The Kansas City Museum is a collecting institution and boasts holdings of more than 100,000 historical artifacts and archival materials that document, interpret, and preserve Kansas City’s local and regional history.  The mission of the Kansas City Museum is to preserve, interpret, and celebrate Kansas City through collections, exhibitions, and bold programs that reflect the City’s evolution and spirit, and engage visitors in unfolding stories about Kansas City’s vibrant history, cultural heritage, and pride.  The vision of the Kansas City Museum is to be a hub of learning, creativity, and collaboration where individuals and communities innovate and inspire engagement and civic unity.  The Kansas City Museum property is being designed as a welcoming, inclusive, and responsive gathering place where visitors learn about the past, present, and future of the City.

What sets the Kansas City Museum apart from other institutions is its educational as well as civic purpose with a commitment to being the “Home of the Whole Story” where perspectives and experiences of individuals and communities that are often underrepresented and overlooked are acknowledged, honored, and elevated to tell more complete and accurate stories of the City’s complex history.  The Kansas City Museum believes that museums have the capacity to play a vital role in the equitable development of neighborhoods, parks, and public spaces, and can be catalysts for social justice and positive systemic change.  The Kansas City Museum endeavors to create a more just, inclusive, and unified City by creating exhibits, programs, and experiences that center on the often untold or under-told stories of individuals who have endured historical harms and exclusions. In this way, the Museum plays a part in significantly advancing the City’s growth, vitality, and creativity. 

To achieve its mission and vision, the Kansas City Museum is using a restorative practices methodology to produce relevant and responsive exhibit and program content through multicultural, intergenerational, and multidisciplinary experiences.  Restorative practices is an emerging social science that studies how to build healthy, sustainable communities and how address conflict and prevent wrongdoing by strengthening relationships between individuals as well creating social connections within communities.  Often used in social work and some innovative judicial systems and schools, restorative practices intentionally connects people.  It validates all perspectives, expressions, and experiences to repair trust and gain unity among individuals and communities who have been harmed.  Restorative practices requires working with (not to or for) communities to co-create and negotiate truth.

Restorative practices values and prioritizes healthy and equitable relationships—how to form, maintain, and restore them after conflict or damage has been done.  Restorative practices recognizes that every individual story has meaning and is comprised of—and leads to—a multiplicity of voices and a shared experience that transcends the boundaries and borders that separate us.  This approach often stands in contrast to traditional ways of telling history, wherein a limited, often biased point of view drives the narrative.

Using restorative practices in the museum field is groundbreaking, and the Kansas City Museum is working with the International Institute of Restorative Practices to embed a restorative ethos into its work culture and organizational practices including how the Museum writes content, forms strategic partnerships, and establishes collecting policies as well as how the Museum builds staff and governance capacity through workforce development and internship opportunities to diversify the museum field and cultivate the next generation of museum leaders. To learn more about how restorative practices is being used in the museum field, visit the Smithsonian’s Center for Restorative History: Center for Restorative History | National Museum of American History (

As the Kansas City Museum continues to design exhibit and program content and restore and renovate more buildings on the property, it is using the following guiding principles across the entire experience:

  • design for young people as a primary audience and ensure that content meets and advances standards for primary and secondary social studies as well as real world learning;
  • use a restorative practices approach;
  • make clear the relevance / correlation of the past to the present;
  • ensure diversity and representation;
  • foster a sense of belonging and shared humanity; and
  • inspire connection, communication, and community involvement.

Restorative practices has helped the Kansas City Museum stand firm in its conviction that “history is healing” if museums share the stories that are often intentionally hidden, disregarded, or erased from traditional history learning.

This article from the May-June 2021 issue of Museum shares more information about how the Kansas City Museum began using a restorative practices methodology in 2019 to create a history museum that centers learning, collaboration, and healing.

