Stage one of the KC Museum complete, opening late 2020

Elizabeth Orosco
Northeast News

Stage one of the $22 million Kansas City Museum renovation is officially complete. The architectural construction for Corinthian Hall includes marble, plaster, and wood restoration, new galleries, updated programming space, and other amenities.

Corinthian Hall has been closed since 2017 to undergo a large-scale restoration project, transforming the space into a fully-functioning 21st Century museum with a completely updated guest experience.

Stakeholders, media outlets, city leaders, museum staff, and residents gathered in front of the sweeping staircase of the Robert A. Long Foundation Grand Hall Wednesday, July 10, to hear from Mayor Sly James, Mayor-elect Quinton Lucas, City Manager Troy Schulte, and others, regarding the effort and city-wide collaboration that was necessary to make the restoration a reality.

Lucas noted the “Herculean effort” required to undertake the project and thanked outgoing Mayor James for his work over the years.

“Mayor James kept us moving in a straight and direct path,” he said. “Everyone on council had a different idea. I disagree with his assertion that he didn’t have anything to do with it. I think he was core and central to that.”

Mayor James highlighted the historical importance of the museum, looking to future generations being able to discover their roots inside the newly renovated space.

“This is one of Kansas City’s most significant cultural assets and treasures,” he said. “It’s also good to be able to celebrate our city’s history and commitment to preserving this building so that other generations, future generations, will truly understand the history and culture of Kansas City.”

James said the museum can help build a sense in every child that this is their city and they have a stake in it.

“This can be a place where our kids can learn and grow and see programming and learn about the history of this city in a beautiful building and setting,” he said. “Then, it will have served its purpose in spades.”

The $22 million project was funded with $8 million from GO Bonds, $8 million from the KC Museum levy, and $6 million raised by the Kansas City Museum Foundation.

“We are super excited to say we are the first project in a public building section to be completed using GO Bond monies,” said Museum Executive Director Anna Marie Tutera. “We are so thankful we got that funding. It’s absolutely significant.”

The home was originally built in 1910 as the Beaux-Arts style estate of lumber baron Robert Alexander Long, his wife Ella, and daughters Sallie America Long Ellis and Loula Long Combs.
Long amassed a fortune in the lumber industry and one of his endeavors included the construction of his home in Northeast Kansas City that included the moving of three existing houses off the property to vacant lots adjacent to the Long parcel.

After the death of Mr. Long in the spring of 1934, his two daughters held a two-day auction in the fall of the same year, selling most of their parent’s belongings.

The house sat vacant until late 1939 when Sallie and Loula donated the mansion, the surrounding out-buildings, and the property to the Kansas City Museum Association for use in perpetuity as a public museum.

In May 1940, the home opened its doors as the Kansas City Museum, welcoming approximately 4,500 visitors.

The next portion of the restoration is phase two which includes renovations to the Carriage House and Caretaker’s Home.

The museum is expected to open to the public in late 2020. Until then, they will still operate at the Historic Garment District, an exhibition and programming space at 800 Broadway Boulevard in downtown Kansas City.

They will also hold their final free summer concert Friday, August 9 at 7 p.m. on the east lawn of the museum.

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