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Downing House Museum

311 S. Main St.
Memphis  Missouri  63555
United States
(660) 465-2275

Midwest Living Review

Hannah Kiddoo
This intriguing museum complex is full of war artifacts, unique antiques and historical exhibits.

The Downing House Museum holds an impressive assortment of unique treasures, including Civil War relics, a vintage barbershop display and a musical sewing machine. The 1858 home housing the museum offers quite a history of its own: Civil War soldiers once rode horses through the halls and kept prisoners of war in these rooms.

The volunteer-run museum is far from fancy but succeeds thanks to a strong emphasis on unusual historic artifacts and exhibits. For instance, the living room portion pays tribute to “Missouri Giantess” Ella Ewing, an 8-foot, 4-inch-tall local resident who toured the nation between 1892 and 1910 as the world’s tallest woman. Ella was a regular guest of the Downing House when it operated as a hotel, and some of her preserved belongings are now on display here.

A 1920s Pheasant Airplane Company exhibit educates visitors about aviation history and includes one of only three known existing Pheasant Airplanes. The train depot and one-room schoolhouse next door to the museum are also worth exploring. Downing House is open for guided tours May through October; adult admission is $5, $3 for children age 10 and younger. 

Visited: 
August 1, 2012

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