Click image above to read full article

Origin of Restore KC
Restore KC (#Restore KC) was launched in July 2020 as a series of virtual conversations and programs for Kansas Citians to connect, process, and heal during the global pandemic, economic crisis, and social awakening about the realities of systemic racism permeating every level of our existence

Restore KC was produced by Kansas City Museum in partnership with Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center, Black Archives of Mid-America, UMKC’s Center for Neighborhoods, UNESCO Creative City-KC, and African American Artists Collective. Programs from July 2020 through October 2021 (see below) explored how to restore health, trust, and hope while confronting trauma, disparities, and injustice. Programs were intended to identify creative, resourceful strategies to achieve a mutual understanding, strengthen relationships, repair harm, and embrace our shared humanity.

The Restore KC series was supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in 2020 and 2021. Its content was solely the responsibility of the Kansas City Museum.

Restore KC Programs from July 2020 – October 2021
Programs are also available as podcasts, click here to listen.

Thursday, July 2, 2020
Full Circle at Kansas City Museum
The first Restore KC program created a virtual community circle to learn about restorative practices and why the Kansas City Museum is embracing its core framework and strategies to advance a civic unity vision. The program was led by Lisa Middlebrook of Engage and Connect, LLC.
Click here to view recording

Helpful Resources:
What is Restorative Practices?
International Institute for Restorative Practices

Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Restorative Justice: Community Remembrance Project of Missouri
The Community Remembrance Project of Missouri (CRP-MO) is a community coalition that partners with the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) to memorialize victims of racial terror lynchings throughout history and foster meaningful dialogue about race and justice today.

This Restore KC program provided an opportunity to learn about the CRP-MO including its 2018 origins with the collection of soil at the location of the lynching of Levi Harrington, installation of the Levi Harrington memorial marker, and its vision to challenge racial injustice while advocating for equal treatment in the criminal justice system. The program was led by CRP Co-Liaisons Glenn North and Staci Pratt.
Click here to view recording

Helpful Resources:
Equal Justice Initiative
Lynching in America
Community Remembrance Project

Thursday, August 6, 2020
Embracing Creative Placemaking During Crisis & Reckoning
Creative Placemaking is a strategy and collaborative process that uses arts and cultural expression for meaningful resident-driven engagement and community development.

This Restore KC program provided an opportunity to learn about the field and practice of Creative Placemaking, and why it is essential to deploy now—during this pandemic and social reckoning—in our parks and public spaces where we can address complex community issues to create a deeper understanding of place and shared heritage.

This program was a conversation with Kansas City-based Artist and Interactive Arts Educator Michael Toombs and Design Trust for Public Space Executive Director Matthew Clarke.  The conversation was moderated by Dr. Jacob Wagner, Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Design and Co-Founder of the Center for Neighborhoods at the University of Kansas City-Missouri and Nia Richardson, Assistant to the Director for Small Business + Entrepreneurship at KC BizCare.
Click here to view recording

Helpful Resources:
The Toolkit for Health, Arts, Parks, and Equity
The Field Guide For Parks and Creative Placemaking

Friday, August 28, 2020
Music & Creativity as a Strategy for Resiliency & Growth
On October 31, 2017, the United Nations and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Creative City Network (UCCN) designated the City of Kansas City, Missouri as UCCN Member, making Kansas City the first and only City of Music in the United States. The UCCN was created in 2004 to promote global cooperation among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. The 246 cities which currently make up this network work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level.

This Restore KC program provided an opportunity to understand how the UCCN is making an impact now locally, nationally, and internationally to set new priorities for music and creativity as drivers of equitable investment and a viable economic development strategy, especially during this time of action, healing, and recovery.

This program was a conversation with Creative City KC, Inc. Executive Director Anita J. Dixon and Emmanuel Witzhum. The conversation was moderated by Dr. Jacob Wagner, Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Design and Co-Founder of the Center for Neighborhoods at the University of Kansas City-Missouri.
Click here to view recording

Helpful Resources:
Soundscape and City Remix Project

Thursday, September 17, 2020
“Breaking Bread” on the Path to Healing
During this time of social unrest, reckoning, and polarized political views, food can provide a bridge for unity. In this Restore KC program, Danielle Lehman, Founder of Open Belly Podcast, had a conversation with Chef Keeyoung Kim of Sura Eats, and explored how the tradition of sharing a meal together can help us find our common humanity, while enjoying great food!

