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Press Release
May 14, 2009

More in Store for Visitors to the National Archives at Kansas City

New Exhibitions, Expanded Research Rooms Are Highlights of Renovated Space

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Washington, DC…Genealogists and history lovers have a new reason to visit Kansas City, Missouri. The National Archives at Kansas City recently moved to a renovated building in the heart of Kansas City. The 35,000-square foot facility, once known as the historic Adams Express Building, includes state-of-the-art archival storage, research rooms, and three new exhibition spaces, two of which open new exhibits this month with original and rarely seen treasures of the region. Exhibitions are free to the public and are open Tuesday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

The National Archives at Kansas City joins in the nationwide celebration of the National Archives anniversary by presenting in its Concourse Gallery It’s Big: Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the National Archives and Records Administration, from May 22, 2009 through January 23, 2010. This exhibition will feature big documents, big events, big personalities, and big ideas from the archival holdings. It’s Big presents pieces of American history including: audio clips from the FBI’s surveillance of Kansas City mobsters; the original complaint from Brown v. Board of Education, the case that ended school segregation; documents and photos of famous personalities with a local connection, including Negro Leagues baseball player Roy Tyler and cartoonist Walt Disney; and many of the famous and infamous signatures found in the National Archives regional holdings, including Abraham Lincoln, Leon Trotsky, Sitting Bull, Thurgood Marshall and the Birdman of Alcatraz.

Opening in the Regional History Gallery of the new facility is the exhibition The Kansas-Nebraska Act. The original Act, on loan from the National Archives in Washington, DC, for the opening month, is the centerpiece of the show that runs from May 22, 2009 through January 23, 2010. The Kansas-Nebraska Act explores the period of violent confrontation between pro-slavery and free state settlers following the passage of the Act that created the Kansas Territory.

Officially titled “An Act to Organize the Territories of Nebraska and Kansas,” and termed one of the nation’s 100 milestone documents, the Act repealed the Missouri Compromise, which had outlawed slavery above the 36° 30’ latitude in the Louisiana territories. The Act reopened the national struggle over the expansion of slavery and set the stage for the Civil War. It ushered in the “Bleeding Kansas” era, between 1854 and 1861, when pro- and anti-slavery factions struggled for control of the state. Residents witnessed fraudulent elections, dueling territorial legislatures, and deadly massacres and battles.

The exhibit features docket books showing charges of treason and “assuming the office of the governor” by abolitionist leader and future Kansas governor Charles Robinson and the indictment of Daniel R. Anthony, brother of suffragette Susan B. Anthony, for assisting a fugitive slave. This turbulent period is illustrated through the use of handbills, cartoons, newspapers, and photographs.

The National Archives at Kansas City at 400 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, is open Tuesday-Saturday 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. for exhibits viewing and Tuesday-Saturday from 8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. for research. For additional information call 816-268-8000 or visit the National Archives at Kansas City web page.

It is one of 13 National Archives facilities nationwide where the public has access to Federal archival records. It is home to more than 50,000 cubic feet of historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by nearly 100 Federal agencies. Serving the Central Plains Region, the archives holds records from the states of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

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For more information, contact Kimberlee Ried, National Archives at Kansas City, at 816-268-8000 or National Archives Public Affairs in Washington, DC, at 202-357-5300.

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