The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City

4.8
#2 of 18 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. Make The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art a centerpiece of your Kansas City vacation itinerary, and find what else is worth visiting using our Kansas City tour itinerary planning tool .
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The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Reviews
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  • I've lived in Kansas City 17 years and throughout most of that time we have been members at the Nelson-Atkins art museum. When we first lived here it was free on Fridays, but since then it has become ...  more »
  • You can never say there is nothing to see in KC. This is a beautiful museum with so many activities to enjoy throughout the year! We love the exhibits that come to Nelson Atkins Museum.  more »
  • It is FREE. Excellent display of beautiful artwork. Creatively organized by time and type of art. Lots of seating to rest and reflect on the artwork. No need to hurry. Parking is $10 for the day. It i...  more »
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  • Most comprehensive free museum I've been to yet! Amazing that such an architecturally gorgeous building with such a vast collection and wonderful sculpture garden is so available to the public. Not to mention the numerous fun and free events they host there. Wonderful
  • The Nelson is a great piece of Kansas City culture. For me, as a KC resident, it's magic is that I can be eating breakfast in my kitchen and thirty minutes later I'm staring into the eyes of a bull from Persepolis or I could be pondering the brush strokes on a Monet, and perhaps follow that up by admiring the skill in Chinese calligraphy. Seriously, their halls are filled with wonderful things both ancient and modern. This museum is the perfect day trip in Kansas City . The best part is, it is free (unless you want to visit their special exhibit or park in their garage). I highly recommend a visit.
  • I have been to the esteemed art museums of many cities, and the Nelson is my favorite of all time, and may never be knocked down, considering that not even the Getty Center of California could not take it's place in my mind. It is so prestine and immense, and the diversity of the collections will surprise you. The amount of cultures and time periods they took the time to fill the halls with is mind-blowing. It is almost a spiritual experience to spend the whole day here. The park outside is a good time even if you don't have time to tour the inside that day. To top it off, it is never too packed, it is free (I'd suggest a donation though), and you'll often find free parking outside.
  • We visited during our stay in KC. After a day of walking we only had the energy for the first two floors. I prefer MIA. The museum was well staffed with what seemed to be volunteers. We did not interact with any of them besides pleasantries on our way in and out. There were MANY art students drawing exhibits as well as live models. So many art students that some rooms weren't viewable because they didn't position themselves in a way that you could walk among them. On the lowest floor there was some sort of gathering that was very loud, my teenage daughter was annoyed by the music choices, and the hooting and hollering of the attendees. I got the impression that the museum was an integral part of the community. It was very full for a Thursday evening. Many people were lounging on the steps and grounds, having picnics and enjoying the weather. There were people of all walks of life inside enjoying the art selection. There were many families visiting, with many small and extremely well behaved children.
  • One of the greatest American museums between the mountains. The permanent collection is to be envied, and the periodic exhibits are top-notch. Just saw the Picasso items from his namesake museum in Paris. Def worth the $. The gift shop is well stocked, cafe is more than just acceptable, and parking -both the paid kind and the free-is plentiful. Admission to the general collection is free and worth it. This is on par with the great museums of the world.
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