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Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

4525 Oak Street
Kansas City, Missouri , 64111

Nelson Atkins Museum of Art
Photo: Nightryder84 License: CC BY-SA 3.0
Locally referred to as the Nelson Art Gallery or simply the Nelson Gallery, this landmark was actually two museums, until 1983 when it was formally named the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
The museum was built on the grounds of Oak Hall, the home of Kansas City Star publisher William Rockhill Nelson. When he died in 1915, his will provided that upon the deaths of his wife and daughter, the proceeds of his entire estate would go to purchasing artwork for public enjoyment.

In 1911, former schoolteacher Mary Atkins (widow of real estate speculator James Burris Atkins) bequeathed $300,000 to establish an art museum. Through the management of the estate, this amount grew to $700,000 by 1927. Original plans called for two art museums based on the separate bequests (with the Atkins Museum to be located in Penn Valley Park). However, trustees of the two estates decided to combine the two bequests along with smaller bequests from others to make a single major art institution.

An addition was added in 2007. The Bloch building houses the museum's contemporary, African, photography, and special exhibitions galleries as well a new cafe, the museum's reference library, and the Isamu Noguchi Sculpture Court.

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