Exploring the Museum Visitor Experience

breiby@growyourgiving.org Individual & Family Giving

Kansas City is lucky to have several accommodating and innovative museums across the metropolitan area. At a recent Donor-to-Donor, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation donors gathered to hear from several Kansas City museums that are in various stages of capital campaigns and are working to provide the best possible experience for visitors.

Representatives from the National World War I Museum and Memorial, Wonderscope, the Truman Library Institute and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art participated in a panel moderated by Community Foundation President & CEO Debbie Wilkerson to discuss how their museums are utilizing innovative approaches and designs to engage all generations of visitors.

The National World War I Museum and Memorial recently completed a $1 million technology upgrade that began in 2015. It also debuted one of the world’s largest war-related paintings in a new exhibit gallery space. In a recent refresh of the museum’s strategic plan, museum attendance has increased 64 percent in the last five years.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art has close ties with the Bloch family, prominent Kansas City philanthropists. Early last year, those ties grew even stronger when the Bloch family gifted $12 million to the museum to finance the renovation of the Bloch Galleries, which now permanently house 29 works of art from the Bloch family home.

Nelson-Atkins Board of Trustees member Maurice Watson shared that “there is no better example of donor passion than that of the Bloch family. Henry and Marion Bloch have an enduring love affair with Kansas City and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.”

Wonderscope, a hands-on museum for children, recently launched a $12 million capital campaign to build a new facility to better serve children and their families. The museum is in a unique position as it has remained focused on improving their current museum experience while simultaneously designing the visitor experience at the new location.

Alex Burden, Executive Director of the Truman Library Institute, shared how the library balances unique partnerships between private and public foundations as well as the federal government. Burden also shared how the library is utilizing the latest technology to allow visitors to experience the White House and the Oval Office through virtual reality.

Backed by passionate local philanthropists, Kansas City’s museums will continue to provide an exceptional experience for visitors from Kansas City and around the world.

Authored by: Ashley Hawkins, Content Specialist