This three-story home might look unremarkable from the outside, but inside it holds a wealth of St. Louis history. The Eugene Field House & St. Louis Toy Museum opened in 1936 and has since been named a National Historic Landmark, because it once housed not one, but two men important to American history.
The Building: A line of 12 rowhouses were built here, in 1845, and Roswell Field and his family lived there for 14 years, from 1850 until 1864. Today, it's the last of the row left standing, and it's been lovingly restored both inside and out to appear much as it did in the late 19th century.
The Home: Decorated in period furnishings, including many that belonged to the Field family, the first floor holds an era-specific double-parlor entertaining space. The second features the master bedroom.
Dred Scott: The second floor also holds Roswell Field's study, which doubles as an exhibit on the landmark case of Dred Scott, a slave seeking freedom for whom Roswell acted as attorney as the case made its way to the Supreme Court.
The Toys: Eugene Field, Roswell's son, made a name for himself in the literary world, first as a humor writer for daily newspapers, then as a children's poet. Most people will probably know him for penning, among many, "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod." He was also an avid toy collector. The third floor displays a rotating collection of toys dating back to the 1780s, plus two and a half centuries' worth of books.
Past Exhibit: Over 200 "Liberty of London" dolls from the 1950s, which include famous people from politics, literature, and science.
On loan from the Museum of Leonardo Da Vinci in Florence, the Da Vinci Machines exhibit debuts in North America with more than 60 interactive models based on the polymath's original 500-year-old concepts. Peruse replicas of major inventions, each handcrafted by three generations of Florentine artisans, including the air screw, an early ancestor to the both the helicopter and the propeller beanie, and learn the secrets behind the mechanical lion, a robotic lion given as a gift to the king of France. Visitors young and old are fully encouraged to touch the war machines, flying machines, and nautical and hydraulic devices for insight into their functionality, and accompanying explanatory notes, illustrative panels, and computer programs help modern minds glean further understanding into Da Vinci's wide-reaching genius and favorite emoticons.