Treasures of Kansas City’s Nelson Art Gallery Part I Photography

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The museum was built in 1933, and the original art was purchased from the estates of William Rockhill Nelson and Mary Macafee Atkins both of prominent Kansas City families. The museum opened in the height of the great depression and has always been free. (although donations are graciously accepted). Even some of the readers who are native Kansas Citians might be surprised to know that up until 1983, the museum was actually two different galleries in the same building and didn’t formally combine until that year.

Don’t even think of coming to Kansas City without visiting the Nelson-Atkins Museum.

In 2007, the museum became over 50% larger with an addition of the Bloch galleries. These galleries contain contemporary and African art exhibits as well as one of the largest photography exhibits in the nation. The Hall family who was founders of Hallmark Cards donated their entire photography collection to the museum. The array is so vast, it is continuously being rotated. This assures the visitors to seeing different photographs with every visit.

The museum has galleries covering American and European art. There is also a small collection of Roman and Egyptian, and Native American works as well.  The two groups the gallery is most well known for are the photography and Asian Art. For today’s post, I wanted to focus on the photography collection (pun not intended). Tomorrow, I will post about the photos of the Asian Art, as well as a few pictures of some of the other collections too.

The photography galleries include newspaper photographs, historical photos as well as the collections of many independent photographers.

The extensive collection includes black and white as well as color photographs. They cover from the mid-1800s to the present day. This is a tiny sample of the collection, but I want to just post the additional photos without any further comments. Not because I have no thoughts on them. Just the opposite. It’s just that art like this, especially photography should be subjective,  So enjoy the sample.



PS If you ever come to KC let me know, maybe we can go to the Nelson together. I never tire of visiting there.

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