Kansas City Museums Hard Hat Tours

Come join in the fun of being part of Kansas City Museums Hard Hat Tours.  See below for a list of times and days that we currently hold for these amazing special Hard Hat Tours.

Free! Guided Mansion Tours

Wednesday-Saturday | 10:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m.
Sunday | 2:30 p.m.

Take a hard hat tour of Corinthian Hall, the 100+ year old home of lumber baron Robert A. Long and his family. Visitors will see Corinthian Hall in mid-renovation, the bare interior of the building exposed for the first time in decades. Visitors will examine 100 year-old craftsmanship, see the ornate Salon and Library and view the exquisite stained glass windows. You’ll also see Kansas City Museum’s newest exhibit inside Corinthian Hall, Planning for the Future: Find History at Kansas City Museum.

Directors’ Hard Hat Tours: Sunday,  November 16
1-2:30 p.m. | $5

Take an extended hard hat tour of Corinthian Hall, the 100+ year old home of lumber baron Robert A. Long and his family, with Executive Director Anna Marie Tutera and Director of Collections and Curatorial Services Denise Morrison. Visitors will see Corinthian Hall in mid-renovation, the bare interior of the building exposed for the first time in decades. Visitors will examine 100 year-old craftsmanship, see the ornate Salon and Library and view the exquisite stained glass windows.

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Corinthian Hall Kansas City Artifacts

Corinthian Hall Kansas City artifacts in the rotunda at City Hall

Kansas City Museum recently installed a new exhibit documenting the City of Kansas City, Missouri’s contributions to the ongoing renovations of Corinthian Hall. The exhibit, two candelabras and the clock from the Library of Corinthian Hall, details the extensive renovation work that has been completed at Corinthian Hall and the almost $10 million the city has generously contributed. The exhibit also highlights the educational programs and collecting initiatives the Museum has undertaken while the renovation work continues. The exhibit will change out twice a year, accentuating the vast collections of the Museum.

Click here to read more: panel Apanel Bpanel C

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The Long Family

“To me there are some things in this world far dearer than the accumulation of money….Men become great and good and mighty not because of the amount they make, but because they utilize the money they accumulate… The world knows Kansas City is a great commercial city. It is my desire that the most essential element… the humanitarian side… be kept fresh in the minds of the people.”

-Robert A. Long

The story of Robert A. Long’s life is not exactly a rags-to-riches tale. He came, in fact, from a well-established Kentucky farming family. Born in 1850, Long might have been inspired to promote a “self-made-man” image by the Horatio Alger stories he read in his youth. In young adulthood, Long benefited from good connections. He landed in Kansas City where his affluent uncle Churchill White underwrote several unsuccessful ventures. When Long sold off lumber from a failed hay business, he stumbled into an industry that was the basis of his substantial fortune. He started in Columbus, Kansas where he met and married his wife Ella, a Pennsylvania Quaker, in 1875. After partner Robert White died in 1877, the Long-Bell Lumber Company incorporated.

The couple had two children, Sallie (1879) and Loula (1881). The family moved to Kansas City in 1891 with Long’s burgeoning business. They occupied a spacious Queen Anne-style house on Independence Avenue, one of the city’s toniest addresses. In 1907, the Longs embarked on the construction of an estate reflecting their local and national prominence, a 70 room, stone-faced mansion and related buildings that filled an entire city block. The property overlooked picturesque North Terrace Park, which offered a convenient place for Long and his horse-loving daughter, Loula, to exercise their prize steeds.

Long and the Lumber Industry
Kansas City’s role as a major lumber center was hardly a fluke, since the frontier pushing west of the Mississippi River following rail lines across the prairie. By 1900 Kansas City was shipping 4,000 railcars of finished lumber annually. Kansas City’s dominance in the trade was due to Robert Long. His portfolio included more than 50 lumberyards by 1892.

