BEST INTERACTIVE ART
99x at Springfield Art Museum
We love a good party, and 99x at Springfield Art Museum impresses us every time. A group of local artists is each asked to create a living art tableau representing a theme. Last September’s party, 99x Cirque Americana, had artists creating thoughtful, interesting and beautiful takes on the strong man, acrobats, knife-throwers and more. Guests view and often interact with the tableaus, putting them right in the middle of the art. Oh and there is also food, drinks, music and an all-around fun and creatively inspiring atmosphere. Other past themes have included Gilded Coast Glamour, Bohemian Belle and Box of Ghosts. Funds raised at 99x benefit Springfield Art Museum’s Conservation & Preservation Fund, so the priceless art we all enjoy at the museum can stay in tip-top shape.
BEST ACTIVITY THAT KIND OF SCARES US
The new thing to do with your Friday night is hurl a hatchet at a target—and sometimes there’s alcohol involved. It’s a fun energy-releasing night out with friends, but we confess we’re a little scared of the flying blades. Regardless of your level of bravery, though, the activity has definitely exploded. In just the past year, at least four axe-throwing joints have opened up shop in southwest Missouri. There’s TommyHawks and Craft Axe Throwing in Springfield. Branson has The Axe Game, and Joplin has Main Street Axe Company.
BEST SOON-TO-OPEN EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE
History Museum on the Square
History Museum on the Square has been open since 1976, but this year it gets a major facelift in the form of a $12 million, 18,000-square-foot expansion. The expansion is a project 10 years in the making, and we are just dying to see the museum’s shiny new interactive digs! The new space includes new permanent exhibits and a snazzy new gallery for traveling exhibits and special events. The Native Crossroads at Spring exhibit is dedicated to the area’s Native American history, including passage of the Trail of Tears through Springfield. Trains, Trolleys and Transportation focuses on children’s education and includes a huge Frisco train emerging from the wall and a trolley time machine. Other exhibits include Pioneers and Founders of the Crossroads, The Civil War in Springfield, Wild Bill Hickok and the American West (which includes an immersive shootout chamber that puts you right there on the square with Wild Bill) and the already popular Birthplace of Route 66.