This is the second post in a week-long series spotlighting Kansas City and Annual Meeting topics leading up to the announcement of the #AASLH18 speakers on Friday.

Read Monday’s post, “Welcome to Speaker Week: Inspiration from Past Annual Meeting Speakers.”

Kansas City is home to more than twenty museums and historic sites, covering everything from art to history to sports to toys and beyond. With so many institutions dedicated to preserving and sharing culture, it’s no surprise that the city has also been well-represented in our awards program through the years. Here are a few of our favorite Kansas City Leadership in History Awards projects.


Toys from the Attic: Stories of American Childhood
The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures and West Office Exhibition Design

Toys from the Attic, the centerpiece of the museum’s permanent exhibits, explores the social and cultural importance of toys in the development of American children by side-stepping perfect specimens and focusing on toys that have been loved. Each ding, dent, and scrape gives a voice to children whose experiences are rarely chronicled in museums, and each section’s historical context and first-person accounts recognize the intentions of parents and manufacturers while featuring individual stories of how children utilized their own agency. The exhibit was designed to engage inter-generational audiences and spark enlightened and captivating exchanges among families and friends, while inviting visitors to experience nostalgia, share memories, and consider the changes and continuities of American childhood in the past century.


Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict, 1854-1865
Kansas City Public Library

The Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict, 1854-1865 website combines original scholarship from historians with a repository of more than 6,000 pages of primary sources. Prior to the website, accessing the documents would have required a trip to twenty-five archives spread across the Missouri-Kansas border and sifting through vast collections. The majority of the documents in the repository had never before been digitized, and they were carefully selected based on the criteria of historical significance and issues relating to preservation. This digitization has allowed public access to primary sources including documents never before viewed by the public. By uncovering new connections, stories, and resources related to the border war, the website also makes professional historians’ latest discoveries and interpretations available to the general public in hopes to encourage deeper research on the topic.


Caring for Body, Mind, and Spirit: The Story of St. Joseph’s Nurses
Piper Memorial Medical Museum, St. Joseph Medical Center, and Svadlenak Museum Consulting

Caring for Body, Mind, and Spirit: The Story of St. Joseph’s Nurses opened in 2014 at the Piper Memorial Medical Museum at St. Joseph Medical Center. This permanent exhibit focuses on the importance and role of St. Joseph’s nurses throughout the hospital’s history and conveys the rich tradition and commitment to compassionate quality health care first established by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. As the oldest private hospital in Kansas City, St. Joseph’s history is a reflection of how the training and practice of nursing has changed since the Sisters opened it in 1874. Major nursing changes are highlighted, including nurse training and credentialing, nursing science advances, and nursing responsibilities. The exhibit draws from the museum’s archival and artifact collections, and includes personal stories of St. Joseph religious and lay nurses. Located in a central hallway of the hospital, this exhibit is highly visible and creates a sense of pride for hospital staff and, for patients and visitors, confidence that they and their family members or friends will be well cared for at St. Joseph.


Have an award-worthy project of your own? Our 2018 deadline for nominations is March 1. Read more and apply today!