Keeyoung Kim is bringing traditional Korean dishes to Kansas City in a modern and approachable way. His Instagram-worthy bowls are packed with flavor and fill your belly with warmth and comfort. But Keeyoung’s story doesn’t just end with his passion for food—he finds purpose in giving back to the community of Kansas City.
Click here to view recording

Helpful Resources:
Open Belly Podcast
Sura Eats

Sábado 19 de septiembre
Bienestar Mental y Emocional: En Español
En este programa Restaurar KC Xochitl Carrasquedo, MA/LLPC nos guiará en una conversación abierta sobre cómo la pandemia actual está afectando la salud mental de las personas. También nos compartirá algunas ideas que las personas pueden utilizar para mantener su bienestar mental en medio de la cuarentena y COVID-19 y proporcionará una lista de recursos /servicios disponibles para el público.

Para obtener más información, comuníquese con el Director de Programas y Eventos Paul Gutiérrez en o al 816.513.0726.
Oprima a qui para ver este programa


Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Day of the Dead Altars: Tradition & Significance
El Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead), is a Mexican holiday where families welcome home the souls of their deceased relatives for a brief reunion that includes food, drink, and celebration. A blend of Mesoamerican ritual, European religion and Spanish culture, the holiday is celebrated each year from October 31 – November 2. While October 31 is Halloween, November 1 is “el Dia de los innocents,” or the day of the children, and All Saints Day. November 2 is All Souls Day or the Day of the Dead.

This Restore KC program provided an opportunity to understand how families are celebrating this rich and colorful tradition during these uncertain times. Families shared the altars for their loved ones and talked about the tradition and significance of creating and displaying altars, especially during the pandemic. This program was a conversation with Jenny Mendez, Director of Cultural Arts at the Mattie Rhodes Art Center, and three community families who were building altars.
Click here to view recording

Helpful Resources:
Mattie Rhodes Art Center

Thursday, October 29, 2020
The Evolution of Day of the Dead: A Conversation with Cesáreo Moreno Join us for a virtual Day of the Dead program about how museums are modifying their Day of the Dead celebrations due to COVID-19. Cesáreo Moreno, Visual Arts Director/Chief Curator at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, and Paul Gutiérrez, Director of Programs & Events at the Kansas City Museum, explained how they’ve changed programming this year at each of their institutions, and Mr. Moreno shared how the United States has evolved its perspective on celebrating Day of the Dead.
Click here to view recording

Helpful Resources:
National Museum of Mexican Art

Part One: Friday, October 30, 2020
Part Two: Friday, November 6, 2020

Restoring Our Humanity: Re-humanizing Ourselves with Mindfulness
Part One: Click here to view recording
Part Two: Click here to view recording  

In this two-part series, mindfulness teachers Tracy Ochester, PsyD and Sydney Spears, Ph.D., of Midwest Alliance for Mindfulness held an interracial conversation exploring how practicing mindfulness and compassion can support dismantling racialized trauma and help prepare us for sustainable racial justice work. 

  • Part One explored how the practices and attitudes of mindfulness can be foundational to the inner work of racial healing and justice; and
  • Part Two explored the relevance of mindfulness to outer equity work. (Brief sample practices will also be offered.)

Helpful Resources:
Midwest Alliance for Mindfulness

Thursday, November 12, 2020
Restoring Style during Unfashionable Times
Click here to view recording

The West 18th Street Fashion Show is dedicated to restoring garment making to a sustainable practice, and they are invested in advocating for style as an individual medium. Moving away from fast fashion and creating a platform for experimentation creates a public and private space for inclusive conversations about material, shape, and color with the body as a foundation. The Show’s designers focus on a low carbon footprint out of necessity and awareness, and work to refresh the idea of clothes as something sacred and maintainable.