Long vertically integrated Long-Bell, the company’s slogan being: “From tree to trade.”  Long controlled the forests where the trees were produced, the mills where logs were trimmed to lumber, the wholesale distributors, as well as the retail yards. This was aided by diffused distribution made possible by the growing railroad network. Long-Bell produced lumber and fence posts; the company acquired a coal mine, (coal was distributed by lumberyards.) The company mills in Lake Charles, Longville, and Bonami, Louisiana, and Lufkin, Texas, manufactured window sashes, doors and doorframes, and veneers. In 1914, Long-Bell harvested 590 million feet of timber a year.

After 1910, Southern yellow pine began to wane. Lumber demand dropped with slowing rural settlement. Cities expanded with concrete and steel. Long-Bell sold Southern holdings and launched in the Pacific Northwest. In the 1920s, a cash flow crisis forced Long-Bell to go public. In 1956, the once-powerful Long-Bell Lumber Company merged into its rival, the International Paper Company.

Longview Washington: A Planned Town
Some corporations felt it in their best interest to found well-designed, sanitary housing to attract a high-quality, stable work force, such as the 1880s Pullman city outside Chicago and Coleraine on Minnesota’s Iron Range. Robert Long would have known of such developments. Longview, Washington, was a logical extension of Long’s perpetual quest for innovation, in addition to a paternalistic concern for workers. Long had good counsel in long-time friend Jesse Clyde Nichols, the energetic Kansas City developer. The chief designer for Longview was George Kessler, prominent landscape architect who laid out Kansas City’s parks and boulevards system. The community survives, and thrives, to this day.

Horsing Around: The Longs’ Equestrian Legacy
Robert and his daughter Loula shared a passion for horses. Loula focused her attention on the stables from an early age and quickly became a skilled horsewoman. When he made his millions, Long was able to indulge his daughter’s desire. Her fascination outdistanced her father’s and became an avocation from which she never veered. Loula began her show career at Fairmount Park near Kansas City in 1896 at the age of fifteen. She won a blue ribbon in the ladies horsemanship class and was hooked. She became one of the most celebrated figures of the show ring. Her vibrant personality, exceptional horses, formal gowns and large hats made her a crowd favorite. Barnum and Bailey even asked her to go on tour with their circus show. Loula also broke sex barriers competing in competitions conventionally entered only by men. She continued competing into her 80s, and in 1967 was one of two persons inducted, for equine sports, in Madison Square Garden’s Hall of Fame.

Horses were a hobby befitting Long’s position among Gilded Age elite. The Long family often faced the Vanderbilts and DuPonts in the show ring. While visiting a king’s stable on their European tour, a guide bragged about a pair of horses recently purchased for $5,000. Loula frankly replied, “H’m, that isn’t such a high price. Daddy gave me a pair last year that cost $9,000.” By 1907, the Longs’ stables were too small. According to Loula, “…a new stable had to be built; and since we were going to have a new stable, Daddy decided that we might as well build a new house, too.” The first blueprints produced were for the carriage house and stable. The Carriage House had room for twelve carriages and living quarters for five grooms; ten box stalls; four tie stalls; tack room; trophy room; tiled washroom. The interior was finished with hardwood, oriental rugs and fine paintings. The nearby gatehouse was a home for trainer Dave Smith and his family.

At London’s 1910 Olympia Show, a London newspaper stated that “Great interest is being taken in Kansas City and throughout the Missouri valley in the fortunes of Miss Long, who will exhibit her prize winning gelding, The King.” Loula and the King won first place. The next day the London Times ran the headline, “Girl From The Wild West Takes Roadster Class at Olympia.”

Civic Pioneer
Robert Long was strongly influenced by the civic examples of Andrew Carnegie and fellow industrialist John D. Rockefeller. Carnegie had libraries, Rockefeller foundations. Long had Kansas City and dedicated time and money to its betterment. Long’s work transcended his own self-interest. Whether from “noblesse oblige”, his religious convictions or a mixture of both, he was vocal about it.

Long’s first major public project was Kansas City’s first skyscraper, the 14 story R.A. Long Building. Thereafter much of his benevolence was directed towards the Christian Church. He gave significantly toward building Independence Avenue Christian Church; he funded a majority of the cost of a hospital run by the denomination; he was also a strong supporter of church projects outside of Kansas City.

