MO Heritage Workshop Prompts Citizens to Reevaluate Heritage Assets

Dr. Arthur Mehrhoff explains how “Cultivating our Heritage” can benefit Excelsior Springs (photo S Jason Cole).

On April 15, 2023, the Excelsior Springs community in Missouri hosted a Cultural Heritage Workshop sponsored by Missouri Humanities. The workshop featured group discussions, hands-on activities, and a two-part presentation by Dr. Arthur Mehrhoff on “Place and Placemaking.”

Dr. Mehrhoff enjoyed the lively discussions with Excelsior Springs citizens (photo S Jason Cole).

Dr. Mehrhoff, Ph.D. is an expert in community design with extensive experience in downtown planning and revitalization. He received an M.A. in Urban Affairs from Washington University in Saint Louis and a Ph.D. in American Studies, with an emphasis on material culture, from Saint Louis University. Dr. Mehrhoff worked for over a decade in St. Louis, Missouri, where he was involved in Main Street and downtown planning. He then spent fifteen years in Minnesota, where he was recognized for his community design work with the award-winning Minnesota Design Team, earning a Presidential Citation from the Minnesota chapter of the American Institute of Architects. He served as the Academic Coordinator for the Museum of Art & Archaeology at the University of Missouri for a decade, until his retirement.

During the workshop, attendees had the opportunity to participate in group discussions on the importance of cultural heritage and the role of community engagement in preserving it. They also engaged in applied activities that focused on the concept of placemaking and how it can enhance a community’s identity and sense of place. Dr. Mehrohoff encouraged participants to consider the importance of tourism and the ways the community could utilize the natural springs in ways other than consumption/drinking. He provided a wealth of information about alternative ways the community could capitalize on our rich heritage of water.

Citizens were presented with some novel perspectives on how to address our resources (photo S Jason Cole).

In the afternoon, attendees were given a tour of the Hall of Waters Hall of Springs, the Hall of Waters Museum, and the historic bathhouse. Councilwoman Sonya Morgan, who led the tour, presented a PowerPoint presentation on Excelsior Springs’ cultural sites due to inclement weather.
The workshop was an excellent opportunity for community members to come together and learn about the importance of cultural heritage and placemaking in their community. Dr. Mehrhoff’s presentation and the hands-on activities provided attendees with valuable insights and tools to engage in preserving and enhancing their community’s cultural heritage. To learn more about Dr. Mehrhoff’s Water Links Library and view the slide presentation, visit friendsofthewells.com.


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