Friday, May 17, 2013

A visit to the "National World War 1 Museum" at "Liberty Memorial"

I've been trying to re-visit places I wanted to see again when I'm having "good days" and someone to go with me. I hadn't been to the "Liberty Memorial" since early 70's when I talked my Dad into actually going into the two exhibition halls that were there instead of just photographing it from the outside. The docent at the time said they could only display about 10% of the collection they had then because there just wasn't room in the two small halls on either side of the Memorial tower with its eternal flame.

That gas flame used to be visible for much of the city, until it was ordered to be extinguished during the first energy crisis. They have tried several versions of steam and light since; some night I'll have to venture out to see how the newest one does.

By the turn of this century the decking around the Memorial had fallen into disrepair and it was decided that along with the repair, a new museum facility would be built. They excavated the mall and built the new museum under the old Memorial and its exhibition halls. It has since been designated the "National World War 1 Museum". Hopefully some of the photos I shot will roll by in the Flickr feed as you read this-they really don't do it justice, but just hint at all that lies there.

Dottie and I spent 6 hours there on Tuesday; the admission actually covers 2 days and if you took time to read all of the tags and information and explore the interactive exhibits, you could easily spend that long. If she had been off on Wednesday I'd have returned in a heartbeat!

When I go back (and I do plan to) I'll try to photograph more of it. They have replica trenches set up to resemble those of the different armies at different points; as you look inside the occupants speak to you. They have 2 movies, an introduction when you first arrive and a second that explains America's entry during which you are sitting overlooking another set of trenches.

I shed more than a few tears at various points through my afternoon. Though I knew a lot of the history, I learned things I didn't as well. I only took time at one of the interactive displays which was about what was going on in Kansas City during the war.

After we went through the new museum and stopped for something to eat in the cafe (and poor Dottie had to slip out and get me a fresh oxygen bottle while I got to sit and take a break) we used the elevator to go up to the old Memorial level and visit the original Exhibition and Memorial halls; these now display rotating exhibits. Currently one has a collection called "The Road to War". The other has items that had belonged to various Kansas City soldiers, nurses and entertainers; some who made it home, and some who didn't. Very poignant!

As they closed we went back out on the deck and I shot some photographs looking north of the downtown skyline. If you see it, the large building in the foreground is Union Station, now a destination in it's own right with many museums inside and Science City, as well as traveling exhibitions as well.

With the centennial of "The War to End All Wars" coming next year, I had thought it good to go now, ahead of what I think may be some crowds. Now I'm not sure I'll be able to stay away!

May the week be kind to each of you!



Sassy said...

I'm glad you got to do something you wanted to do. And that you had the energy to do it. :)

May your weekend be kind to you, Alan!

Doris said...

Those places are most poignant. Great that you got out to do something interesting.

robin andrea said...

That was quite a journey, alan. Really glad you had the energy to go.

JaynaPavlin said...

amazing structure!

Green Tea said...

It has been a while since I checked any of the blogs.
I haven't blogged in over a year.
I am so sorry to hear what you have been going through, and right now my husband is also dealing with cancer.
I guess I will never understand why they haven't come up with better diagnostic tools. By the time he had any symptoms he was already stage 4.
Will add you to the prayer list Alan

Kranki said...

Great to see you out and about even though it means tanks and hoses and such. Sounds like a wonderful but intense museum. Not my cup of tea but I'm sure my dad would love it. Too bad we are so far away. I hope you are keeping well and the chemo isn't too terrible. You are constantly in my thoughts.

Coline said...

I will let you know when I have pictures up from my next exhibition in the autumn which is about the first world war battlefield landscapes around Ypres in Belgium. Not a country with good memories for my family, father lost a leg in ww2 and his uncle was gassed in ww1!

Good to see you out and about.

Gimme a sign said...

Thinking of you often, Alan, and hoping that you are well.