Jolly Flatboatmen
Jolly Flatboatmen, George Caleb Bingham

On Display at the Harry S. Truman Library
March 10 – September 8, 2011

Visiting the Exhibit


The formative years for the state of Missouri coincide almost exactly with the time George Caleb Bingham spent in the state.  It was a time when Missouri stood at the crossroads of the nation, the funnel through which trade and settlement moved in its relentless march to the West.  Bingham witnessed it all, from the fur traders on the rivers to the lonely farmsteads, and from the tragedy and violence of Civil War to the growth of great cities. 

His genre paintings captured visions of life on the Missouri frontier, the growth of democratic institutions, and the tragedy of war.  His portraits documented the emergence of a more refined social stratum in the developing state.  This exhibition uses Bingham’s visual narrative to highlight the story of Missouri’s formative years.

Online Exhibit

The Nation's Crossroads | Settling the Frontier | The People Speak | Civilizing the Frontier | Brother Against Brother | A Vast New Nation