Hear a Good Story

These places might have one for you.

Southeast Missouri Genealogy Research Rooms and Societies: Do some research on the stories of your ancestors or of the Southeast Missouri region at the River Heritage Museum research room in Cape Girardeau, the Kirby Genealogy Room at the Cape Girardeau Public Library or the Perry County Genealogical Research Library and Archive Center in Perryville, Missouri. Or, join the Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Dunklin, Mississippi, Perry or Stoddard county genealogical societies.

Bollinger Mill State Historic Site in Burfordville, Missouri: Hear Halloween stories while sitting around a bonfire each October, with cookies and cider afterwards.

Downtown Ste. Genevieve, Missouri: Take a living-history tour to learn about the history of the oldest European settlement in Missouri, founded around 1740 by French Canadian settlers. The historic tour passport will get you into four buildings that date from 1790 to 1808, the Felix Vallé State Historic Site and the Ste. Genevieve museum.

Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center, Feb. 22, 2019: Grab your blanket; from 6 to 7:30 p.m., the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center hosts “Around the Fire with Lewis & Clark.” The stories will detail the explorers’ westward travels, with hot beverages and a fire provided for listeners. The program is free.

Unbound Book Festival in Columbia, Missouri, April 18 to 20, 2019: This fourth annual, free event hosted at the University of Missouri and Stephens College, promotes literacy by bringing internationally-acclaimed writers to mid-Missouri. This year’s keynote speaker is novelist, short storyist and children’s book author George Saunders.

St. Louis Storytelling Festival, April 25 to May 4, 2019: The largest free storytelling festival in the world is celebrating its 40th year by bringing 10 professional storytellers to St. Louis. Don’t miss the stories they tell across the city during this event, or the activities you can participate in throughout the week and a half of festivities.

Your grandma’s or mom’s house: Don’t overlook the stories of your own family, and especially not the women’s stories that often don’t get included in history books. Ask your family’s women to tell you about their life experiences and stories about yourself.

Local Assisted Living and Senior Centers: Everyone has a story to tell, but not everyone has a listening ear to tell it to. Head to a local assisted living center or senior center to sit, ask and listen.

Any coffee shop or diner that sells bottomless coffee for $1.50 or less: Order a cup of joe and pull up a chair to listen to the stories swapped about local lore by the old-timers. Go in the mornings before 8 a.m. if you like tall tales; just make sure you don’t sit in someone else’s regular seat.