Our Histories Define and Unite Us

Kansas City Museum and Arts & AGEing KC Collaborate to Capture Life Stories of Kansas Citians

Mrs. Anita Gorman, Honorary Chair to #MakingAMuseumKC. Her legacy story, and that of her peers, will be captured by the Kansas City Museum. (Photo by Jim Barcus)

The Kansas City Museum accomplished significant milestones in 2017. Our project team completed comprehensive architectural design master planning with International Architects Atelier; launched the #MakingAMuseumKC capital campaign and fundraising initiative led by Honorary Chairs and Members Mr. Bill Dunn, Sr., Mr. Henry Bloch, Mr. Edward T. Matheny, Jr., Mrs. Anita Gorman, Mr. Carl J. DiCapo, and Mr. Ollie Gates; kicked off restoration and renovation construction on Corinthian Hall with JE Dunn Construction Co.; and created a Visitor Experience Plan with Gallagher & Associates.

This Visitor Experience Plan specifically launches the Museum into the next phase of the project beginning in spring 2018 — exhibition design. The plan identifies six core interpretive and thematic stories that serve as the framework for developing exhibitions and programs that will explore the unfolding stories of Kansas City and its people: 1) Cultural Confluences (Rivers to 1880s); 2) A City Beautiful on the Missouri (1890s to 1930s); 3) Thriving Populations (1890s to 1950s); 4) Decline and Renewal (1950s to 1990s); 5) Cultural Renaissance (1970s to Present); and 6) Our Cities, Our Stories: Past, Present, and Future.

Essential to the exhibit design process will be creating print and digital content for exhibitions and programs. To that end, the Museum will engage local historians, educators, artists, curators, and organizations including Arts & AGEing KC (AAKC). In particular, AAKC will support the process of capturing life and legacy stories of older adults. Focused on creative aging, AAKC envisions people flourishing across the lifespan through participation in a community that is made vibrant by meaningful engagement in the arts. Their process uses life stories as the catalyst for creative expression.

AAKC has collaborated locally, nationally, and internationally in creating programming using theater, music, visual arts, and literature to express participants’ stories. This signature approach benefits both young and old. It directly impacts the epidemic of loneliness and isolation that marginalizes many older adults and brings connection to individuals of all ages by disrupting stereotypes of aging. This methodology will both capture and celebrate the experiences of Kansas Citians. With this collaboration the Kansas City Museum joins a growing list of area organizations working with AAKC.

As stories unfold, so too will this thoughtful collaboration. Details are available at www.kansascitymuseum.org and www.artsandagingkc.org.

–Jamie Braun

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