In this Restore KC program, West 18th Street Fashion Show’s Senior Artistic Director Peregrine Honig had a conversation with artists Craig Rohner of NOWOE, Van Shawn Branch of Kayie, and Dionne Holt of Renee LaRouge about the creation of Summer In Hindsight—the full length movie created during the 2020 pandemic—and how they had to reimagine their thinking and designs.

Helpful Resources:
West 18th Street Fashion Show

Tuesday, December 15, 2020
Shining the Light on Human Trafficking in Our City
Click here to view recording

Human trafficking is a human rights violation, and it is the second largest and fastest growing crime in the world. It dehumanizes and enslaves women, children, and men caught in the vicious cycle of discrimination, poverty, and addiction. More than 100,000 children are trafficked every year in the United States, and Missouri ranks seventh in nation with the highest rates of human trafficking.

To confront this growing crisis in Kansas City, architect and glass artist Hasna Sal created the permanent art installation Into The Light: A Memorial for Victims of Human Trafficking in Lykins Square Park in the Historic Northeast. This installation is the first in a series of interventions to shine light on the perpetrators, violence, injustice, and trauma of human trafficking; to reveal a largely unacknowledged crime in our city; and to illuminate the healing, hope, and redemption of the survivors.

This Restore KC program explored human trafficking in Kansas City, and discussed the origins and broader goals of Into the Light. This program was a conversation with artist Hasna Sal, Founder of Veronica’s Voice Kristy Childs, Mayor Quinton Lucas, Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation Commissioner Scott Wagner, and Executive Director of Lykins Neighborhood Association Gregg Lombardi.

Helpful Resources:
Veronica’s Voice
Into The Light: Unveiling Event

Thursday, January 28, 2021
PART 2: Shining the Light on Human Trafficking in Our City
Click here to view recording

Human trafficking is a human rights violation, and it is the second largest and fastest growing crime in the world. It dehumanizes and enslaves women, children, and men caught in the vicious cycle of discrimination, poverty, and addiction. More than 100,000 children are trafficked every year in the United States, and Missouri ranks seventh in nation with the highest rates of human trafficking.

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, as decreed by presidential proclamation, and February 1, 2021 is National Freedom Day.

This program was a conversation with artist Hasna Sal and three survivors: Robyn Potter, Lucy Bloom, and Kristen Powell. They shared their remarkable stories of poverty, abuse, addiction, and trafficking. Each story is different but connected through vulnerability and coercion.

March 2021
Arts As Mentorship RSA Live!
As part of the Restore KC series, we have partnered with Arts As Mentorship’s RSA Live! sessions. Art as Mentorship empowers young people of all backgrounds to raise their voice using songwriting and other artistic expressions as a vehicle to instill self-confidence, discipline and entrepreneurial skills.

These sessions lean into a restorative justice theme.
View March 2, 2021 session here
View March 30, 2021 session here

Virtual concert with Enrique Chi & Juan Carlos Chaurand
of Making Movies
Click here to view recording

Virtual guitar recital with New York/Argentine composer Carlos Pavan
Click here to view recording

Saturday, March 20, 2021
Lifting Our Spirits: One Billboard at a Time
Click here to view recording

My Affirmation Project is local KC artist Nicole’s art practice, healing process, and heart for the world. It manifests as anonymous public art pieces, experiences, and intimate take-a-ways. There have been over 600 affirmation billboards posted globally since June 2019 that have been viewed by over 60 million humans. 20,000 people received anonymous “Affirmation Postcards” in 2020, each individually addressed by hand.

My Affirmation Project has partnered with global brands such as Hallmark, Rareform, Outfront Media, Lamar Advertising, and Ballyhoo Media to embed messages of compassion into their corporate advertising. The project has been featured on The Today Show, NPR, The Washington Post, Inside Edition, and Yahoo. Nicole was awarded a Bronze OBIE, a lifetime achievement award in advertising, in the summer of 2020 for her work with the billboards. 