When the expansive and experimental Longview Farm was under construction, he established a tent village where hundreds of inner-city families enjoyed rural vacations. He also promoted the construction of “a water works system that will care for the future as well as the present.” During the same period he agitated to make Kansas City a nationally prominent center for the arts.

A 1934 newspaper credited Robert Long as “the real father” of the Civilian Conservation Corps. President Theodore Roosevelt invited him to the first federal conference on natural resource conservation. Long made it a personal and business goal to replace every tree cut by Long-Bell. Today, this is standard practice and it is easy to underplay the radical nature of the changes espoused by Long.

His most prominent project was Liberty Memorial, which is now the official United States monument to the First World War. He led an ambitious fundraising drive that collected in only ten days $50,000 more than its $2 million goal.

Join us for our next great event: Windows of Kansas City Author Talk and Book Signing with Author Bruce Mathews Thursday, November 13 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. | Free

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Kansas City Museum History

Kansas City Museum History
Kansas City Museum at Corinthian Hall is Kansas City’s oldest and largest museum of local and regional history. The Museum opened in 1940, located in the former home of Kansas City lumber entrepreneur and philanthropist Robert A. Long.

 The home was completed in 1910, and the Long family lived here until the death of Mr. Long in 1934.  Mrs. Long had passed away in 1928, and the two Long daughters were married and living elsewhere. After a two-day auction, the house sat empty until late 1939 when the Kansas City Museum Association formed and opened the Museum the following May.

 In 1948 the Museum Association deeded the property to the City of Kansas City, Missouri. The Museum’s operations are funded by a tax collected solely for this purpose, established in 1967. The residence and estate were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

 The Museum was long staffed and operated by the dedicated volunteers of the Women’s Division and the Musettes. These tireless and committed para-professionals worked in collection development, exhibit preparation, fundraising and education, both on-site and in the community.

 In 1999 the Museum Association merged with the Union Station Assistance Corporation to form Union Station Kansas City, Inc. At that time various professional staff and administrative functions, and collection storage, were relocated to the great train station. Museum staff are still headquartered on the site.

Join us for our next great event: Windows of Kansas City Author Talk and Book Signing with Author Bruce Mathews Thursday, November 13 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. | Free

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Windows of Kansas City Author Talk and Book Signing with Author Bruce Mathews

Windows Kansas City Author Talk and Book Signing
with Author Bruce Mathews

Thursday, November 13

6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. | Free

Kansas City has a wonderful art culture, with some fabulous pieces on public display. Some of the most beautiful art in the city is not public. They are in churches, schools, public homes in the form of beautiful stained glass windows. Photographer and Author Bruce Mathews brings several of these incredible works of art to public display in his new book Windows of Kansas City.

Mathews will share the stories he unearthed about these fine pieces, the histories of the artists and the places they are found and several wonderful anecdotes. He’ll also tell stories about the wonderful stained glass windows inside Corinthian Hall.

Contact Executive Director Anna Marie Tutera at 816-513-7568 or at anna.tutera@kcmo.org

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Community Curator – A Project of The Kansas City Museum

We would like to thank everyone that came out last night to see and be part of our Community Curator event last night.


If you missed out on seeing about the artifacts, collections of Kansas City Museum and hearing their perspectives on these artifacts and exhibits – we still have these on display and please stop by and see our extensive renovation and restoration . During this time, we will continue to maintain regular operating hours and admission for tours of the Museum is FREE

Wednesday-Saturday: 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Sunday: noon-4 p.m.

We look forward in seeing you!

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Kansas City Museums – Kitty Sondern Snyder

Kansas City Museums – Kitty Sondern Snyder will be here tonight October 21st 2014 @ 5:30pm to talk about what it is like making the Dress Up clothes many Kansas Citians are wearing for their Special Occasions!

