In the spotlight today is one of my favorite places: The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial.
|Liberty Memorial (during maintenance)|
The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial is the United States' one and only World War I museum. It was that way from the beginning and in 2004 the Memorial finally got designated by Congress as the nation's one and only official World War I museum. The official museum website has a great brief history at the Museum and Memorial page but, in brief, Kansas Citians rallied after the war ended to memorialize the sacrifices made by those who served during The Great War. In a mere 10 days, Kansas City raised over $2 million to create this memorial.
The Memorial suffered after many years and fell into disrepair and was eventually closed due to dangerous conditions in different parts of the Memorial. But in 1998, Kansas Citians rallied once again, this time to save the Memorial. Restoration of the Memorial began and the Memorial was re-opened to the public in 2006 at a grand celebration.
I was just 29 years old when the Memorial was scheduled to re-open on May 25, 2002. My son was twelve that year. On a whim, we got in the car the day of the re-dedication and went to watch the festivities. Many famous people were there making speeches, Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts paraded around the circle drive along with military units, retired military and many local bands. And I believe, if my memory serves me correctly, it was even attended by one of the last surviving World War I veterans at that time. Little did I realize that was to be the beginning of my fascination with the Memorial. I have since begun volunteering at this wonderful museum. It's amazing to be surrounded by so many fantastically preserved artifacts. The amount of information housed in the museum is overwhelming at times. I learn something new every time I work a volunteer shift.
The Memorial was built in the style of Egyptian revival. There are two sphinxes on the deck of the Memorial and four Guardian Spirits which circle the Memorial tower.
|One of the two sphinxes on the Memorial deck|
|One of the four Guardian Spirits on the tower|
|One of two satellite exhibit buildings. These were original to the Memorial.|
|A view of the poppy field from the glass bridge on the main level|
Another rarely viewed jewel of the Memorial is the Great Frieze on the north wall of the Memorial. Many people simply don't take the time to walk down the stairs at either side of the deck to see this beautiful carving. Keep walking all the way down past the Great Frieze to Pershing Road in front of the Memorial and you'll get to see the bronze busts of the five Allied leaders present during the original site dedication.
There is so much to see and experience at the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial. I highly recommend taking advantage of the fact that the ticket is good for two days. The cost of the ticket is well worth what's there. Before going I recommend looking at their website so you have an idea of what to expect.