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!