will really tell a culinary history of Missouri. We’ve been collecting recipes through tourism, state parks, and entities such as that. What we’re doing is we’re mixing in different pieces of history with those recipes and really highlighting the story of Missouri through food.”

The book will go on sale in October of 2020 with pre-sales beginning in May. However, to go along with the publication of their new cookbook, the Friends of the Missouri Governor’s Mansion will continue the tradition of creating a new Christmas keepsake for the public.

“We really wanted to find a way to make it more accessible to the public and more of a relic that people could really look forward to getting each year. We’ve partnered with a company that does the ornaments for the White House in Washington D.C., so they are helping design a keepsake for this year. Next year we’ll be doing one highlighting the bicentennial,” Reed said. “Our goal is to pre-sell as many of those books and ornaments that is possible and any funds generated from those sales will go back into mansion preservation.”

However, Reed continued expressing that while she’s excited for what they have planned for the year, she’s most enthusiastic for the cookbook. According to the Director of Communications, it was a “labor of love” and was exciting to see the work the kitchen staff put into making the meals for every event. Reed and company hope to continue their work as it relates to Missouri and its bicentennial.

The Friends of the Missouri Governor’s Mansion welcomes over 50,000 visitors a year to the mansion and will continue to do so as the bicentennial and the anniversary of the mansion comes closer. As those who operate to maintain the mansion’s history, the organization sees its overall mission to educate the public on the enduring legacy of the building.

“I think its our mission and our goal to educate people on what we do at the Friends of the Missouri Governor’s Mansion. We’re not just the tour group, we also raise funds so that we can preserve the mansion, and I think it’s important for people to understand we have this historic gem in our city,” Reed said. “We are so blessed to have it here in Jefferson City and its our job to make sure it remains the people’s house. Its something statewide that people can enjoy.”