The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City

4.7
#2 of 14 in Museums in Kansas City
Renowned for the building's neoclassical architecture and impressive permanent collection of Asian art, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is beloved by Kansas City visitors and locals alike. The museum's Beaux Arts architecture style was inspired by the Cleveland Museum of Art and designed by architects Wight and Wight. A schoolteacher and art lover named Mary Atkins left money for the construction of this museum in 1911, and, though it was originally two separate galleries, the sites merged into one museum in 1983. While the museum is best known and celebrated for its extensive collection of Asian works, especially pieces from imperial China, it also boasts numerous American and European paintings, as well as photography and visiting exhibitions. This site hosts balls, speaker series, and other events year round. Using our international travel planner, Kansas City attractions like The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
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The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Reviews
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  • August 12, 2017
    We were at an estate sale and asked if there was a good place to have lunch nearby and she suggested the museum across the street. It was great food but the museum is world class. It would take hours ...  more »
  • August 11, 2017
    I visited on a Sunday with my daughters (high school and college age) We had an amazing day, not crowded, beautiful art. The museum is arranged well for easy traffic flow through the exhibits. Everyon...  more »
  • August 10, 2017
    Tell me what major city can you go to and be able to tour their art museum for free? The Nelson Atkins is every bit as awesome as the Chicago Art museum with rotating exhibits throughout the year. Wor...  more »
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  • June 8, 2017
    OMG there displays were breathtaking. You will not finish all the museum in one tour. They have displays, paintings, alleys to take wonderful picks at. It's amazing. I took my grown kids and they had fun, reading the information about the artist or why certain items were placed in each painting. If you are into art appreciation, you'll love it!
  • May 9, 2017
    The artwork is phenomenal.. the art guides are very educational about the art... they offer wonderful exhibits.. if you love art you will love this place even if you don't love art it's an awesome place to visit. They have a really beautiful restaurant that is historic. I would highly recommend that everybody busy at the Nelson Art Gallery.
  • May 8, 2017
    Very nice museum. I spent over 2 hours here admiring the art on my trip and I would love to go back again. There is art for everyone. Very interesting to read the history behind a lot of the artifacts in the museum. You cannot beat free admission either. We were glad to leave a donation on our way out.
  • May 30, 2017
    First off, FREE admission. For the museum, we only had time to go through the Egyptian/Roman/Greek section, but it was a pretty darn good section to see. The plaques also had a great amount of information that made each exhibit more worthwhile. We enjoyed some respite in the courtyard Cafe, very pleasant.
  • May 15, 2017
    This is one of my favorite places in Kansas City to go. It's a place to go for a nice peaceful stroll around when the weather isn't the best and it's also a great place to look at priceless pieces of human progress. Do yourself a favor, visit and donate to the museum. Sometimes it feels as if your followed but the employees make the same rounds you do...room to room and your inches from billions of dollars in art you didn't pay to see. Speaking to the employees and treating them as humans sure helps in most situations. Being asked to back up or to keep kids away is a given In fine art galleries and museums. Many places don't let you get as close to the art like the Nelson and yes some places don't seem to care who touched the 500 year old pictures.

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Where to stay in Kansas City

If you want to sample the city’s nightlife, consider a hotel in the Power and Light District, home to a wide array of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. The 39th Street District is a good choice for those on vacation who prefer quirky independent venues. The city boasts an array of cozy bed and breakfasts both within and on the outskirts of the city. Those with access to a car can enjoy Kansas City on a budget by staying at a nearby campground or RV park.
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