Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

What's New at Kansas City's Museums in 2024

From grand openings and renovations to new exhibits and historic artifacts, there are major changes coming to Kansas City’s museums this year.

Highlights include the grand opening at the new Rabbit hOle museum, more renovations at the Kansas City Museum and the National WWI Museum and Memorial, plus a historic exhibit with local ties at Union Station.

Whether you’re a museum veteran or a first-time visitor, there’s plenty for everyone to see. Here are some of the biggest updates at Kansas City’s cultural institutions.

What's New

Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum

Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum

The Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum in the historic pilot’s hometown of Atchison, Kansas, opened a new exhibit, “Wings of Innovation: Women Breaking Barriers in Aerospace,” running through the summer.

Visitors can meet real-life Rosie the Riveters from the World War II era while learning their stories of success and sacrifice.

Nearby at the Amelia Earhart Airport, the city is expanding the runway, set to open later in 2024. But don’t worry, the museum is still open.

Black Archives of Mid-America Kansas City

The Black Archives of Mid-America Kansas City is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The nonprofit collects and preserves materials on Black history in Kansas City, making them available as a resource to the community.

The organization recently received and dedicated a 12-foot mural of H.W. Sewing, the founder of Douglass State Bank, the first Black-owned bank in Kansas. It’s now on display.

Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum

The Truman Library Institute is planning to transform the grounds of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum, making it a national heritage site. Leaders plan to add walking trails, war memorials, a monument sign, landscaping and improve the memorial courtyard.

Kansas City Museum

Kansas City Museum

Elixir, the Kansas City Museum’s posh soda fountain, officially opened to the public this year. The museum is partnering with local restaurants and coffee shops for Elixir’s menu.

Even better, after finishing renovation of Corinthian Hall in 2021, the Kansas City Museum is also now working with architects to restore the Carriage House. It will include a new weathervane, a SkySpace and the JewelHouse.

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

The Kemper Museum is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and to celebrate, its new exhibit “New Acquisitions” highlights pieces it has acquired since 2022.

Missouri Model Railroad Museum

This new railroad museum in Independence will hold its soft opening on National Train Day, of course, with a grand opening on the horizon.

The Missouri Model Railroad Museum, located in the Waggoner Gates Mill, will tell the history of railroads in the state and region, featuring model displays, artifacts and more.

Meanwhile, the National Frontier Trails Museum, which used to be located in the Waggoner Gates Mill, is temporarily set up in the Truman Memorial Building as it awaits a new, bigger facility.

National Museum of Toys and Miniatures

A new exhibit just opened at this beloved Kansas City museum. “Art of the Imagination” features creative pieces to challenge the viewer to reconsider the ordinary as extraordinary.

The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures will also offer a three-day children’s camp this summer, encouraging imagination and creativity with museum artists and staff.

National WWI Museum and Memorial

National WWI Museum and Memorial

The National WWI Museum already unveiled a slew of upgrades, but the work doesn’t stop there. The museum has more projects ahead into 2025.

The museum is now offering 3D virtual reality experiences, including one that will transport guests to the Western Front of WWI.

Museum leaders are also putting finishing touches on their “In the Trenches” displays, making them more interactive. This year, the museum also plans to add a new field hospital display, an immersive film projected on a battle crater and more.

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum recently announced it will become the new home to the cleats from a vandalized Jackie Robinson statue. The statue made headlines earlier this year when it was stolen from a Kansas park, leaving only the base and cleats remaining.

The cleats will now be on display as part of the museum’s Jackie Robinson exhibit, as the NLBM works to teach fans about the pioneers of Black baseball. 

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Nelson Atkins Museum of Art

Amid its permanent collections, the Nelson-Atkins has some impressive new exhibits open this summer.

The upcoming “Niki de Saint Phalle: Rebellion and Joy” exhibit features works in two- and three-dimension that resonate with visitors of all ages. Most of her pieces on display have never been seen before in the U.S.

The museum also recently received a major gift and a $100,000 award. “A Religious Allegory on the Death of a Young Woman” is the last known work by celebrated painter Maria Cosway and only the second piece of her work in a North American public collection.

The Nelson received a $100,000 award to fund conservation efforts for Ursula von Rydingsvard’s monumental sculpture Three Bowls.

The Rabbit hOle

This new, immersive museum in North Kansas City is bringing children’s literature to life. The Rabbit hOle is already making national headlines, and its grand opening celebration sold out.

But the Rabbit hOle isn’t done dreaming. Leaders are already working on new exhibits and updates since there are two more floors of the building waiting to be filled in the future.

Science City

One of the country’s top 25 science centers, Science City at Union Station is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2024. The Kansas City attraction just unveiled a new robotics-themed exhibit and is working on another new illusions experience, too. 

Union Station

Walt Disney began his animation career right in the heart of Kansas City. He established his first professional business, the Laugh-O-gram Studio, on East 31st Street. There, he found the inspiration for Mickey Mouse.

This year, Disney’s history and impact will come to Kansas City again as “Disney100: The Exhibition” takes over Union Station, opening May 24. Kansas City is one of the first three cities to host the historic North American tour. The exhibit features over 250 artifacts, props and costumes spanning 10 galleries.

21c Museum Hotel

This unique Kansas City hotel is about to open its newest art exhibit, “The Future is Female,” and it’s free for the public to explore. The new exhibit at 21c Museum Hotel highlights contemporary definitions of female identity and experience through the works of feminist artists.