This Restore KC programs featured a presentation followed by a conversation with Nicole Leth, Kansas City artist and writer, about how one billboard led to more than 600 billboards around the world and the importance of compassion.

Helpful Resources:
My Affirmation Project

Wednesday, April 7, 2021
1821 Missouri and Mexico’s Bicentennials–South and North Expansion
Click here to view recording

In 1821, Missouri became a state, and 2021 marks its 200th Anniversary. Though the Louisiana Purchase and statehood linked the region to the United States, Missouri has a long history of cultural exchange and extensive trade networks. Perhaps most notable are the diverse groups that lived on the Missouri frontier in the early-to-mid 19th Century who were deeply connected to the evolving world around them, particularly along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers as well as the Boonslick and Santa Fe trails.

In that same year, Mexico became a nation and open trade with the United States. In addition, William Bucknell took advantage of relaxed trade restrictions in Mexico and has been credited with “opening up the Santa Fe Trail”. In the meantime, Hispano entrepreneurs were ready and able to make the trail a two-way international trade route.  

Dr. Gene T. Chávez, Historian for the Kansas City Museum, and Dr. Sean Rost, Oral Historian at the State Historical Society of Missouri had a conversation about the significance of the Santa Fe Trail to both Mexico and Missouri.

Helpful Resources:
Missouri Encyclopedia
Digital Collections: The State Historical Society of Missouri
Missouri Bicentennial
Book: Quest for Quivira: Spanish Explorers on the Great Plains, 1540-1821
Book: Los Capitalistas: Hispano Merchants on the Santa Fe Trade

Thursday, April 29, 2021
Heartland Conservation Alliance presents Blue River, a documentary about Kansas City’s important natural resource
Click here to view recording

Blue River features oral histories and the ecological and cultural history of the river. In conjunction with the Renew the Blue Campaign, the documentary brings attention to the river, its needs, and the many organizations and communities working to improve it.

The documentary promotes positive outdoor experiences, reminds people of the river’s proud past and inspires them about its future. In 2020 it won a Mid-America EMMY in the Public Affairs – Special/Program category. After the film, meet local renowned filmmaker, Michael Price, English Landing Films, who captured the beauty and the challenges of the river in all seasons. He is best known for his films seen on KCPT Evicted and A City Divided. His latest film, The Hidden Pandemic, focuses on the lives of Kansas Citians navigating mental illness.

Helpful Resources:
Heartland Conservation Alliance

Wednesday, May 12, 2021
“Surely the Missouri spirit…is not dying out”
The 1918 Influenza Pandemic and the Revival of Athletics in the American Midwest
Click here to view

In 1918, an influenza pandemic that eventually spanned the globe began in the American Midwest. By 1920, the pandemic killed tens of millions of people and infected a sizable portion of the world’s population. Over the course of the past year, much has been researched, written, and presented on the comparisons between the 1918 influenza outbreak and the current COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, as the world continues to fight the challenges brought by COVID-19, and prepares for future recovery, we also must assess how people centered their identities and communities as they emerged from the dual crises of the influenza outbreak and World War I.

Dr. Sean Rost, Oral Historian at the State Historical Society of Missouri, gave a presentation on these critical years (1918-1921) in the United States, with a particular focus on how American society—including Missourians and Kansans—embraced athletics as it collectively sought a “return to normalcy.”

Saturday, July 24, 2021
Restore KC: Community Journalism
Click here to view

In this Restore KC, Northeast News talked about Community Journalism and its importance to the overall health and vitality of Kansas City’s neighborhoods. Since the year 2000, over 250 small, locally owned newsrooms have shuttered their operations, leaving communities without a locally centered news source that covers micro-local news such as church fish frys, local school board activity, or boy scout chili dinners. Larger news outlets traditionally don’t or won’t cover those events because they’re more about “if it bleeds, it leads,” ratings centered news.

The Northeast News is an award winning, Community Journalism outlet that has served Kansas City’s Historic Northeast community since 1932.

Helpful Resources:
Northeast News