Belk joins Missouri Southern as Community Historian

Brad Belk, longtime director of Joplin Historical & Mineral Museums Inc., has accepted a new position at Missouri Southern as community historian.

Belk will research, write and edit books and scholarly articles, and will deliver lectures and presentations to schools, organizations and businesses. He will serve as a university and community resource on regional history and historic preservation.

Belk has worked for 30 years as a museum director and practicing public historian. He has a vast resume, having served as an author, educator, guest speaker, archivist, historian, exhibit designer, conservator, tour guide, historical film and documentary consultant, writer, director and producer.

Belk is a past recipient of the 2006 Missouri Governor’s Humanities Award, the 2012 Missouri Southern State University’s Lion-Hearted Award, and was recognized in 2014 by the Ingram’s Kansas City business journal as “50 People You Should Know in Missouri.” In 2016, Belk was awarded a full Paul Harris Fellow for his research and writing of the “100 Year Story of the Joplin Rotary Club.”

He has authored seven books and co-authored four more. His books range from the 100 year corporate history of The Empire District Electric Company and the story of the Joplin Ronald McDonald House to capturing the 75-year history of Missouri Southern State University. He has written columns for The Joplin Globe and JMag and has consulted on more than 25 historical films and documentaries.

“We’re extremely excited Brad has joined the university,” said Dr. Brad Hodson, executive vice president at Missouri Southern State University. “We’ve considered Brad a member of the Lion family for a long time, as he has served as a historical resource for the university for many years. We know he will be a tremendous asset to this university as well as the region.”

 “I am honored to serve the university and am looking forward to the opportunity to continue to preserve the history of our university, city and region,” Belk said.

Belk will work at Missouri Southern as he continues his efforts to preserve and tell the story of Joplin and the historic residential district called Murphysburg.

He graduated from the University of Missouri (Columbia) in 1978 with a B.A. in American History and a minor in Art History. He attended the University of Kansas, studying museum marketing and Public Relations (2000) and later graduate studies in American and Russian history at Pittsburg State University (1979-1982), well as graduate studies in Museum Science at the University of Oklahoma (1990-1991).