National World War I Museum

Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City's Liberty Memorial is the largest memorial to World War I in the country. Visitors cross a clear-glass bridge over a field of 9,000 poppies symbolizing the nine million soldiers from all countries who died in the conflict. America’s momentous decision to enter the fray is the subject of a panoramic multimedia production, which features a life-size tableau of no-man’s land in the foreground. A full-scale trench and a massive bomb crater immerse visitors in the story of the war to end all wars.

Utilizing the world’s finest collection of World War I objects, the museum chronicles this complex, global epic. The scope of the war, the tensions that ignited it, and its effect on millions of men and women are told through first-person accounts. Two 20-foot-long interactive media surfaces make the war and its aftermath—still being felt—understandable to the modern visitor.

Response to the exhibition has been overwhelming and received highly favorable reviews in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, and other publications. Noted World War I scholars, John Keegan and Martin Gilbert among them, have been effusive in their praise of the exhibition’s content, historiography, and presentation.

 “The museum is sensational, brilliantly conceived and brilliantly executed . . . a very accurate and profound impression of what the First World War was like and what it was about . . . the display is extraordinarily impressive. I think it is a highly original museum.” —Sir John Keegan, military historian, 2006

Year:
2006
Client:
National Word War I Museum
Architect:

ASAI Architecture

Size:

30,000 square feet

Awards:
  • Graphis Design Annual, Gold Award, Exhibitions

  • Industrial Designers Society of America, Gold Industrial Design Excellence Award, Museum Exhibits and Set Design

  • Communication Arts, Award of Excellence, Interactive Competition, to RAA's consultant Second Story: Great War Tables

  • Society for Environmental Graphic Design, Merit Award, Exhibit Design/Museums

  • American Institute of Architects, National Honor Award to the Liberty Memorial Association

  • Print Magazine Regional Design Annual

  • Applied Arts Awards Annual, Environmental/Signage Design, Liberty Memorial Museum

© 2014, Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Inc.