National Archives News

National Archives at Kansas City Reopens Exhibits to Public

By Kristin Phillips | National Archives News

WASHINGTON, February 23, 2024 — The National Archives at Kansas City reopened its permanent exhibit gallery to the public on February 20. The gallery on the main level, featuring the exhibit We the People, will be open Tuesday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m CT. Admission is free.

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Entrance to We the People exhibit on display at the National Archives Kansas City. National Archives photo provided by Dee Harris.

“We are pleased to welcome visitors back to the National Archives at Kansas City,” said Dee Harris, the Digital Exhibits Manager there. “We the People offers visitors an opportunity to explore our records and learn how they tell America’s story."

Primarily featuring records from the holdings of the National Archives at Kansas City, which include permanent records created by federal agencies and courts in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota, We the People focuses on how records impact the lives of every American. Alongside the stories of the great and powerful, the millions of records in the National Archives give insight into ordinary people’s lives.

“Nearly all Americans can find themselves, their neighbors, their ancestors, or their community in the records of the National Archives,” said Jake Ersland, Director of Archival Operations in Kansas City. “The records in Kansas City, such as the naturalization records featured in the exhibit, highlight how true that is.”

The exhibit is divided into five sections, each containing interactive displays. The first gallery, titled We the People, introduces visitors to the process of becoming an American and reveals details about immigrants seeking citizenship in the United States.

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Visitors engage with interactive display in We the People. National Archives photo provided by Dee Harris.

From there guests can explore records that show the evolution of our democracy. On display in Form a More Perfect Union are milestone documents and simple everyday records that tell the story of our triumphs and struggles to become “one nation, with liberty and justice for all.” The third gallery, Provide for the Common Defense showcases records of our nation’s activities during wartime, both on the home front and abroad. America's diplomatic and military records vividly depict heroism, inspiration, and sacrifice.

The final two galleries highlight the human spirit and ingenuity needed to realize the promise of America, illustrated through records gleaned from the ever-growing collection of records held by the National Archives, such as Bridget Menihan’s homestead application, court affidavits of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison, and Lucile Bluford’s testimony in a lawsuit to integrate the University of Missouri.

“The National Archives is tasked not only with storing records on behalf of the American people but also with making those records accessible to the public,” said Harris. “We are delighted to showcase this exhibit and highlight records from Kansas City’s holdings.”

The research room at the National Archives at Kansas City is also open to the public. Appointments are required.

Visit the National Archives at Kansas City