Nelson-Atkins Building

Architecture & History

When the massive Beaux Art Nelson-Atkins’ Building opened in 1933, newspapers nationwide reported visitors “amazed,” “gasping at its innovations and marveling at its luxury.”  Still, times being the Great Depression, operations were modest: only three telephones serviced the entire building; lights in the galleries were turned off when people left a room; at opening and closing times, a huge bell was rung manually.

Though the Museum has grown its collection, its audience—its telephones––just as in 1933, bringing people together with art is central to all current Museum endeavors. And that goes for the major campus transformation project, the new Bloch Building as its jewel. It is merely a tool—a glorious one, true—but still, a tool for human experience with great art.

Learn more about the history of the people who founded the Museum, the community who enjoys and supports it, and the buildings that house one of the nation’s most outstanding art collections.
A New Nelson-Atkins
Where the power of art engages the spirit of community
© 2015 The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
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