The Kansas City Museum has been actively collecting historical materials for 76 years, and we continue to participate in innovative collecting initiatives that will grow the collection and enrich content for programs and exhibitions.

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The Kansas City Museum is proud to announce that it is one of ten partner organizations in the United States to participate in “Latinos and Baseball: In the Barrios and the Big Leagues,” a multiyear collecting initiative launched by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The initiative will identify artifacts that reflect the social and cultural influence of the game on Latino communities. A press release from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History was issued in July. A press release from the Kansas City Museum was issued on July 12, 2016.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is seeking to document stories from across the U.S. and Puerto Rico and plans to collect a number of objects that could include baseball equipment, stadium signs, game memorabilia, food vendor signs, home movies, period photographs, and more. Curators will select objects based on the stories they represent as well as insight into personal, community, and national narratives involving the national pastime. In addition to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, other Smithsonian participation includes the Smithsonian Latino Center, Smithsonian Affiliations, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. The goal of the Smithsonian’s collecting initiative is to work towards the development of a traveling exhibition centered on Latinos and baseball by 2020.

“Baseball has played a major role in everyday American life since the 1800s, providing a means of celebrating both national and ethnic identities and building communities,” John Gray, Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, said. “Through the lens of baseball, the Smithsonian seeks to illuminate the rich history and culture of Latinos and their impact on American culture and society.”

“I am excited to be involved with the partnership of the Kansas City Museum and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History to tell the story of Mexican Americans and other Latinos in baseball,” Dr. Gene T. Chávez, Curator for the Kansas City Museum, said. “Kansas City has long been a baseball town, and Latinos have had a tremendous role in the game. It is time to share their contributions with the nation.” Kansas City Museum Executive Director Anna Marie Tutera said, “With Kansas City’s World Series status and the new Urban Youth Academy in Parade Park under development thanks to the Kansas City Royals and the Kansas City Power & Light, the Kansas City Museum is proud to showcase Kansas City through this new partnership with the Smithsonian. Our 2015 exhibition, Mexican American Fast Pitch Softball Leagues: Connecting Communities Across State Lines, has inspired us to contribute local stories to a national narrative.”

On August 12 & 13, the Kansas City Museum hosted free collecting initiative events aimed to identify local objects donated or loaned to the collections of both the Kansas City Museum and the Smithsonian. Please see below for details. Over the next year, the Kansas City Museum will continue to work with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and local cultural organizations to collect materials.

HOW TO DONATE
If you are interested in donating materials, please contact either Denise Morrison, Director of Collections and Curatorial Services, at the Kansas City Museum at denise.morrison@kcmo.org or Dr. Gene Chavez, Curator, Kansas City Museum at gtchavez45@gmail.com.

PAST COLLECTING EVENTS

Friday, August 12, 2016:  All events were at the Kansas City Museum (3218 Gladstone Blvd., KCMO 64123)

1:30 to 3:30 p.m. WELCOME AND PANEL DISCUSSION

This session included opportunities for attendees to share their stories, ask panelists questions, engage in informal discussions, and talk to authors about their books. Panel moderator was Dr. Gene T. Chávez, Curator, Kansas City Museum. Panelists included:

  • Eduardo Díaz, Director, Smithsonian Latino Center
  • L. Steven Velasquez, Associate Curator, Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Division of Home and Community Life
  • Jorge Iber, Ph.D., Professor and Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Texas Technology University; Director of the Mexican
    American/Latino, American West/Southwest, U.S. Sports. He has recently written Mike Torrez, A Baseball Biography.
  • Ben Chappell, Ph.D., Professor and Director, American Studies, Kansas University. He is a frequent presenter on “Mexican American Fastpitch: Identity at Play in Mid-América.”
  • Diego Seguí, Former MLB Player for New York Yankees and other teams.
  • Paul Briones, Nephew of Tony Aguirre, discussed the role of women’s softball in the Latino community.
  • Richard Santillán, Ph.D., Author of Mexican-Americans in Baseball, discussed his book series and conducted a book signing.

3:30 to 5:30 p.m. BOOK SIGNING AND COLLECTING HISTORICAL MATERIALS
Book signing and collecting of artifacts and archival materials by the Kansas City Museum and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

5:30 to 6:45 p.m. RECEPTION
Reception with live music from Pablo Sanhueza & Trio, food catered by La Fonda El Taquito, and beverages.

7:00 to 9:00 p.m. SUMMER CONCERT 
Summer concert with Enrique and Diego from Making Movies.

Saturday, August 13, 2016: All events were at Penn Valley Park (2698 Main St., KCMO 64108) and the Kansas City Museum (3218 Gladstone Blvd., KCMO 64123)

10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. MEMORIAL AND EXHIBITION GAMES
2nd Annual “Los Sabios” Memorial Fast Pitch Softball Games with former local players and All-Star Exhibition Game with the Westside Latina Softball League at Waxie Hernandez Field in Penn Valley Park.

12:00 to 1:45 p.m. LUNCH AND COLLECTING HISTORICAL MATERIALS
Lunch at Penn Valley Park with San Antonio food truck and beverages.
Collecting of artifacts and archival materials by the Kansas City Museum and Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

2:00 to 3:00 p.m. BUS TOUR
Narrated bus tour of the community to bring people to important historical sites in Kansas City’s Mexican American barrios, starting from and ending at Penn Valley Park.

3:30 to 5:30 p.m. RECEPTION AND COLLECTING HISTORICAL MATERIALS
Reception for former and current players, with food catered by Rudy’s Tenampa Taqueria and beverages.
Collecting of artifacts and archival materials by the Kansas City Museum and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

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