Large Grant Awarded to Support Kansas City Research Center Relocation

Architectural rendering of the proposed entry area.

The Miller Nichols Charitable Foundation recently committed $250,000 to support the relocation of the State Historical Society’s Kansas City Research Center to Miller Nichols Library on the University of Missouri–Kansas City campus. The grant is an important first step in the campaign to relocate the Kansas City Research Center from its current location in UMKC’s Newcomb Hall.

The move to the northwest corner of Miller Nichols Library will allow the Kansas City center to expand from 3,100 square feet to approximately 5,100 square feet. Most of SHSMO’s Kansas City collections will be stored on-site, with an automated system providing five-minute retrieval times. Many of the Kansas City collections are currently stored at the University of Missouri’s records center in Columbia, and delivery to patrons at the Kansas City center can take up to two weeks.

Researchers and other visitors to the new center in Miller Nichols will enjoy expansive views of downtown Kansas City as they research people and events that changed the course of the city’s and region’s history.

Lucinda Adams, associate director of the State Historical Society of Missouri, says the new facility will bring Kansas City’s history home. “This plan will allow the State Historical Society to enhance patrons’ experience at the Kansas City Research Center, improve its services to the UMKC campus, and better engage the local community and wider public,” said Adams. 

The Society has also received a commitment of $50,000 from the Minnesota Prairie Wind Foundation to support the Kansas City center’s relocation efforts. The initial gift, donated by Steve and Marianne Noll, was essential in launching the campaign.

Established in 1980, the Kansas City Research Center holds the largest local history collection in Kansas City. Its holdings cover a wide range of topics, including more than 17,000 sets of architectural drawings, the J. C. Nichols Company Records, the Miller Nichols Papers, the Jewish Community Archives, and the Native Sons and Daughters of Greater Kansas City Records. All of these collections document the vibrant history, growth, and development of Kansas City and Missouri.