© 2023 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

A New Era For The Kansas City Museum

File: Susan B. Wilson

Thursday marks a new chapter for the Kansas City Museum. The city’s parks and recreation department takes over management – and a new executive director is on board. 

Since 2012, Anna Marie Tutera has served as executive director of the Wornall/Majors House Museums. Now, she’s taking over leadership of another historic home: Corinthian Hall.

The former residence of lumber baron R. A. Long and his family, Corinthian Hall is located in the city's historic northeast. It's housed the Kansas City Museum since 1940.

"I was born in the northeast, and the northeast was a huge part of my childhood and my upbringing," says Tutera, who grew up in a house just across the street from the museum.

Extensive renovations are underway, and the city has invested more than $10 million in the facility over the last five years. It’s estimated about $20 million more is needed to complete the project.

"It really can be both a community museum and a tourist destination. And I really see it as an anchor in the community and a hub in the community," says Tutera. "And it should inspire civic dialogue and civic engagement. And I believe it already does."

Tutera says she’s in the learning and listening process, to understand what’s transpired and the challenges ahead. She starts her new role as executive director at the Kansas City Museum on May 19.

After years of discussion, an agreement signed in December 2013 transferred management of the city-owned museum from Union Station.

"The park board is taking this on with a lot of optimism, as far as the future of the museum," says parks director Mark McHenry. "It’s had its challenges in the past. I think this will be a good new day for the KC Museum."

McHenry says the last few months have been spent in transition, putting curatorial and programming staff on the city payroll, and making sure the city's equipped to "store, protect and preserve the collection."

The parks and recreation department is already involved with other city cultural assets, from the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial to the Black Archives of Mid-America.

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and powerful storytelling.
Your donation helps make nonprofit journalism available for everyone.