By LESLIE COLLINS
January 2, 2013
For the month of January, the Kansas City Museum will be closed to the public, but museum staff will be busy with grand plans for 2013.
For the first time in five years, the Kansas City Museum will fill the second floor of Corinthian Hall with public exhibits.
“It’s a really momentous occasion,” Kansas City Museum Historic House Director Christopher Leitch said of the public exhibits. “We haven’t had many of what I would call normal opportunities to do that over the past five years.”
In January of 2008, museum staff packed up all the artifacts on display inside Corinthian Hall in preparation for extensive renovations of the mansion built in 1910. To date, crews have replaced and restored windows, installed historically accurate doors, removed non-original construction and installed an HVAC system for visitor comfort and to further preserve future artifacts on display. Additional renovation projects top the list and are dependent on city funding, Leitch said. Leitch said the city hasn’t told him what the next renovation phase will be.
“We’re a long way from being finished with the renovation, but we’re still a museum and we still have a lot to offer,” Leitch said.
Instead of waiting until the renovations were complete, museum staff decided it was time to “do what a museum does” and display several artifact exhibits at the museum as well as provide complimentary programming, Leitch said.
The first exhibit at the museum will open in March, but the museum is also partnering with the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America (GLAMA) and the Heartland Men’s Chorus to offer programming in February related to the Holocaust.
Artifacts from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will be on display at the Dean’s Gallery in the UMKC library and will highlight the persecution of homosexuals during the Holocaust. The Kansas City Museum will give guided tours of the exhibit at the library, Leitch said. The exhibit will also compliment the Heartland Men’s Chorus performance of “Falling in Love Again,” which depicts the transition of a flourishing gay culture in Berlin during the 1920s to the following decade of “unspeakable horrors” where homosexuals were put to death for their lifestyles.
In March, a World War II era exhibit will be on display at the Kansas City Museum, featuring artifacts from the museum’s own collection. Museum staff are working with the Collections Department to select artifacts for the display. Two more exhibits will be shown in the spring and in the fall, but the museum is keeping the content of those exhibits a surprise.
Other changes for 2013
During 2013, fewer Community Curator programs will be presented in order to “really focus on them,” Leitch said. There will also be fewer Hard Hat Happy Hours, so the museum can place more emphasis on them and “make them more special.”
The museum will continue to offer the director’s Hard Hat Tour every third Sunday of the month and will have regular hours of operation.
“I think it’s good for people to know we’re doing new and different things. We’re all really excited about it and really looking forward to it,” Leitch said. “This is a taste of the future we’ve all been looking to. All the long-range planning with the community, the professional peers and elected officials looked great on paper and now it’s one small step. We’re beginning to put our exhibit where our mouth is, so to speak.”