Select materials from the collection are on display only during special exhibitions. For more information on exhibitions at the Kansas City Museum, at the Historic Garment District Museum, and in the community, please visit Exhibitions in the menu bar of this website or call (816) 513-0726. 

The Kansas City Museum is owned by the City of Kansas City, Missouri and operated and managed by the City of Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation Department. While the collection is owned by both the City of Kansas City, Missouri and Union Station Kansas City, Inc., the collection is managed, cared for, and maintained by professional staff of the Kansas City Museum who are employees of the Parks and Recreation Department.

Containing over 100,000 objects, the historical artifacts and archives of the collection offer a rich sampling of Kansas City’s local and regional history while representing the daily lives of past generations, from the mundane to the extravagant. Encyclopedic in nature, there are several core collection groups.

The Archives
A significant component of the collection is the Archives, which contain a wide variety of documentary source materials. Of particular note are the photograph collections, featuring the entire output of local photographer Warner Untersee of Warner Studio; film collections including the earliest footage known to exist of Kansas City taken by George Curtiss, as well as television news footage of the 1960s-70s; manuscript collections featuring the former city archives collection of George Fuller Green as well as business and organizational records, family papers of several local families, and many other ephemeral collections. The Archives is also home to a strong collection of local aviation materials.

Clothing and Textiles Collection
The Museum has one of the largest and best represented collections of clothing materials in the Midwest, with everything from couture gowns to day dresses, uniforms to overalls, shoes to hats and everything in between. Additionally, the collection includes examples of many kinds of quilts and coverlets.

Garment District Collection
The Kansas City Museum is now home to the Historic Garment District Museum’s collection of historic clothing and archives. Clothing examples made by local companies from the 1920s through the 1970s are included, with over 350 garments in the collection plus numerous objects such as equipment and marketing pieces. The collection  highlights about a dozen companies who helped make up Kansas City’s garment district, one of the largest in the nation.

Loula Long Combs Collection
A legendary figure of Kansas City, Mrs. Combs was the first lady of the show horse world and daughter of Robert Alexander Long, owner of Corinthian Hall (now the Kansas City Museum). Loula’s collection encompasses artifacts from both her personal and professional lives, including carriages and tack, trophies and ribbons, clothing and accessories, and archival collections of photographs, film, and family memorabilia.

Medical Collection
In 2015, the Kansas City Museum added one of the best medical collections in the Midwest to its holdings. The Donald Piper Memorial Medical Museum is a 15,000 plus strong collection of instruments, archives and ephemera related to the St. Joseph Hospital in particular, and Kansas City medical history overall. The collection of St. Joseph Hospital is part medical history and part corporate history, and includes everything from doctor’s bags to delicate baby respirators. It has unusual items as well as numerous examples of mundane items showing the progression of technological improvement.

Firefighting Collection
The partnership with the Kansas City Fire Historical Society brings with it a collection of firefighting equipment, memorabilia, and records. This is a great addition to the unique collection of trophies, badges, and memorabilia of Fire Chief George Hale.

Transportation Collection
One of the fastest growing collection groups is in transportation and contains a large collection of rail memorabilia, automobiles, a homemade motorcycle from the turn of the century, the Loula Long Combs carriage collection, and a rare Butler Blackhawk airplane.

Daniel and Ida Dyer Collection of Native American Culture
An Indian Agent in 1870s Indian territory, Dyer and his wife Ida continued to amass artifacts from every native culture in North America up until the time of his death in 1912. This collection is known for its many outstanding examples of tribal life with strong emphasis on Southern Plains tribes.

Donations
The Kansas City Museum maintains a growing Collection, adding hundreds of objects every year, many coming from the community. If you are interested in making a gift to the Collection, please contact Director of Collections and Curatorial Services Denise Morrison at denise.morrison@kcmo.org or (816) 513-7569.

Research
Appointments to research the artifacts and archives may be made between 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, based on staff availability, by contacting Denise Morrison at denise.morrison@kcmo.org or (816) 513-7569. Requesting an appointment by voice mail or email does not guarantee confirmation; please allow up to two weeks for an appointment to be made and confirmed.

Rights and Reproduction
To learn more about requesting high-resolution reproductions of artifacts and archival materials, please contact Denise Morrison at denise.morrison@kcmo.org or (816) 513-7569.

 

 

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