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Kansas City Museum Capital Campaign Making a Museum KC Kicks Off

When was the last time that you visited the Kansas City Museum on Gladstone Boulevard in Kansas City, Missouri? Gather your family and friends and attend a public open house on Wednesday, March 29 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Kansas City Museum Corinthian Hall, which is the mansion, to review the Museum’s newly completed Visitor Experience Plan and discuss the multi-staged restoration and renovation project.

Open house attendees will see how the Visitor Experience Plan focuses on the core stories of the visitor experience for Corinthian Hall. These stories address the history and development of Kansas City and outline the parameters for developing exhibits in the mansion that display the Museum’s historical collection.

Also during the open house people will learn about the Parks and Recreation and Kansas City Museum Foundation’s launch of their “Making a Museum KC” capital campaign initiative. The campaign will fund the renovations at the museum and upon its completion it will be transformed into a premier history museum presenting Kansas City’s past, present and future.

“Our goal is to transform the private residence and estate into a fully functioning and sustainable history museum facility and environment, complete with space for exhibitions, collections, programs, amenities and back of the house museum functions,” said Jean-Paul Chaurand, Chair of the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners and Chair of the Kansas City Museum Foundation Board.

The Kansas City Museum is comprised of five original buildings, including the mansion Corinthian Hall, which was built in 1910 by Robert Alexander Long. The estate became a public museum in 1940. It is owned by the City of Kansas City, Missouri and operated and managed by the City of Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation Department.

Currently the Kansas City Museum is in the process of architectural design development to create a first-rate museum of Kansas City’s history through a multi-year, multi-staged restoration and renovation project. The project started in the spring of 2015 and should be completed by the summer of 2019.

Mayor Sly James was thrilled with the renovation plans for the museum.

“I am so thrilled that the Kansas City Museum intends to inspire people to connect, collaborate, and engage in thoughtful citizenship that will bolster Kansas City’s transformation and growth. It will serve as a community anchor and nucleus, sharing stories of the rich history and culture of Kansas City’s vibrant residents and neighborhoods,” said Mayor James.

The northeast neighborhood is filled with homes that range from mansions to bungalows and is home for a diverse business community.

“I think it is fitting that this museum is located in the northeast where many cultures come together. There is a rich vibrancy to the palate, with the museum it will give a physical location for programs that share our history and culture,” said Mayor James.

The Kansas City Museum has launched a new mission and vision. The mission 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 is for the Kansas City Museum to be a hub of learning, creativity and collaboration where individuals and communities innovate and inspire engagement and civic unity.

City Manager Troy Schulte discussed the overall project and construction costs at the launch of Making A Museum KC Capital Campaign Initiative.

“The overall cost to restore Corinthian Hall and the other floors is estimated at $15 million. Public funding is a critical aspect of the Museum’s restoration. In addition to the private fund raising that is underway, public funding is clearly needed for Stage 1 Construction”, said Schulte.

He also pointed out that in addition to the Museum Levy that has enabled an allocation of $6 million for the Museum’s renovation, Question 3 on the April 4 ballot calls for approving the issuance of $50 million in bonds to repair public buildings and if approved by voters, $7 million from those bonds would support the Kansas City Museum renovations.

“It would be a tremendous testimony to this building. This is a community redevelopment anchor for the historic northeast,” said Schulte.

He also added, “When the museum reopens, general admission to the Kansas City Museum will be free to all residents of the City of Kansas City, Missouri.”

As the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department launched the capital campaign, Commissioner Jean-Paul Chaurand pointed out their first milestone goal is to raise $2 million for Stage 1 Construction.

“I am excited and proud to share the news that we have received pledged commitments in the amount of $1 million toward our first milestone fundraising goal of $2 million. I am also honored to announce a pledge grant from the R.A. Long Foundation in the amount of $500,000. The Grand Hall of Corinthian Hall will be named the R.A. Long Foundation Grand Hall,” said Chaurand.

Bobbi Baker Hughes, CEO of the Northeast Chamber of Commerce, is thrilled to see the commitment to the Kansas City Museum and the economic growth that is happening in the northeast neighborhood.

“We are excited as a community, both business and residential to see this commitment happening,” she said.

Hughes calls the city support a game changer for the northeast community. The northeast section of the city has been no stranger to crime but she hopes that the growth that is being seen throughout the community and the changes they have seen happening with families moving back into the area, will change people’s perception of the northeast.

The Northeast neighborhoods are changing and people are beginning to see a revitalization and energy that wasn’t seen five or ten years ago.
When asked if this is just the tip of the iceberg for change, Hughes agreed.

“Many people have been pushing that iceberg forward for a very long time and we are starting to see what happens when you come together and push at the same time,” she said.