Kansas City Museum

Kansas City, Missouri

Project Size: 12,000 square feet
Designers: Gallagher & Associates 

Evolution & Spirit

The Kansas City Museum is a history museum working to preserve, interpret, and celebrate Kansas City through collections, exhibits, and programs. Corinthian Hall has been restored and renovated with all new history and humanities-based exhibits, installations, and amenities. The museum aims to reflect the city’s evolution and spirit. Visitors can engage in stories about the city’s vibrant history and cultural heritage. The Kansas City Museum is fully governed, managed, and operated by the Kansas City Museum Foundation.

As the city’s leading institution on local and regional history, the museum boasts a collection, capacity, mission, and vision to share the many multicultural stories of Kansas City and its people. The city’s history is complex, so this museum welcomes perspectives and experiences that are underrepresented in order to tell more complete and accurate stories of this history. The Kansas City Museum is a new type of history museum, one where individuals and communities innovate and inspire engagement and civic unity. Its values combine old and new: historic preservation, community engagement, educational impact, and inclusiveness.

The Kansas City Museum is a self-guided experience. Approximately 400 artifacts plus numerous images from the museum’s archives, exhibits, media, and site-specific art installations by Kansas City-based artists are on display. The First Floor of Corinthian Hall presents historically preserved, restored, and renovated rooms containing exhibits and historical objects that explore the history, legacy, and impact of the Long family, who had lived at the residence, and the architectural history of Corinthian Hall.

The Second Floor of Corinthian Hall has five main exhibition galleries with historical objects that provide a history of Kansas City. The galleries feature the often untold or under-told stories of the City and its people. Four main galleries provide a chrono-thematic timeline of the City’s history. The fifth gallery showcases
limited-run exhibits that take a deeper dive into the museum’s collection groups. These exhibition gallery spaces include Culture Confluences: Rivers to 1870s; An Evolving City Landscape: 1880s to 1920s; Flourishing Populations and Industries: 1910s to 1940s; The Kansas City Spirit: 1940s to 1980s; and The Greater Kansas City Museum Collections: St. Joseph Hospital’s Donald Piper Medical Museum Collection.

On the third floor, visitors can explore Kansas City’s past, present, and future through three exhibition galleries with historical objects and limited-run exhibits, and a 42-seat theater for films, programs, and events. Galleries include A Cultural & Community Restoration: 1970s to Present Day; Our City, Our Stories, an exhibit featuring the personal stories of 21 Kansas Citians from racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse backgrounds and experiences; and Curating a Museum, an exhibit featuring a history of El Torreon and Cowtown Ballroom.

The Kansas City Museum’s collections contain more than 100,000 objects, historical artifacts, and archives that offer a rich sampling of the local and regional history while representing the daily lives of past generations. The objects in this collection are cultural heritage materials used for educational and research purposes, as well as for the enjoyment and enrichment of visitors, not just objects to be put behind glass for viewing.

kubik maltbie fabricated and installed all the exhibits for Corinthian Hall, with support from Kansas City-based 4-Gen Construction. Working with the museum planning and design firm Gallagher & Associates, kubik maltbie’s scope of work consisted of interpretive displays, graphics, and artifacts to tell the history of Corinthian Hall and Kansas City. One of the highlights of the exhibits showcases the original workings of the elevator in the home, with a see-through glass graphic looking at the mechanical parts. kubik maltbie fabricated and installed the millwork, graphics, artifacts, and platforms for the exhibits, including AV components.

The Kansas City Museum both preserves history and looks to the future, inspiring creative action, civic duty, and community engagement.