Research

Many cultural heritage institutions in the KC Metropolitan Area feature collections and resources for researching African American history. Contact these organizations directly to learn more about their collections and services.  

Institution Description URL

African American Heritage Trail

The African American Heritage Trail of Kansas City (AAHTKC) is a virtual trail that the public can travel to explore the history and significance of the African American experience in Kansas City. https://aahtkc.org

American Jazz Museum

The American Jazz Museum serves as a repository for priceless, rare, and one-of-a-kind artifacts, documents and photographs, film and sound recordings, published books, sheet music, and visual art pieces that inform our understanding of jazz as a historical and living art form. The Museum provides access to artifacts, photographs, and documents that showcase the life and work of America’s jazz musicians and the impact of jazz on American society and culture in general and in Kansas City in particular. https://americanjazzmuseum.org/collections

Black Archives of Mid-America

The mission of the Black Archives of Mid-America (BAMA) is to collect, preserve, and make available to the public materials documenting the social, economic, political and cultural histories of persons of African American descent in the central United States, with particular emphasis in the Kansas City, Missouri, region. BAMA is an educational resource and provides access to its collections for research, exhibition and publication to honor our community heritage and the catalyze public awareness. https://blackarchives.org

Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center

The mission of the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center is to commemorate and interpret the African American diaspora particularly in the state of Missouri, the city of Kansas City, and its surrounding areas through fostering educational and cultural programs regarding the past, present and contemporary contributions of African Americans who served to shape the city’s and state’s history and culture. http://www.brucewatkinscenter.com

Heritage League of Greater Kansas City

The Heritage League of Greater Kansas City is a non-profit member organization representing museums and agencies dedicated to the preservation of our cultural heritage. Their online history map features addresses, phone numbers, web site listings and short descriptions of each member’s site. https://heritageleaguekc.org

JoCoHistory

JoCoHistory is a collaborative presentation of the history from the Johnson County Museum, Johnson County Library and fellow JoCoHistory partners. Explore historical photographs and documents about the people, places and organizations of Johnson County, Kansas, from the 19th century to the present. https://www.jocohistory.org

Kansas City, Kansas Public Library – The Kansas Collection

The Kansas Collection is housed within the Kansas Room at the Main Library. It features a wide variety of Kansas and local history resources to assist with your research. The Kansas Room also holds special collections related to the history of the Wyandots in Kansas, the Huron Cemetery, and the history of the library and public schools. https://www.kckpl.org/kansas

Kansas City Museum

Containing more than 100,000 objects, the historical artifacts and archives of the collection offer a rich sampling of Kansas City’s local and regional history while representing the daily lives of past generations, from the mundane to the extravagant. https://kansascitymuseum.org

Kansas City Public Library – Missouri Valley Special Collections

Missouri Valley Special Collections is dedicated to gathering local history and genealogy resources related to the Kansas City Area. Researchers can visit the Missouri Valley Room on the 5th Floor of the Central Library. https://kchistory.org

Kansas Historical Society

The Kansas Historical Society preserves several different collections related to Kansas history. These collections include archeology and ethnographic, audio visual, documents, historic sites, manuscripts, maps, National Register nominations, objects, and photographs. https://www.kshs.org

Midwest Genealogy Center

The Midwest Genealogy Center is one of the United States’ preeminent resources for family history, providing access to almost three-quarters of a million on-site materials. MGC features 52,000 square feet of space that houses all of the free resources needed to research your family history. https://www.mymcpl.org/genealogy

National Archives at Kansas City

The National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) is the nation’s record keeper. Those valuable records are preserved and available to you, whether you want to see if they contain clues about your family history, need to prove a veteran’s military service, or are researching a historical topic that interests you. https://www.archives.gov/kansas-city

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

Established in a one-room office in 1990, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is a privately funded, non-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of African-American baseball and its profound impact on the social advancement of America. https://nlbm.com

The State Historical Society of Missouri

The State Historical Society of Missouri - Kansas City Research Center, located on the campus of UMKC, collects, preserves, and makes available for study many unique materials related to the history and culture of the Kansas City metropolitan area, western Missouri, and the Midwest. The Center’s approximately 14,000 cubic feet of holdings cover a wide range of topics, including architecture and the built environment, minority communities, municipal government, religion, and transportation, to name a few. https://shsmo.org/visit/kansas-city

UMKC Libraries – Gay and Lesbian Archives of Mid-America

The Gay and Lesbian Archives of Mid-America (GLAMA) is made up of collections located in the LaBudde Special Collections department at the Miller Nichols Library on the UMKC campus. The mission of GLAMA is to collect, preserve, and make accessible the materials that reflect the histories of the LGBT communities of the Kansas City region. https://library.umkc.edu/glama

UMKC Libraries – LaBudde Special Collections

Located within the Miller Nichols Library on the UMKC campus, LaBudde Special Collections is a print archive and research center serving scholars and organizations from round the world. The archival collections focus on Kansas City jazz, women’s and gender studies, popular culture, LGBT communities and western Americana. https://library.umkc.edu/labudde

UMKC Libraries – Marr Sound Archives

Marr Sound Archives is located on the ground floor of the Miller Nichols Library on the UMKC campus. The Sound Archives serves the students, faculty, and staff of UMKC, as well as local community members and scholarly researchers around the globe. The Sound Archives was established in 1986, with a foundation gift of 42,000 sound recordings. Today the collection includes over 380,000 items, with a focus on the American experience as reflected in recorded sound. The collection features a wide variety of music genres including jazz, blues, soul, country, popular music, rock & roll, folk, classical and opera. https://library.umkc.edu/marr