Kansas City, Missouri is home to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, today’s “Museum of the Day”.
As I tour around the United States via the internet searching for this blog, I find all kinds of museums (known or not) that I want to visit! This great art museum in the Midwest has always been on my list, but the new Bloch Building addition that opened in 2007 makes it one of most visually engaging museums, architecturally speaking.
The Bloch Building has been called a process unfolding, a magical response to the landscape and to the original building. The design by Steven Holl Architects was chosen for its unique solution to the Museum’s problem: how to provide more space without compromising the original 1933 Nelson-Atkins Building.
What was created becomes a sculptural addition to the landscape of the museum. The addition solved the need while adding visual interest to the art museum.
The story of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is rich with characters, collectors and curators. It began in the late 1800s and early 1900s, when the edge of Kansas City was still north of the current Museum. It began because a Kansas City newspaperman developed a hunger for refinement at about the same time that a widowed schoolteacher fell in love with the art museums of Europe.
The large financial estates they left were intended to create two separate art museums, but trustees later combined their assets to fund what is today a world-renowned art museum, the Nelson-Atkins. It would take brilliant architects, art historians, curators and community leaders to turn the dreams of William Rockhill Nelson and Mary Atkins into reality.
Worth the airfare for its history and great collections alone, the museum’s new building is like the icing on the cake.
There are many great and unusual museum experiences in Missouri. I can’t wait to visit!