My business is all from word of mouth. Someone hears about me from a friend who has had a dress made and calls me about having something made. I make an appointment with them and then interview them about the type of dress they need and the kind of Occasion they need it for. We talk about the time of day of the event, the location, her budget, the degree of formality. I do sketches as we talk and we start to describe the garment. When I have a sketch that looks like the dress in her head, I ‘m ready to take her measurements and we schedule a muslin fitting. The muslin is sort of a pretend dress I make to adjust for fit on my client, then I rip it apart and it becomes the pattern when I cut the dress out. I  give her a shopping list of everything needed for the dress’s construction. Fabric, Lining, Thread, Zipper, etc. ( It`s a little harder now for customers to shop as we’ve lost our two fine fabric stores.) If she is confused or undecided about fabric types, I have lots of swatches I can show to her and give her to help in the search.

The average Prom or Cocktail  dress takes about ten hours to make and requires an average of five fittings. Bridal Gowns can take fifty plus hours and many fittings to complete. I also am happy to answer questions about what accessories should be worn with it, give my opinion on shoes, jewelry and hairstyles. I really get attached to my customers and feel like I’m getting to share in their big event. After so many fittings, I start to get to know them pretty well.

This summer I made fourteen wine satin cocktail dresses for a Sorority Rush Ceremony. Each girl had a different style. They were all excited to have pockets in their dresses. I just finished twelve floor length, lined, blue satin matching skirts for a group of High School Chambers singers. The garments were all the same, but the girls were every size and shape. They sang beautifully at their concert, but I spent the evening scanning their hems to be sure they were even. I love working with these accomplished and energetic young women!

How did I get here? I studied Fashion Design in New York at Parson’s School of Design, now famous for a TV show called Project Runway, which is filmed there. I spent a lot of time as a kid drawing “girls” on my school papers and any other scrap of paper I could find. I loved clothes and loved dressing up. Thanks to my mother, I always had a nice dress for Christmas, Easter, Birthdays, my first day of school. I learned to sew from my mom, who taught Home Ec. at one time. My grandmother had made me several rick rack trimmed calico dresses when I was little, that not only had matching panties, but matching doll dresses and panties! So I knew the power of sewing to make people happy! I started to make myself some simple clothes inspired by the newly graphic colors and shapes of the 1960’s. I was also inspired by the clothes my mom wore; narrow pencil skirts and wide swing coats, full skirted dresses with beautiful necklines and tiny waists. I also read lots of Fairy Tales featuring “gowns of spun gold “or “dresses made from silvery moonlight”. So naturally, I was drawn to fashion.

After graduating from Parson`s and working for various people at various jobs, I started making dress with a friend. We called our business SONDERN WILLIAMS after our two last names. We had a basement studio in Manhattan`s East Village, We designed and made everything ourselves. We delivered local orders on our bikes. We sold to Macy`s, Bendel’s, Alexander`s, and Saks in New York and small boutiques around the country. Our dresses were in Saks front windows and featured in Seventeen and Cosmopolitan magazines. Also in Women’s Wear Daily and the Soho News. Our friends started asking us to make them custom dress for weddings and parties, eventually we just did made- to- order dresses.

After a decade in New York, I decided to move to LA, where my brother was living. I shipped half my stuff out there and the other half home to my parent’s house in Kansas City. I stopped here to visit them over the holidays. That was in 1982 …..I`m still here! I had a couple of jobs that involved sewing, then I rented a darling little run down shop in the West Plaza area. After six months of work, I had a painted, tiled and carpeted workspace. I hired someone to sew for me, bought fabric, and started turning out original designs. Once again, as people discovered my shop and that we made everything onsite, I began to get orders for custom, Special Occasion dresses. I sent my clients to Cy Rudnick and Kaplan’s Fabric stores for their materials. Those stores began to send me customers, which was wonderful! I made one of a kind Wedding Dresses, Debutante Gowns, Graduation Dresses, Prom Dress, usually about thirty every Prom season. I made gowns for the many Gala Fundraisers here in Kansas City. I made uniforms for the Crystal Pavilion and Painted Lady restaurants. I got some write-ups in the Star and in Vie and Boulevard magazines, now long gone. My garments were in an exhibit at Crown Center called Fashion as Art, along with other local designers, like Nickey Cave, Jennifer Walker, Linda Flake and Robin Nichols. Since my shop was attached to a Hair Salon, we collaborated in doing Fashion Shows, showing off their hair styles and my clothing styles. ( I still made a few ready to wear items of my own design) These shows were like big fun art projects.

