Plans are afoot and fundraising well-underway for a major expansion of the exhibit facilities at the Liberty Memorial. Already, the murals inside "Memory Hall" have been carefully restored.
The towers of the Crown Center complex are visable on the left side of the photo.
The Liberty Memorial was built in the early 1920s as a monument to American soldiers who fought in World War I. It was also intended to be a symbol of a "new era" of international peace and co-operation that the First World War was supposed to have inaugurated. Funds for the memorial were raised entirely by private individuals in the Kansas City region, construction was started within a few months of the end of the war, and the Memorial was dedicated in early 1921. The dedication ceremony was attended by American Commander in Chief General Pershing (a native Missourian), French Marshall Foch, and British First Sea Lord Earl Beatty, among others.
The Liberty Memorial was designed by New York architect H. Van Buren Magonigle in a severe and austere monumental style. (It's not exactly Classical; perhaps neo-Egyptian?) I have to admit that I am fond of its severity and austerity, which I think are entirely appropriate for its subject matter.
Not too many people in the US know about World War I anymore, however, and the difficult thing for the Liberty Memorial's preservers has been getting enough people to care about it in order to ensure that there are enough funds for it to be maintained.
The Liberty Memorial is the country's only memorial dedicated to the veterans of World War I.
It has an extensive museum of artifacts from The Great War. The Tower is open to the public. It provides you with a great view of Kansas City. The grounds of the memorial are equally impressive. Two statues, "The Sphinxes," guard the entrance. There's also a stone frieze (one of the largest in the world) that depicts the progression from war to peace.
Admission to both the museum and the tower is only $5.
When I first arrived in Kansas City, we saw this tower and it reminded me of the Coit Tower in San Francisco. But upon closer examination, this Tower has a very different look --- with Egyptian motifs. It was being renovated most of the time while I lived in KCMO, but later on I did see the finished tower and museum...
The tower memorial is also known as the National Symbol for World War I, housing a WWI museum designated on September 21, 2006 by the Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne as a National Historic Landmark. Architecturally, the memorial shows an Egyptian inspiration with two sphinxes. The park around it is also a great place to have a spectacular view of the city.
Not to be missed when in Kansas City...and then head off to the nearby Union Station (old train station renovated with good restaurants and stores) for good food.
100 W 26th St
Kansas City, MO 64108
Add Photos First to Review Billy A.
This is one a few WWI memorials and it may be fading unless someone come up with money soon. They have a museum that took 5 years to prepare of construct. Inside is some old memorabilia and a tank, as well as a reenactment of what a trench looked like. They have been collecting artifacts since right after WWI. There is a main part and entry area featuring some of the history. Another adjacent building houses other war items and maps of the time.
Update March 2009-We came here again, and it is a great museum to visit. I imagine it takes a normal tour around 3 hours just to see it all and go up the 217 feet tower. A much improved museum and sites makes you feel proud to be an American and be in KC for one of a few memorials to WWI. Price is $8 for the museum and $12 for combined trip includes the tower. Seniors is lower at $10. There are 3 separate parts of the museum; one in the main building, and two others at the top of the walkway. The inside has artillery pieces, a WWI tank and many/many artifact of the period and the war. It is a nice display of the evolution and step by step to the end to end all wars. Ha
There are stone and sculpted structures on the grounds that are simply fabulous. These monuments were part of the overall memorial that was completed in 1926, only 5 years after the war. The cost then was $2.5 million and was raised in 2 weeksThe tower along with exhibit halls are on the top level deck, and they are all smooth faced limestone, being very elegant appearance art deco. The flame at the top of the tower was a long time memory of people to remember the war. It flamed out when the memorial was closed back in around 1970's. Then when renovation ws completed, the gas flame was started again, but due to danger potential and costs, ti became a lighted color with plastic wrapping to look somewhat authentic.
General Black-Jack Pershing himself was in attendance when this monument was dedicated in the 1920s. I have heard that it is the only memorial in the country dedicated to the veterans of World War I. There is a museum, an elevator ride to the top of the monument, and wonderful views of Kansas City's Union Station and the skyline.
The features in this museum are very super and need close attention to all the artifacts that are displayed. The bigger items are the French tank and some artillery pieces. Many smaller period items are neat to view. The circular pattern of the main museum is well laid out. Besides this museum, there are two exhibit hall that feature some real interesting murals, maps and memorabilia. The nearly 10,000 poppies that are planted at the museum entrance under a clear plastic walkway, represents 9,000 dead soldiers for each poppy.
These two buildings from 1926 seemed relatively unchanged since completion back then. They take you back in time, and the reverence of those that sacrificed themselves, and those that led to victory. Not only the US Gen Pershing were famous, but all of Europe was engulfed in the war a lot more than us. The losses were close to 20 million for soldiers and same of civilians. These maps and murals are memories that make the viewer sad but remembering.
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