The American Jazz Museum lets visitors experience this original American art form in a variety of ways, from live shows to films and art exhibits.
Located in the historic 18th and Vine Jazz District, the museum offers live jazz performances in its Blue Room jazz club, interactive films and music and art exhibits, jazz art exhibitions, and educational programming.
Established in 1997, the museum has put on over 200 performances, education programs, special exhibitions, and community events annually, giving attendees the chance to learn about jazz legends, and enjoy modern-day jazz, according to the museum’s website.
Collections and exhibits specialize in several areas, including the history of the 18th and Vine area, jazz masters, jazz on film, new acquisitions and artifacts for the permanent collections, and a variety of changing exhibits related to the jazz experience.
Each space in the museum provides a unique perspective. The changing gallery showcases local and national artists, traveling exhibits, and other displays of fine art, film, photography, and other media inspired by jazz and African-American life, culture, and history. Meanwhile, there are several permanent exhibits to explore, including a visitors center and live music venue.
The Horace M. Peterson III Visitors Center features several types of artifacts and the film “18th and Vine: A People’s Journey,” a brief history of the African-American experience on 18th and Vine and its contributions to the cultural, social, and economic development of Kansas City.
The Blue Room is designed to resemble a nightclub from the 1930s featuring live music, but is also an exhibit that displays artifacts of Kansas City jazz, including photos, ticket stubs, and musicians’ contracts, and a “wall of fame” that showcases images of musicians who helped create the “Kansas City sound,” according to the museum's website.
The museum also aims to educate the public and cultivate appreciation for jazz and its contributions to history, culture, and society. Students and young musicians can interact with the world-renowned jazz masters and local jazz talent who perform at the museum’s venues. The Open Rehearsal Program, an offering from the American Jazz Museum Education Department, allows the public to watch the musical ensembles at work, and see how a piece of music is shaped for public performances by the ensemble leader and the musicians.
For more information about the museum, go here.