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For The Nelson-Atkins Museum Of Art, It All Started With A Humble Brick

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Nelson Atkins In 1940
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Shown here, in 1940, is the north façade of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art 7 years after its establishment.

The early history of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is recounted in a new exhibition called "Origins: Collecting to Create the Nelson-Atkins."

The first piece to enter the museum's collection was — believe it or not — a brick.

Early trustees of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art partnered with the Louvre in Paris to uncover ancient art on an archeological dig in Iraq. A brick from the dig was the first thing delivered back to Kansas City.

For the trustees, it turned out to be the transformative item that prompted the question, "what kind of museum do we want to be?"

An archivist and provenance specialist with the museum discuss the fascinating beginnings of the Nelson-Atkins, and what visitors can expect when they visit the exhibit.

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