Looking to the Past to Forge the Future

Kansas City Museum Gains New Historical Perspective Through Project with Local Historian

The Kansas City Museum is fully immersed in the process of exhibit design and development on its journey to transforming into a leading-edge, 21st-century museum of Kansas City’s history and cultural heritage. Along the way, it is remaining true to its core values of community engagement, collaboration, and historic preservation.

One key collaborator, who has proven invaluable to the Museum during this vital phase of exhibit design, is Mr. Edward T. Matheny, Jr., a retired partner with Husch Blackwell LLP, WWII Veteran, published author, and longtime supporter of arts, history, culture, education, healthcare, and entrepreneurship. Mr. Matheny, along with Mr. Bill Dunn, Sr., and Mr. Henry Bloch, serves as an Honorary Chair of “Making A Museum KC,” an innovative initiative created by the Kansas City Museum Foundation to raise funds and awareness for the Museum’s restoration and renovation project.

Mr. Matheny is working closely with Kansas City Museum Director of Collections & Curatorial Services Denise Morrison, to comb through the Museum’s archives and review nearly 80 years of board minute books. His comprehensive discovery is adding great value by summarizing and providing additional historical context to what may have been previously unnoticed details.

The Kansas City Museum welcomes his expertise as a historian and attorney as he has lived through the days when the early Kansas City Museum was in existence. Through his relationships with those who have shaped the Museum, he is providing new historical perspective, piecing together information, and filling in gaps of understanding with his own personal history of the people of Kansas City.

“Mr. Matheny has an uncanny eye for detail and has been able to provide deep insight and background on the information we currently have through the relationships he has or had with key historic figures,” Denise Morrison said. “He has provided a great deal of time to this project and has given the Museum’s history the respect it deserves. I’ve enjoyed working with him very much, and I am confident that the end result will be well worth the investment of his time.”

The Kansas City Museum’s relationship with Mr. Matheny serves as a vivid example of how the Museum continues to work closely with residents in the community to transform the Museum. When it reopens its doors to the public in 2020, visitors will be inspired to share their own local and regional stories, just as Mr. Matheny has. In addition, the Museum is hopeful that others in Kansas City and beyond, who once had an intimate connection to the Museum as visitors, members, or key stakeholders, may reach out to share their experiences and memories as well.

Details are available at www.kansascitymuseum.org.

–Blanca Polite

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