Joplin Museum Complex


At this museum complex, you can learn a whole lot about Joplin, from its 1873 founding as a mining town to its connection with Bonnie and Clyde to its Spook Light---a mysterious light that appears in the night sky just outside town. Indeed, the museum is a great first stop if you’re planning to investigate the light yourself. An exhibit in the Dorthea B. Hoover Museum includes photos of and stories about the phenomenon, and you can pick up a brochure with directions to the Devil’s Promenade viewing area. In early April of 1933, Bonnie, Clyde, and the rest of the Barrow Gang hunkered down in Joplin for a couple of weeks. An exhibit here illustrates their stay, which ended in a dramatic getaway shootout and the death of two policemen. You’ll even see some costume jewelry that was left behind in the apartment the gang rented over a garage at 34th Street and Oak Ridge Drive. (Although the property is a private residence, only viewable from the street, it’s a National Historic Landmark and one of the only places still standing with intimate ties to the notorious couple’s crime spree.) Other Hoover museum highlights include Route 66 memorabilia and Victorian-era furnishings, textiles, toys, and other everyday items. There’s also an enormous collection of cookie cutters. And be on the lookout for Percy, a rescued cat who’s more than just the museum’s mascot---he’s essentially on staff! On the first floor of the Everett J. Ritchie Tri-State Mineral Museum, you’ll begin your geological exploration in a cavern-like setting that immerses you in the mining experience. Elsewhere, you’ll learn about the region’s zinc- and lead-mining history and techniques through displays that feature tools and equipment. But there was far more than just zinc and lead in the area’s rich earth. The minerals on display here include calcite, quartz, dolomite, and iron pyrite (a.k.a. fool’s gold)---among others. They’re all part of one of the nation’s oldest mineral collections, started in 1931 with many specimens donated by locals.


504 South Schifferdecker Ave.
Joplin, MO 64801


37.08724000, -94.54888500

Open Hours

Tues. 10--7, Wed.--Sat. 10--5
Visit Website
(417) 623-1180

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