Today the Kansas City Museum remains a leading institution with the historical collection, capacity, and mission to share the rich multicultural history and stories of Kansas City and its people. Nearly 80 years after it opened to the public, the Museum remains a general history museum that boasts holdings of more than 100,000 historical artifacts and archival materials that document, interpret, and preserve Kansas City’s local and regional history. 

Photo courtesy of David Remley Photography

The Museum and its collection are irreplaceable civic assets, and the restoration and renovation of the Museum now is critical to its future. Thriving major cities across the country provide museums that share the histories of their cities (e.g. Chicago History Museum, Museum of the City of New York, San Francisco Museum and Historical Society, Albuquerque Museum, El Paseo Museum of History). In addition, with a focus on inclusiveness and equity, the Kansas City Museum has the capacity to work with and support the resilient and vibrant communities it serves.  

The restored and renovated Kansas City Museum will provide the opportunity to present and showcase the materials from this vast and stellar collection through history- and humanities-based experiences including exhibitions, media and interactives, education and public programs, special events, and site-specific, site-responsive contemporary installations.

Photo courtesy of Nick Vedros

Through a multidisciplinary approach—blending history, architecture, and art—the Kansas City Museum will create a welcoming and respectful educational and civic environment where diverse individuals and communities come together to understand and appreciate Kansas City’s past, present, and future. 

Content will be rich in its interpretation of the City’s past, and relevant and responsive to contemporary interests, issues, and viewpoints.  The Museum will embrace arts and culture as an important interpretive tool for learning about history.  Academic research will be a high priority with quality access to collections, Museum staff, historians, educators, artists, and other scholars. Moreover, the Museum will be designated as the City’s “residence” to accommodate official signature events and gatherings.

From left to right, project team members: Kansas City Museum Foundation Board Member, Artist, and Curator Sonié Joi Thompson-Ruffin; Historian and Archivist Geri Sanders; and Historian and Curator Dr. Gene T. Chávez
Photo by Jeff Evrard Photography

In addition to exhibitions, the Kansas City Museum will offer a robust schedule of education and public programs and special events that are currently under development using a restorative practices methodology.  The Museum has identified and will prioritize the following audiences:  Children/Families and Students/Teachers, Adults, Creative Community, and Tourists.   

The Kansas City Museum aims to create narrative-driven and dialogue-driven educational experiences that inspire people to learn together and engage in conversations. At the Museum, visitors will learn about the history of their City as well as their own personal histories, and they will be encouraged to become more involved in their communities. 

Photo courtesy of Charlie Porter

A focus for the Museum will be positive, systemic youth development through opportunities for youth to work in collaboration with Museum leadership staff and the community to create public programs and experiences for the Museum.  This level of youth engagement will increase access to meaningful educational opportunities and build self-confidence in a supportive and dynamic learning environment. 

Like it did in its heyday, the Museum aims to serve thousands of school children in elementary and high school annually with a focus on offering school field trips and workshops for teens. In addition to schools, the Kansas City Museum will collaborate with other museums, cultural institutions, neighborhoods, organizations, businesses, and individuals to develop and organize exhibitions, programs, events, and experiences. 

Photo by Brad Finch

By serving as a portal into Kansas City, the Museum will showcase its partners and drive visitors to other attractions, destinations, and activities in Kansas City where they can learn more. This will attract more visitors to the region and add more incentives for visitors to come to Kansas City.  As an anchor institution, the Kansas City Museum will connect to the social cohesion and economic prosperity that contributes to a thriving and unified community. 

Photo courtesy of Bruce Matthews