Kansas City Museum announces reopening date

The Kansas City Museum at 3218 Gladstone Blvd.

The Kansas City Museum Foundation announced Monday that the Kansas City Museum will reopen Corinthian Hall to the public on Thursday, October 21, 2021, after several years of extensive restoration and renovation.

The $22 million project has created a 21st-century museum of Kansas City’s history and cultural heritage. Corinthian Hall, located at 3218 Gladstone Blvd., was restored with private and public funding including KCMO General Obligations Bonds and Missouri Development Finance Board tax credit allocations.

“I am so excited, it feels unreal at times that we are finally at this place after seven plus years,” Executive Director Anna Marie Tutera said. “I am incredibly proud and honored, and I just can’t wait for the general public to come in and experience what we’ve created.”

The Kansas City Museum comprises 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.

The restoration and renovation of Corinthian Hall was completed by a team of local and national skilled professionals including architectural design by International Architects Atelier, construction by JE Dunn, exhibit design by Gallagher & Associates, and exhibit fabrication and installation by Kubik Maltbie with installation support from 4-Gen Construction.

The new Kansas City Museum will serve its community as the home of the whole story, where visitors can experience a multiplicity of perspectives about Kansas City’s vibrant history and cultural heritage past, present, and future. Located in the Historic Northeast area overlooking the Missouri River Valley and adjacent to Kessler Park and Cliff Drive, the Kansas City Museum is a beacon on the bluff for its city—illuminating the unfolding, often untold stories of the city and guiding us to a deeper understanding of how to collaborate and achieve civic unity.

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 is to be a hub of learning, creativity, and collaboration where individuals and communities innovate and inspire engagement and civic unity.

Visitors to Corinthian Hall will enjoy three floors of exhibition galleries featuring stories about Kansas City’s past, present, and future; a theater for films and documentaries; and a billiard room to play pool and board games. 

A nostalgic soda fountain on the lower level, Elixir, will quench guests’ thirst, and Café at 3218 on the first floor will offer culinary programs and chef-inspired events. Wisteria, a retail boutique, revives Corinthian Hall’s beautifully restored solarium.

Tutera has loved seeing the reactions of Denise Morrison, Director of Collections & Curatorial Affairs, as the exhibits, graphics and videos for the reopening come together. 

“You know if she is thrilled and proud, then I’m really happy because we’ve worked so long and so many hours on content and design and development,” Tutera said. “I’m always honored to work beside her.”

They’re focused on getting to a place where they can really celebrate, but right now they’re dedicated to the details down to every word, every sentence.

“I think we’re all going to be spending nights at the museum,” Tutera joked about preparing for the fast-approaching reopening. “Actually, this whole installation process has gone so incredibly smooth. There are always issues as you get to like the last 10% of install – and especially during COVID – worries about delays in procurement and shipping and delivery, but I think we’re in a really good place where we’re on track. We have an incredible team.”

The museum boasts exhibits from the City’s One Percent for Art and has commissioned site-specific art works by Renée Cinderhouse, Mona Cliff, Marv Graff, Clarissa Knighten, Zac Laman, Linda Lighton, and Stephen Proski.

The restoration and renovation of Corinthian Hall is Stage I of a multi-staged, multi-year project to complete the restoration and renovation of the entire property. The Museum will begin more architectural design and planning in 2021 for the next phases of design and stages of construction.

In May 2021, the Kansas City Museum Foundation entered into a cooperative agreement with the City’s Parks and Recreation Department to fully govern, operate and manage the museum.

Lead funding to date for the Kansas City Museum restoration and renovation project includes: Sunderland Foundation, R. A. Long Foundation, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Edward F. Swinney Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, Ann & Gary Dickinson Family Charitable Foundation, Enid and Crosby Kemper Foundation and the R.C. Kemper, Jr. Charitable Trust, The Waldrop Family, Milbank Manufacturing, Barton P. and Mary D. Cohen Charitable Trust, William T. Kemper Foundation, Commerce Bank, Trustee, The Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation, Central Bank of Kansas City and the Dr. Dominic F. Tutera Family, Tom and Jean McDonnell Fund, The Privitera Family and Mark One Electric, Kirk Family Foundation, JE Dunn Construction Company, Ann and Kenneth G. Baum, and Arvin Gottlieb Charitable Foundation.

Due to COVID-19, the Kansas City Museum will be open for private tours, rentals, and school field trips in limited capacity and by reservation Monday – Wednesday through December 2021. Free general admission by reservations with timed tickets will be offered Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 12 to 5 p.m.

The first public program will be the eighth annual Día de los Muertos Celebration in partnership with the Mattie Rhodes Art Center on Saturday, October 23, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. To purchase tickets to Día de los Muertos and other programs and special events, and to make reservations, visit kansascitymuseum.org.

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