From the soaring art-deco tower and the bronze-door entrance to a breathtaking walkway over the iconic poppies of Flanders Fields, the National WWI Museum and Memorial provides a stunning visual and visceral experience for visitors from around the world. This incomparable facility is a tangible reminder of loss and longing, as well as life and liberty – cold, hard stone bounded by soft, green grass.
Inside, guests are offered an extraordinary fare of history and biography, art and music, geography, military and material culture, and heartfelt letters from home.
The National WWI Museum and Memorial serves as more than a showcase for artifacts. It is the national trove of information and seedbed for meaningful discussion surrounding the world’s first global conflict and its enduring impact.
And it’s not located in Washington, D.C. It’s housed in Kansas City, Missouri – the only WWI memorial Congress has authorized outside of the National Mall in the nation’s capital.
The Museum and Memorial holds the most comprehensive collection of WWI objects and documents in the world. It is the second-oldest public museum dedicated to preserving the objects, history and personal experiences of the war. It is America’s leading institution dedicated to remembering, interpreting and understanding the Great War and its enduring impact on the global community.
Academy Award-winning director/actor Kevin Costner and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and current Kansas State University President General (ret.) Richard Myers served as the National Honorary Chairs with Henry Bloch, William H. Dunn, Sr., Ollie Gates and Jeannette Nichols serving as Campaign Honorary Chairs. Mary Beth and Thomas Butch and Christine and Sandy Kemper were the working chairs for the campaign.
More than $5 million raised was used to create the Wylie Gallery, a new exhibition space. The gallery opening featured John Singer Sargent’s painting, “Gassed.” Other initiatives funded by the campaign included upgrades to the building and grounds, a refresh to the entrance’s Poppy Field, expanded programming enabling the Museum and Memorial to reach millions of school students and hundreds of thousands of adult learners, a renovation of the auditorium, an expansion of staff, an upgrade of software platforms and significant investments in the Museum and Memorial’s endowments.
“I am extremely proud of the Call to Duty campaign team. The exemplary leadership demonstrated by the campaign honorary chair, co-chairs and campaign cabinet led to institution-changing philanthropy that stimulated unprecedented growth for the National WWI Museum and Memorial,” said Kinetic Chairman and CEO Matthew Beem, Ph.D.
He added, “In addition to the campaign cabinet’s leadership, the entire Museum and Memorial’s team— with extraordinary leadership from Dr. Naylor and strong support from the organization’s development team – ensured campaign volunteers had the resources and support they needed to give their all to the campaign. Their combined efforts have had a significant and long-term impact on the National WWI Museum and Memorial’s mission.
Following the campaign, campaign cabinet members were asked to give feedback about their personal participation in the Call to Duty.
As one respondent shared: “My experience on the campaign cabinet now has me considering placing the Museum and Memorial in my estate plans.” While the cabinet’s input was anonymous, a consensus reflected Kinetic’s* timeless advice to clients … that: “Involvement leads to investment.”
For the many donors, staff and volunteers who participated in the National WWI Museum and Memorial’s campaign, it was more than just involvement, it was a call to duty.
*This campaign took place prior to Hartsook becoming Kinetic in 2022.