Historic Bethel the Recipient of Missouri Humanities Grant

The Missouri Humanities Council (MHC) has awarded a grant of $10,000 to the Historic Bethel German Colony in support of the project, “Stories of Bethel: Engaging the Next Generation to Learn and Share Our Unique History.” The MHC is the only state-wide agency in Missouri devoted exclusively to humanities education for citizens of all ages. It has served as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities since 1971.

Starting in the 1970’s and up until the turn of the century, Bethel had an active group of residents who were the driving force behind annual festivals and events, and they had a keen interest in the town’s history. Through their efforts, many of the original Colony buildings were added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Today, members of the Historic Bethel German Colony continue working to preserve the town’s historical buildings and bring visitors to the community. Colony Board Member Anna Swartzentruber will serve as the Project Director for “Stories of Bethel” and shares, “Through receiving the MHC grant, we hope to engage more of the community, including young people, to become active participants in the preservation and retelling of the unique founding and history of Bethel. This in turn provides a richer experience for visitors to the area during tours, special events, and as a resource for schools and organizations.”

The project goals include recruiting and training storytellers who could give tours and presentations to visitors, and creating a comprehensive audio-visual presentation of the history of Bethel.

“Whether you’re a Colony descendant or long-time resident of Bethel with an interest in seeing its history preserved, we hope you’ll consider getting involved in this project,” invites Swartzentruber. “You’re welcome to contact any Colony Board member, visit historicbethel.org for more info, or stop by the Fest Hall.”

For more information about the grants program of the Missouri Humanities Council, call 314-781-9660 or 800-357-0909 or write to the MHC, 415 S 18th Street, Suite 100, St. Louis, MO 63103-2269.

The Historic Bethel German Colony is sponsoring this program in partnership with the Missouri Humanities and with support from the Missouri Humanities Trust Fund.