Welcome! I am delighted you are visiting our website, and I look forward to seeing you in our galleries at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
The museum’s history is rich and the collection is deep, so I urge you to visit often. You will discover true originals, mankind’s greatest achievements, from ancient to contemporary works of art. You will also feel the power of community, as we celebrate diverse cultures and mark important days with festivals, dancing, talks, tours and classes.
Discover the museum at your own pace, by yourself or with family and friends. Make it your museum!
Where the power of art engages the spirit of community
We welcome and provide free admission to all, and deliver unparalleled opportunities to enjoy, appreciate and understand the finest visual arts and the varied cultures they represent—on our campus, online, and throughout Kansas City.
As an institution of national and international renown, we establish and adhere to the highest professional standards and practices in research, scholarship, presentation, interpretation and care of our collections.
We serve as a vital partner in the educational, social and cultural life of our community, using our collections and programs to build an environment where people can gather, share and contemplate the greatest creations of humankind.
Every day, in all we do, the Nelson-Atkins is committed to nurturing excellence, inspiring creativity and building community through the power of art.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art arose from the instincts and ambitions of two private individuals who shared the dream of providing a public art museum for Kansas City and the surrounding region.
William Rockhill Nelson, founder of The Kansas City Star, was convinced that for a city to be truly civilized, art and culture were necessities.
When he died in 1915, the bulk of his estate was used to establish the William Rockhill Nelson Trust for the purchase of works of art.
Kansas City school teacher Mary McAfee Atkins had similar aspirations. She provided the city with approximately one-third of her million-dollar estate to purchase the land for a public art museum.
The Nelson estate was combined with Mary Atkins’ legacy to build an art museum for the people of Kansas City. The William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art and the Mary Atkins Museum of Fine Arts opened to the public Dec. 11, 1933.
On June 9, 2007, the Nelson-Atkins unveiled the Bloch Building, an addition designed by Steven Holl Architects, which increased gallery and storage space for the growing collection.
Today, the Nelson-Atkins maintains collections of more than 35,000 works of art and welcomes 500,000 visitors a year.
Trustees and staff
Board of Trustees
Richard C. Green, Chair
William B. Taylor, Treasurer
Neil D. Karbank, Secretary
G. Kenneth Baum
Evelyn Craft Belger
Thomas M. Bloch
Donald Hall, Jr.
Shirley Bush Helzberg
Sandra A.J. Lawrence
William M. Lyons
Sara S. Morgan
Henry W. Bloch*, Chair Emeritus
Donald J. Hall, Chair Emeritus
Sarah F. Rowland, Chair Emerita
Estelle Sosland, Chair Emerita
Menefee D. Blackwell*
Thornton Cooke II*
Charles A. Duboc*
Laura Kemper Fields*
Cliff C. Jones, Jr.*
Alan R. Marsh
Fred L. Merrill*
Harry C. McCray, Jr.*
James P. Sunderland*
Herman R. Sutherland*
Adelaide Cobb Ward
Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell Director & CEO
Karen L. Christiansen
Chief Operating Officer
Manager, Strategic Initiatives
Director, Education and Interpretive Programs
Vice President, Development
Vice President, Earned Income & Guest Services
Director, Human Resources
Director, Design & Experience
Director, Marketing & Communications
Curator & Collections Supervisor, Photography
Senior Curator, Photography
Rima Girnius, Ph.D
Associate Curator, European Painting & Sculpture
Stephanie Knappe, Ph.D.
Samuel Sosland Curator, American Art
Ling-en Lu, Ph.D.
Associate Curator, Chinese Art
Aimee Marcereau DeGalan, Ph.D
Louis L. and Adelaide C. Ward Senior Curator, European Arts
Jeanne McCray Beals Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art
Fred and Virginia Merrill Senior Curator of American Indian Art
April Watson, Ph.D.