Back to School: Anheuser Busch’s New Schoolhouse Museum

Tuesday April 28, 2015

ABmuseum-13History class is back in session at the old 1868 Lyon School, so to speak. The history lessons presented are those of St. Louis’ iconic brewery, Anheuser Busch – taught daily at the new Anheuser Busch Old Schoolhouse Museum.

The Old Schoolhouse was originally built in 1868 and is one of three historic landmark buildings on the Anheuser Busch brewery complex. A status shared with the Clydesdale Stables and Brewhouse. The school was named in honor of the Civil War general Nathaniel Lyon who was the commander of Union forces in Missouri. At the time of its opening the school served St Louis children who lived in the city’s southern and western areas. It also schooled the children of Adolphus Busch, including August A. Busch, Sr., who would later use his old schoolhouse as executive offices for the brewery. The Schoolhouse continued as the brewery’s main administrative building until 1982.

Tracy Lauer, manager of archives at Anheuser Busch, explained how the Old Schoolhouse has been transformed into a modern museum that houses nearly 400 never before seen artifacts and materials from the company’s extensive historic collections.

“This new experience takes a deep look at more than 160 years of brewing history in St. Louis and beyond,” said Lauer. “ We’re sharing some of our favorite archival pieces from our collections that will bring to life key periods in brewing history such as the birth of St. Louis brewing, Prohibition and modern day developments in brewing technology and marketing – all in the setting of a national landmark.”

On display is the time clock employees used to “punch-in” from the 1910s to the 1980s and various art pieces as the reverse painting on glass sign featuring a Prohibition era-product, “ Grape Bouquet”. Other favorites exhibited are the neon-lit registered trademark symbol that was part of the Budweiser neon sign that topped the Bevo bottling plant and the original speech August A. Busch, Jr. made on April 7, 1933 – the repeal of Prohibition – to a crowd that gathered outside the Bevo bottling building.

One of the museum’s first floor rooms is dedicated to Anheuser-Busch’s connection with sports sponsorships, which highlights the St. Louis Baseball Cardinals. Another room has been kept as a schoolroom, with tables set with tasting glasses for the brewery’s new Beer School. Of course, all good tourists of age are rewarded at the schoolhouse with a sample of Budweiser, poured and served from a vintage wood bar.

Anheuser Busch has been inviting the public into the brewery since the 19th century, making it one of the oldest, most successful tours in the city. Old Schoolhouse adds to its tradition as the latest that allow guests to consider in the brewery’s tour options. Options that that now include the Brew House Tour and Beer School options that provides guests 21-plus an opportunity to sip and savor St. Louis’ historic brew from a commemorative glass. The Schoolhouse is a part of the Brew House and Beer School tour packages and is a five-dollar add-on to the brewery’s complimentary or Day Fresh tours. For more information click on www.budweisertours.com.

Guest Blogger Suzanne Corbett contributed to this blog.

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