Then I got married myself. The person who sewed for me at that time had a baby due the week of my wedding! It was kind of hectic.  I made my gown and veil, my Mother`s Dress, six Bridesmaid’s dresses, the groom`s bow tie and bund ( It’s gotta match!) Also four people`s dresses for the Rehearsal Dinner. I was still sewing the morning of my wedding.

Everybody knows that love and marriage lead to the baby carriage, so after seven and a half years, I closed my shop to be a stay at home mom to two kids. A few years ago, I got divorced, downsized and started to make dresses again. I really enjoy being a part of someone`s Special Event. I tell the girl to enjoy the whole process, not just the one day event.

Join us for the Design and Creation of Textiles and Clothing with Fashion Designer Kitty Sondern Snyder Tuesday, October 21 Reception: 5:30 p.m.; Presentation at 6:30 p.m. | Free

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The Community Curator Program of Kansas City Museum

The Community Curator program of Kansas City Museum invites historians and history educators to share their perspectives on artifacts they choose from the Museum collection. This provides fresh insight about artifacts and collections of Kansas City Museum and Union Station, and welcomes diverse input from the Kansas City history community.

Design and Creation of Textiles and Clothing
with Fashion Designer Kitty Sondern Snyder
Tuesday, October 21

Reception: 5:30 p.m.; Presentation at 6:30 p.m. | Free








Guests will be able to tour the Dressing Up in Kansas City exhibition in
Corinthian Hall prior to the presentation.

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Kansas City Jazz Orchestra Friday October 3rd KCJO at 8pm

Friday, October 3, 2014 – 8 PM

Kansas City Jazz Orchestra Hal Melia will take the audience on a “swinging musical journey” featuring the unforgettable music of Count Basie, Jay McShann, Benny Goodman, Fletcher Henderson, Tommy Dorsey (and many others) in the Big Band Era.

Purchase your tickets Today!  Visit http://www.kcjazzorchestra.org/ for all of the greatest jazz events in the Kansas City area.

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Singer Patti Austin Joins Kansas City Chorale for Oct. 15 Show

Singer Patti Austin. Photo by Rodney Barnes.

Singer Patti Austin. Photo by Rodney Barnes.

Conductor Charles Bruffy and the Kansas City Chorale welcome singer Patti Austin to perform as part of the vocal organization’s opening show at the Folly Theater.

Austin is a  GRAMMY winner who has become one of the world’s most popular and versatile vocalists. She joins the GRAMMY-winning Chorale for an evening of R&B, pop, jazz and more. The concert starts at 7 p.m. Oct. 15.

Austin has an illustrious career that has spanned more than five decades. Her first GRAMMY Award came in 2008 for Best Jazz Vocal Album for  Avant Gershwin at the 50th annual Grammy Awards. The award came for her ninth nomination in that category. She continues to record and perform.

The Kansas City Chorale already has more than three decades under its collective belt and Bruffy is moving toward his third decade as director. In previous interviews, he says “Whatever we do, if it’s recording Russian pieces or American works, we do our best to yield our voices to that specific sonority. The idea is to always create as refined an art as we possibly can. …”

Tickets for the event can be purchased at the Central Ticket office of by calling 816-235-6222.

After this season opener, the Kansas City Chorale will turn toward Christmas with Wintersong Dec. 11 at Rozzelle Court at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; Classical Christmas Dec. 12 and 13; and a Youth Christmas Concert at 2 p.m. Dec. 13.

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3 Days Until One O’Clock Jump KCJO

The KCJO and guest artist Hal Melia will take the audience  on a “swinging musical journey” featuring the unforgettable music of Count Basie, Jay McShann, Benny Goodman, Fletcher Henderson, Tommy Dorsey (and many others) through the “heyday” of the big band era.

Friday, October 3, 2014 – 8 PM in Helzberg Hall for the “One O’Clock Jump” — Purchase your tickets Today!  Visit http://www.kcjazzorchestra.org/ for all of the greatest jazz events in the Kansas City area.

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