When Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art opened to the public in 1933, it was viewed as a miracle, an oasis of culture in a Midwestern town whose image was still largely one of cowboys and steaks. In an engaging style, Kristie Wolferman tells the history of the Nelson-Atkins from its founding to the present day, a fascinating combination of people, events, and circumstances that culminated in an art museum that now holds its own among the finest in the world.
Wolferman begins by relaying how the trustees of the estates of the reclusive widow Mary Atkins and the family of Kansas City Star newspaper editor William Rockhill Nelson joined forces to establish a museum from scratch, then goes on to consider all of the highly talented people who directed and staffed the Nelson-Atkins along the way, their efforts resulting in many bold innovations, among them new collections, grounds, and educational programs and offerings.
With 100 color and black and white photographs, this book will be treasured by all who love and admire this remarkable institution, one that attracts half a million visitors—from across the city, state, nation, and world—each year.
This is a co-publication of the University of Missouri Press and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.