Local Kansas City history resources

Here’s where to go to find out where we came from.

Photo of the KCPL Central Library

Don’t judge a library by its cover.

Photo by KCtoday

Kansas City is no stranger to historical institutions and national museums — and while many of these no doubt have strong ties to KC, sometimes we want a closer look at local history.

Thankfully, reader Anne S. asked where she could dig into the local past, and we aim to please.

Answered: Here are 20 resources for local history — from exhibits to special collections and published works.

18th and Vine museums, multiple locations
This district is home to the American Jazz Museum, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, and the Black Archives of Mid-America.

Jackson County Historical Society, 112 W. Lexington Ave., Independence, MO
Located inside the Historic Truman Courthouse, this group also organizes the 1859 Jail Museum.

Johnson County Museum, 8788 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, KS
In addition to locally focused exhibits, this museum’s expanded digital collection, called JoCoHistory, serves as a hub for Johnson County archives, historical societies, and libraries.

Kansas City Museum, 3218 Gladstone Blvd., Kansas City, MO
This organization operates the history and humanities-based exhibits at Corinthian Hall and the by-appointment exhibits at the Garment District Museumat 801 Broadway Blvd., KCMO.

KC_Garment District Museum.jpg

Located just across the street from the giant needle + button sculpture.

Photo by KCtoday

Kansas City Public Library, multiple locations
Check out special web-centered collaborative efforts, like Missouri Valley Special Collections, Civil War on the Western Border, and The Pendergast Years.

Kansas City Kansas Public Library, multiple locations
The Kansas Collection showcases history stories based in KCK.

Mid-Continent Public Library, multiple locations
This library network serves the greater metro area, with locations in Platte, Clay, and Jackson counties. In addition to history books, this library specializes in local genealogy and offers educational sessions.

Museums at Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport, multiple locations
The Airline History Museum looks into KC’s role in modern air travel, and the TWA Museum takes a close look at this former KC-based airline.

Museum at Prairiefire, 5801 W. 135th St., Overland Park, KS
This interactive museum offers nature-based exhibits with local history focuses.

Photo of Prairiefire Museum in Overland Park

Who knew learning could be so pretty?

Photo by @tingxting13

Riverfront Heritage Trail, locations vary
This bi-state multi-use path serves as an educational storytelling tool as well — with strategically located plaques and signs regarding significant moments in KC’s early days.

Wyandotte County Historical Museum, 631 N. 126th St., Bonner Springs, KS
See exhibits, like “The Origins of Kansas City, Kansas,” or schedule an appointment to dig into the archives.

Honorable mentions

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