4 museums nearby you shouldn’t miss
Kansas City boasts a number of world-class museums commemorating everything from the tragedy of war to the frivolity of toys. Here are four of the best museums the city has to offer.
national wwi museum and memorial
The First World War, or The Great War, was hailed as the war to end all wars. While that didn’t turn out to be the case, it was a turning point for modern warfare. The National WWI Museum and Memorial follows the story of the war from its beginnings pre-1914 to beyond the armistice in 1918. The memorial was completed in 1926 and dedicated to those who lost their lives in the conflict.
The 80,000-square-foot museum was opened in 2006. The main gallery is beneath the memorial and features interactive tables, original artifacts and documents, video displays, and recreated trenches and bomb craters. The Memory Hall and Exhibit Hall house temporary exhibitions. You can take an elevator to the top of the memorial for a 360-degree view of Kansas City.
the arabia steamboat museum
The steamboat, Arabia, hit a tree snag in the Missouri River and sank in 1856 while carrying 200 tons of cargo that was headed for 16 frontier towns. Over the years, the river changed course and the Arabia was left buried 45 feet under a cornfield until its rediscovery in 1988. The boat’s cargo was found intact and amazingly well preserved and is now housed in the museum.
Today, The Arabia Steamboat Museum features the world’s largest collection of pre-Civil War artifacts, as well as the parts of the Arabia that could be salvaged. The exhibits include clothing, beads, buttons, weaponry, tools, and much more. Beautiful glass bottles contain liquor, ketchup, preserved fruits, and the world’s oldest pickles which were still edible. The museum gives you a unique glimpse of pre-Civil War frontier life.
the money museum
The Money Museum located in the Federal Reserve building is free to enter and you can take a self-guided tour. The museum features interactive exhibits, a coin collection, and a unique view of the vault and cash processing area. You can also see the history of U.S. minted coins. Unfortunately, you can’t take any money home!
the national museum of toys and miniatures
The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures began life in 1982 with two private collections. It has since expanded to a 33,000-square-foot facility with more than 72,000 exhibits. The world’s largest collection of miniatures is on the first floor, and one of nation’s most extensive collections of antique toys is on the second floor.
Among the miniatures, you’ll find dolls, doll’s houses, castles, furniture, china sets, musical instruments, railroad cars, carriages, and so much more. In the toy collection are vintage cars, trains, gas stations, diners, games, Barbie dolls, teddy bears, and more. The exhibits feature items right up to the 1990s. You might find it disconcerting to see toys from your own childhood in a museum.
These are just a few of the superb museums that shouldn’t be missed.