News Archive

Every month we engage with each other and our community.

Apr 2023 Dr Greer

Sponsoring Women's History Speaker

On April 2, 2023, Kansas City Athenaeum sponsored the program in the Kansas City Public Library’s Sunday Speakers Series. “On Pins & Needles: Nelly Don Workers, Labor Organizing & Community on the Factory Floor in the 1930s” was presented by Dr. Jane Greer, UMKC professor. Nell Donnelly built a thriving garment company in Kansas City that provided favorable working conditions, fair wages and worker pensions. Her interest in employee welfare was counter to the industry’s sweatshops that were prevalent when the company was founded in 1916. Dr. Greer highlighted a few of the 718 archived employee letters explaining why they resisted joining the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. The company grew to be the largest women’s garment manufacturer in the 20th century, producing more than 75 million dresses from 1916 to 1978.

Virginia Oliver Award

Supporting Missouri Girls Town

Kansas City Athenaeum received the Virginia Oliver Award in April 2023 recognizing our 2022 donations to Missouri Girls Town. Kansas City Athenaeum has supported Missouri Girls Town since its inception in 1954. Its mission is supporting youth and families by providing therapeutic services and education to empower them to reach their full potential.

VCP 2003 Donation

Veterans Community Project

Kansas City Athenaeum donated $10,000 in January 2023 to the Veterans Community Project. This donation continues our participation in Team 49 for a third year of sponsoring one of the 49 tiny homes in the VCP village in Kansas City. Our support covers the costs of a veteran's case management, health care, furnishings, utilities and household goods for one year.  The Veterans Community Project helps veterans transition toward financial stability, independence, and permanent housing.

WWI Museum

National WWI Museum

Kansas City Athenaeum members and guests visited the National WWI Museum and Liberty Memorial in January 2023. The guided tour was enlightening with the large volume of displayed memorabilia and videos showing documentary photos of the war effort.  Athenaeum members raised funds to help build Liberty Memorial after the war and responded to the French orphan plight by financially supporting the care for 27 orphans.

Touring Literacy KC

Changing Lives Beyond Words

Kansas City Athenaeum members and guests visited Literacy KC in November 2022 for a guided tour through the learning facility. We donated $10,000 to Literacy KC in 2021 to help support its program with the purchase of new laptops and computer software. This tour raised our awareness of the multiple learning opportunities offered there. Classes and tutoring help improve literacy, math and digital proficiency, plus courses are offered to learn vocational skills. The Literacy KC motto of "Changing Lives Beyond Words" well describes its mission.

Truman Library

Harry S. Truman Library & Museum

Kansas City Athenaeum members and guests visited the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum in October 2022.  The 90-minute guided tour was impressive with exhibits showcasing memorabilia of President Truman's life from childhood to his careers during the Great Depression and the Pendergast Era, followed by his presidency, and culminating with his retirement years in Independence, Missouri.  The exhibits on the challenges he faced during his presidency were especially noteworthy.

2022 Library Program

Women's History Presentation

Kansas City Athenaeum and Kansas City Public Library co-presented a YouTube program in March 2022, celebrating Women's History Month.  The presentation by Dr. Tai S. Edwards was based on research in compiling her book, Osage Women and Empire. The Osage cosmology defined men and women as necessary pairs in their society that involved both sexes.  Dr. Edwards is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Kansas Studies Institute at Johnson County Community College.

J Rieger & Co

Tour of J. Rieger & Co.

In a pursuit of learning more about Kansas City history, our members toured J. Rieger & Co. in December 2021. The guided tour explained the distillery process and blending methods used to make its products unique among competitors in this industry. The original J. Rieger & Co. was founded by European immigrant Jacob Rieger in 1887 and was extremely successful until the business was closed with the 1919 Prohibition enactment. The legacy of J. Rieger & Co. was resurrected in 2010 by Ryan Mabee and Andy Rieger. Museum displays in the building show photographs of Kansas City's developing years and memorabilia from the earlier decades of the business.

KC Museum

Kansas City Museum Tour

In November 2021, our members and guests toured Kansas City Museum exhibits in the newly renovated Corinthian Hall. Members were delighted to see a placard recognizing the achievements of Phoebe Jane Ess, one of the founders of our organization in 1894. She led Kansas City Athenaeum members in spearheading many community improvement projects in the city's early development. The museum wall displayed a quotation attributed to her regarding the suffrage movement.


Tour of Kansas City Union Station

Kansas City Athenaeum members enjoyed a guided tour of the Kansas City Union Station in October 2021. Highlights of its 107-year history were presented by our tour guide who happens to be a club member outfitted as a Harvey Girl. This was reminiscent of the days when young women were employed by Fred Harvey to serve meals in dining cars and railway stops across the country, including Kansas City Union Station. This photo was taken from a balcony overlooking the Grand Lobby, a captivating view of the beautiful architectural details. Following the tour, members enjoyed lunch at the current Harvey's Restaurant in the Grand Lobby.

Wine Tasting

Summer Fundraiser

Kansas City Athenaeum members and friends gathered in July 2021 to taste a variety of wines and cheese to raise funds for the club’s philanthropic efforts.  Chad Brewer of Underdog Wine Co. delighted us with samples of French wines and friendly banter. In addition, generous donations were received from those unable to attend. Thank you to everyone who made this event a success!

2021-05-09 (2)

Donation Recognition

Kansas City Athenaeum received recognition in April 2021 for a $10,000 donation to the Community Remembrance Project at Black Archives of Mid-America.  The Story's in the Soil is a permanent exhibit at the museum.

Library Presentation

2021 Women's History Month

In March 2021, Kansas City Athenaeum and Kansas City Public Library co-presented "Brides on the Santa Fe Trail" in celebration of Women's History Month.  In this YouTube presentation, historian Joy L. Poole featured five wives who traveled the Santa Fe Trail from Missouri to New Mexico between 1830 and 1870.  She researched diaries kept by young brides who accompanied their husbands on the overland journey. The bicentennial of the Santa Fe Trail was celebrated in 2021.

Suffragist Signs

Suffragists Appreciation

Athenaeum members displayed signs on November 3, 2020, thanking Suffragists for their efforts in gaining the women’s right to vote in 1920. Our event held on Election Day encouraged pedestrians to place “I Voted” and “Thank You” stickers on the signs.
MGT Suffragists Project

19th Amendment Centennial Project

Kansas City Athenaeum donated Domino’s Pizza gift cards and 30 Suffragists Coloring Books to Missouri Girls Town in August 2020 for the girls to celebrate the 19th Amendment Centennial. GFWC South Kansas City Area Girls Town Club partnered in this project by donating crayons, markers, and colored pencils. MGT staff turned our project into a ten-day activity for the girls, adding extra emphasis on Suffragists’ efforts. Club member Becky Garrison compiled six pages of “American Suffrage Facts” that broadened the learning experience. The girls enjoyed a pizza party at the onset of the project and another pizza party ten days later at its conclusion.

Kansas City Athenaeum promotes educational enrichment, volunteer service, and philanthropic endeavors.

Members have made lifelong friendships working together in our program combining personal enrichment and community service.