Last updated: 5/10/2011
Fayette, Missouri
Central Methodist University, T. Berry Smith Hall
Fayette, MO 65248


The hours vary slightly from one semester to the next. Normally it is open 6 hours per week during the academic year. Summer tours are available by arrangement with the curator.


no charge


Dr. Dan Elliott, Curator
phone: 660-248-6370

Brimming with the worlds of archeology, cultural anthropology, biology, geology, and paleontology, The Stephens Museum is one of Central’s most prized possessions and the third oldest museum in the state. The Museum originated in 1885 when Central College Curator Lawrence V. (Lon) Stephens gave $5,000 to buy a brick residence on the edge of the college, in which the museum was originally housed.

The historical component of the museum includes memorabilia and artifacts from World War I, African tribes, Native American tribes, and the Methodist heritage. However, the museum is most noted for its artifacts of the Civil War and 19th Century life.

The natural history room teems with “life” of a different kind. Natural history objects and animal specimens include a bobcat, a snowy owl, a nine-banded armadillo, a small alligator, fossils, minerals, shells, primate skulls, and numerous large bones of Ice Age mammals. However, the museum is best known for its bird collection, more than 300 avian species.

Perhaps the most exciting donation for The Stephens Museum is a collection of mammals being donated by veterinarian Dr. Jack Stephens (no connection) and his wife, Vicki. Their friendship with Curator Bruce Addison and wife Jan facilitated the bequest. Over six years, Central Methodist University will receive over one hundred specimens of wild animals from all over the world. The first group that arrived in December 2001 included a full body musk ox, two Alaskan wolves, a mountain goat; and head and shoulder mounts of African hoofed mammals. The display, being arranged in a new wing of the museum, is currently in the third year of donations.

Artifact Collections

Birds, mammals, Native America, Native African, "pioneer" tools, and some United Methodist of Missouri memorabila

Research Collections

birds and mammals

Educational Programs

No formal programs


The museum is owned and controlled by the Trustees of Central Methodist University

Museum Events
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Western Museums Association’s (WMA) 2023 Annual Meeting

October 5 - 8, 2023

Pasedena, California

New England Museum Association 2023 Conference

November 8 - 10, 2023

Portland, Maine

Small Museum Association 2023 Conference

February 19 - 21, 2024

Richmond, Virginia

2024 California Association of Museums Conference Announced

March 10 - 14, 2024

Location TBD



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