A glass bridge is suspended above a field of 9,000 red poppies, each flower representing 1,000 soldiers who died in the Great War. This living symbol is one of the many powerful exhibits within the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, the only museum in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to World War I and dedicated by Congress as the nation's official World War I museum in 2004. Named one of the top 25 museums in the U.S. in TripAdvisor's 2014 Travelers' Choice Awards, the Museum is also rated the No. 1 attraction in Kansas City.
Designed by Ralph Appelbaum, who also lent his expertise to such landmarks as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the National World War I Museum integrates first-person accounts into a narrative that flows through its permanent and visiting exhibitions. The Museum's collection comprises World War I artifacts such as field artillery, a 1917 Harley Davidson motorcycle, and unopened cigarette packs from a 1914 Princess Mary Christmas Box. The Museum also includes Over There Caf? and a comprehensive gift store.
Fire. Hammers. A pottery wheel. Some of humanity?s most elemental and primitive tools, yet into the 21st century they remain. And Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design Director Of Education Programs, Luanne Rimel, attests that they?re some of the coolest. With each season?s catalog of classes, some of the most popular, according to Rimel, let students play with fire, hammer metal into jewelry, or shape a lump of clay into something as fundamentally beautiful as a baby seal mimicking the Mona Lisa?s wry smirk.
At Craft Alliance, the focus is art in all its forms. Whether the tool is the raw flame fusing cut copper or a Mac loaded with Photoshop image-editing software, the intention to inspire and to create remains the same. Its two locations schedule seasonal terms with four- to six-week classes, as well as intensive workshops and children?s classes. Guiding each student along his or her adventure, skilled faculty instruct from experience. Most are working artists who exhibit their work and who have reaped their experience from the trenches of the art world.
Craft Alliance is not just empowering people with knowledge; they are also helping people make mugs, bowls, wooden spinning tops, rings, rugs, and digital photo albums. Many of these things are practical and serve a functional purpose. But many do not?they?re just beautiful things, like vestigial tails. A good number of these pieces are created by hand and are meant to remind us, as Rimel remarked, that everyone can do something different from their everyday, workaday lives by adding beauty to a world that truly needs it.
The student and faculty artists are the backbone of the Craft Alliance community, which in 2014 celebrates its 50th anniversary. The Grand Center location represents a regeneration of an arts district already pillared by the Fabulous Fox Theatre, Powell Symphony Hall, and St. Louis University.
Busts of Stan Musial, Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith, and Jack Buck line the Legends Walkway outside the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. But the museum spotlights more than just baseball history. Its inductees hail from the high school, collegiate, and professional ranks, including players and coaches from the Rams, Chiefs, Royals, and Blues. Highlights of the many exhibits and articles of sports memorabilia include the Budweiser NASCAR car, the wing dedicated to the Missouri Valley Conference, and the pole that Paul Bunyan used to vault over the St. Louis Arch.
Known for its history as a pioneer town and home to former president Harry S. Truman, Independence welcomes visitors to its storied sites, making them more accessible with free trolley rides. Tour the 1859 Jail and Marshal's Home and Museum to glimpse a dwelling for law breakers next to a dwelling for a law keeper, and the clandestine tryst between the abodes that resulted in a museum. The Bingham-Waggoner Estate preserves many of the original art and furnishings of the famed Bingham and Waggoner families, while the National Frontier Trails Museum hails the starting point of the westbound pioneers with bronzed pieces of nuts, raisins, and chocolate bits tracing a path westward.
Perlow-Stevens Gallery is a fine art gallery showcasing local, regional, and national artists in various media, gracing eyes with each artisan's eclectic exhibit for three months at a time. Complement the shiny metal inside your body with jewelry ($36–$5,500) such as the Japanese-inspired metalsmithings of Pam Caidin or the diamond-accented curves from Todd Reed. Current artwork ($100–$8,000) includes the oil-scraped portraiture of Joel Sager and the scenic rural isolations of photographer Notley Hawkins. Delicate sculptures, glass work, and ceramic pieces provide a focal point for family rooms or bulls in search of a china shop.
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