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Kansas City Museum strives to be 'home of the whole story'

Kansas City Museum
Posted at 4:07 PM, Jul 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-20 18:33:05-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Museum's doors are open again, after a long wait.

"We were closed for about 3.5-4 years. And the work started back in 2017," Paul Gutierrez, the museum's director of visitor experience and public programming, said.

The first floor evokes a long-gone era from the family that lived in the museum's home.

"Dedicated to the Long's, who built the estate," Gutierrez said.

That first floor tells the history of this property, but on the second and third stories, a 360-degree history of Kansas City unfolds.

It's a storytelling process years in the making.

"The process to be the home of the whole story took about 2.5-3 years," Gutierrez said.

In one second floor exhibit, it tells the story of American Indian tribes being the first residents in the region.

Part of it reads, "Seven tribes on ancestral lands in Missouri, after 1836 there were none. The removal process created upheaval, suffering and death."

"We did about 12 community input sessions throughout the whole city to get feedback from the public," Gutierrez said.

Another second floor exhibit goes in depth on the city's history of systemic racism and discrimination, reading, "entrenched racism affected employment, education, and healthcare, it influenced zoning ordinances, land development, and residential restrictions."

"The good, the bad, and the ugly, in one way, not to blame or shame individuals, but be honest about the history of our city," Gutierrez said.

Whether it's spotlighting the American Indian presence in the Missouri and Kansas regions that became the metropolis it is today, or going into the effects of redlining that are still felt today, this is an experience that gives a voice to every demographic group.

"The feedback has been great, people feeling inclusive and representative," Gutierrez said.

Now open to the public for free four days a week, a museum housed in an old building is taking a new approach to telling the full story of an American city.

"We have a role and civic duty as a history museum to tell the full narrative of our history," Gutierrez said.

The Kansas City Museum is open to the public on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and admission is for free for all.

For more information, people can visit the museum's website.