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“Nice Museum”

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
Ranked #8 of 153 things to do in Kansas City
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Opened in 1991, this museum is a tribute to some of baseball's best unknown players.
Level Contributor
411 reviews
122 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 240 helpful votes
“Nice Museum”
Reviewed 18 January 2010

Finally a tribute to the Negro Leagues. It is small but it is certainly in the right place (Kansas City).

1 Thank cdrake3460
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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701 reviews from our community

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Kansas City, MO
Level Contributor
52 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“My only complaint: it wasn't big enough!”
Reviewed 20 January 2009

This is truly a tiny gem of a museum that everyone in the country (or out) should visit if they find themselves in Kansas City. Baseball is as American as it gets, and the Negro Leagues were during such an interesting time both for sports and the country as a whole. Getting to see pictures, read stories, see uniforms and feel the experience through the museum is a real treat. It's not very large, I expected there to be more things in it, but it was really interesting and had friendly staff there to answer any questions you might have. And it's in the 18th & Vine district, where you can find many similar African-American museums, jazz clubs and restaurants. Definitely a must-see if you are in the KC.

Thank KCRestauranteur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
466 reviews
134 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 480 helpful votes
“A very well done museum & a great visitor experience.”
Reviewed 18 January 2009

How do I say this and not be misunderstood? Firstly, let me say that this museum is VERY WELL done and is a worthwhile destination. Secondly, let me add that it's full of very interesting, attractive displays, interactive exhibits (video, etc) and all VERY well presented & is manned with a very informative, helpful and very courteous staff.

Now for the delicate part.... what made this museum experience world-class for me was that the whole point as to why there was a Negro baseball league in the first place was because of racism and the policy of segregation. However, the presentation of such was done in a very factual and unemotional manner and - bluntly speaking - a whole lot less "in your face" than so often detracts from other exhibits celebrating advancements in civil rights. Instead it stayed focused on the fact that blacks in Kansas City's 18th and Vine neighborhood accepted existence of racist segregation for what it was and found their own ways to exist, grow and thrive as much as was possible for the time by establishing their own vibrant society. (I'm not condoning the racism, mind you, just praising the fact that blacks of the time were resourceful enough and proud enough to find their own avenue for building a vibrant, thriving society and their own powerhouse baseball league was one of those ways.) LOTS of displays of the teams that made up the Negro Leagues as well as the individual uniforms, equipment, records and athleticism, talent and playing skills of greats like KC's own Buck O'Neil, but also non-KC greats like Buck Leonard, James "Cool Papa" Bell and so on.

Now, after making that point so brilliantly, the museum then highlights how the whole WW2 situation really put America's racism under the microscope and exposed it for the hypocracy that it was - here we were shipping men out to fight Nazi racism against Jews in Europe and yet attempting to condone racism against blacks back home in the States. The museum just brilliantly presents to the visitor just how much of a quandry and contradiction it all was...and began to really hammer away at the whole "separate but equal" thing and baseball was caught up in the middle of the storm. One particular display quotes someone either in congress or baseball that said something to the effect of "If blacks are good enough to fight and die with whites in places like Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal [and other very big battles of WW2] then they're sure enough good enough to play baseball alongside whites." Because it was the dream of every Negro League player to someday be able to play in the major leagues of American baseball, several displays make the point that the Negro Leagues were so successful that they put themselves out of business. How? By showcasing such athletic baseball talent in the black community that by 1959, there was at least 1 black player - and often several - on every team in major league baseball. So, "mission accomplished." But though the league officially closed its doors in 1960, its legacy and all the great individuals and great plays of the almost 40 years of Negro League baseball are preserved, honored and relived in this great museum. WELL DONE, KC.

And don't miss the very fine American Jazz Museum just across the lobby of the Negro League museum, but that's subject of another post.

2 Thank hatlad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
172 reviews
78 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 338 helpful votes
“Wonderful preservation of an important aspect of America's History”
Reviewed 17 November 2008

This museum, while unassuming from the entrance, has a wealth of knowledge which will interest fans of American history, baseball history, and the Civil Rights movement, though I believe the museum has universal appeal far beyond just those issues.

When you first enter the museum, you see a list of the Negro League Teams that existed, and you get your first view of the bronze statues that make up the Field of Legends. You walk through the museum, progressing along the historical timeline that tells the rise and fall of the Negro Leagues. Along with having the history of the Negro Leagues displayed, the museum has incorporated significant American historical events into the timeline, which helps ensure that all of the events in the Negro Leagues are put in proper prospective. There are amazing photographs and artifacts from the Negro Leagues, along with a few informational videos scattered throughout.

You could easily spend several hours watching the videos and reading the history of the Negro Leagues, and when you're finished you come upon the Field of Legends - bronze statues of all the Negro League players currently enshrined in Cooperstown. There are also two cases of autographed baseballs from celebrity guests who have visited the museum, which is fun to look at as well.

The museum shares space with the American Jazz Museum, which I did not visit, but you can buy a joint ticket and visit both of them. Definitely worth checking out when you're in Kansas City for the history and display cannot be beat!

2 Thank Kimberly530
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cincinnati, Ohio
Level Contributor
338 reviews
126 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 308 helpful votes
“Awesome little Museum - must see in KC for baseball/history fans”
Reviewed 22 September 2008

Well worth my visit. Small museum with everything to like. I am a big baseball fan but i think this museum would appeal to anyone. Starts off with cool intro video. Other videos along the way are informative and interesting. Timeline of events is great reading and the atmosphere of the museum is relaxed. Cost of $6 is well worth it. Plenty of free parking on the street. Walk down to world famous Arthur Bryant's for some BBQ. Re-entry is fine. The staff is friendly. Could take anywhere from 2-6 hours to see everything depending on how much time you want to take. The field of legends at the end of picturesque. They do not allow pictures inside the museum.

G Man

3 Thank GMan5431
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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