Kansas City Museum supporters are trying to raise $2 million in private donations for the museum’s restoration, and they are already halfway to their goal.
“This is an opportunity to restore this museum to its original glory,” Mayor Sly James told a crowd Monday in the oak adorned, Elizabethan-style library at Corinthian Hall. Advocates want to see the museum’s interior completely renovated and transformed into the premier exhibition space for telling the story of Kansas City’s local history and cultural heritage.
The restoration has a total estimated cost of $15 million, most of which will come from public taxpayer dollars. But supporters of the museum at 3218 Gladstone Blvd. have also launched a $2 million capital campaign dubbed “Making a Museum KC.”
Museum Foundation Board Chairman Jean-Paul Chaurand told the gathering that the board already has received pledged commitments for $1 million, including $500,000 from the R.A. Long Foundation. Robert Alexander Long was a lumber baron, entrepreneur and civic pioneer who build the mansion and estate in the early 1900s. It became a public museum in 1940.
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More information about the capital campaign is at makingamuseumkc.org. An open house is planned from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. March 29 to show the museum’s visitor experience plan and provide other renovation project updates.
Although the fundraising goal is $2 million, the project also depends on considerable taxpayer dollars. City Manager Troy Schulte said the museum property tax levy, which generates about $1.6 million annually, will help pay off $6 million in city bonds already sold for the project.
Additionally, city officials hope that voters on April 4 will support an $800 million bond authorization for a broad menu of infastructure improvements throughout the city. Included in that package is $50 million for city building upgrades. Schulte said that, with voter approval, $7 million of that $50 million could go to the museum.
If all the money is raised in the next few months, the Corinthian Hall construction could start this summer and be completed sometime in 2019. International Architects Atelier is the lead architecture firm and JE Dunn Construction the construction manager. Museum Management Consultants produced the museum’s strategic plan, and Gallagher & Associates produced the visitor experience plan.