The Missouri Historical Society (MHS), which operates the Missouri History Museum, the Library & Research Center and the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum, presents its new brand identity and brand awareness campaign. This flagship St. Louis cultural institution has already been transforming itself over the past few years with a renewed emphasis on local history, its world-renowned collection and on diversity and inclusion.
Founded as the Missouri Historical Society in 1866, the organization has been doing business as the Missouri History Museum for more than a decade. With the addition of the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum (opening Nov. 3) it is necessary to rebrand all three of MHS’s physical locations in a family of Missouri Historical Society brands. The new contemporary look, “Find Yourself Here” tagline and brand architecture accurately reflect the modern and dynamic institution that the Missouri Historical Society is today.
The Missouri Historical Society worked with St. Louis company UPBrand Collaborative to create individual brand identities that reflect each separate location – the Missouri History Museum, the Library & Research Center and Soldiers Memorial – while also tying them all together in one brand family. The end result is a contemporary design with one unifying icon to tie them all together. Different jewel tone color palettes distinguish the entities from each other and express their vibrancy.
“History isn’t stodgy,” said Leigh Walters, assistant director of communications. “It’s very much alive and part of your daily life. We needed a look that feels young, fresh and inviting.”
The Missouri Historical Society also introduces its new tagline: Find Yourself Here. The tagline reflects how the institution strives to collect, preserve and share the stories of everyone who calls the St. Louis region home. Members of the community are invited to find themselves in the collections, exhibits, programs, and publications.
During the discovery phase of the rebrand process, respondents indicated that they wanted to know more about the Missouri Historical Society and its entities as a whole. What does this institution do beyond exhibits and programs? Why is history relevant in the modern world? That response reinforced what MHS staff suspected: that because the institution had only ever advertised exhibits and programming – rather than the organization as a whole – the general public did not have a complete grasp on its contributions to the St. Louis community.
MHS worked with UPBrand Collaborative on its first-ever brand awareness campaign, which will run throughout 2018 and 2019. The advertising concept is designed to build an emotional connection to history, as well as raise overall awareness of the Missouri History Museum, the Library & Research Center and Soldiers Memorial.
“We truly want every St. Louisan to find themselves with the Missouri Historical Society,” said Dr. Frances Levine, president of the Missouri Historical Society. “We are the institution that tells your stories. We hope that by knowing us better, St. Louisans will be able to take full advantage of all of our resources.”
The campaign asks the viewer to find the history around them on a daily basis by layering and juxtaposing historical photography from the Missouri Historical Society Collections with contemporary live action footage and stills. The campaign utilizes both still and video mediums, including separate vignettes for each location:
“St. Louisans have a lot of civic pride, and so much of that is tied into this region’s unique history,” said Walters. “One of our goals with this campaign is to help people recognize that history around them in every day moments, and thus foster a better understanding of the relevance and significance of the work we do at each of the Missouri Historical Society’s locations.”
MHS also introduces an entirely new mohistory.org. The new website effectively positions all three locations with a user-friendly, mobile-first design. The digital collection search is easier to navigate and search, making the collection of artifacts more accessible to the public. Digital history content from MHS’s popular blog – historyhappenshere.org – is better integrated throughout the website. With many more entry points to this content from the main website, more people will be able to enjoy the wealth of original content related to the history of this region.
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