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TS09 – Nelson-Atkins Museum: Experience Gardens Through Art

June 19 @ 8:00 am - 4:00 pm


The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art or “the Nelson” as Kansas Citians call it, is the cultural jewel of Kansas City. With its outstanding collection of 40,000 works of art, the Nelson is also recognized as one of America’s finest art museums. It offers visitors the opportunity to explore civilization from ancient times to modern day through the eyes of painters, sculptures and craftsmen from across the globe and centuries.

Working from the outside in, walk with docents on a tour of the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park. The 22-acre sculpture park is expansive and open, wrapping around the front and back of the museum. It’s home to over 35 sculptures, many of them massive, by several of the 20th century’s finest artists. You’ll learn about the famous shuttlecocks sprawled along the front of the museum. Weighing in at 5,500 pounds each, they are pretty hard to miss!

Step inside the grandeur of the museum and lunch at the romantic and memorable Rozzelle Court, a restaurant fashioned after an open-air Italian courtyard.

On a special “Arts in Bloom” tour, discover the common ground you share with artists inspired by nature. Museum docents have selected several works of art to see that depict and celebrate flowers, gardens and nature. Listen as they share information about the artists and artworks, provide social and historical context, and create connections with everyday life.

Shop at the Museum Store. The store offers extensive selections of unusual gift items, art and design books, home décor, and cards.

You’ll also stop at the Kauffman Memorial Garden across the street from the Nelson. A garden right out of a storybook, this lush, European-style garden features 7,000 plant varieties, playful fountains, and elegant pieces of sculpture. You’ll feel whisked away to another world.

As Thomas Merton says, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” Come find yourself and lose yourself for a day at the Nelson.


Departure Time: 8:00 a.m., Monday, June 19


Max Participants: 42




Water on the bus. Be sure to bring your conference water bottle.



Tour is handicap accessible.


Kauffman Memorial Garden (Next to the Nelson-Atkins Museum)

Because it would be a shame to be so close and not see it, the first stop is the Kauffman Memorial Garden across the street from the Nelson-Atkins Museum. Prepare to fall in love! This two-acre garden is a serene and tranquil jewel in European style in the heart of the city. Enclosed by beautiful limestone walls and lined with brick paths, it offers visitors many places to sit and relax. The garden features 7,000 plant varieties that include vintage and modern perennials, annuals, shrubs, bulbs and trees. It also has playful fountains and elegant pieces of bronze sculpture by local artist Tom Corbin. Five distinct garden rooms, including a “Secret Garden” and a conservatory, deliver surprise and delight around every corner, in every season.

This lush garden is an enduring gift to Kansas City from Ewing and Muriel Kauffman, a prominent Kansas City couple beloved for their philanthropic and civic contributions.

Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park

Hop back on the bus for the short ride across the street to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, or “the Nelson” as Kansas Citians call it. Not all art is inside the Nelson! Start with a guided tour of the outdoor Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park led by museum docents. Most are also Extension Master Gardeners.

On 22 acres, the sculpture park is expansive and open, wrapping around the front and back of the museum. It is home to over 35 sculptures, many of them massive. Some sculptures are in open spaces. Some are along the meandering brick walks among the many mature trees, bushes and ground covers. And some are rather hidden. Whether in open spaces or discovered, all of the sculpture are stunning to look at. The bulk of the sculptures are by contemporary sculptor Henry Moore, a 20th century artist. He’s best known for his semi-abstract monumental bronze sculptures.

Probably one of the first sculptures you’ll notice are the enormous shuttlecocks sprawled along the front of the museum. Weighing in at 5,500 pounds each, they are pretty hard to miss. There’s another shuttlecock behind the museum. The idea is to imagine the museum building is a badminton net and the lawn as the playing field. Controversial when they were installed, today the shuttlecocks are a Kansas City icon and practically the Nelson’s mascots.

In addition to the sculptures, be sure not to miss:

  • Glass walk-through labyrinth.
  • One Sun/34 Moons reflecting pool. It’s set atop the underground parking garage. During the day, the sunlight reflects through the pool to the parking garage. At night, the 34 moons in the pool light up and create shimmering patters in the garage below.

Modern sculptures under blue skies equals a lovely way to spend a morning.

Lunch at Rozzelle Court

Located inside the Nelson, the Roselle Court restaurant is dramatically styled as a 15th-century Italian courtyard. With high, vaulted ceilings, it’s lovely, romantic and memorable. Enjoy lunch surrounded by beautiful works of art. There’s also time to wander through the Museum Store.

“Arts in Bloom”

After a refreshing lunch at the beautiful Roselle Court, there’s a very special tour in store for you. Designed by museum docents just for you, this tour looks at sculpture, paintings, and the decorative arts that depict and celebrate flowers, gardens and nature. (By the way, some of your museum docents are also Extension Master Gardeners.)

You’ll explore works of art from China, Japan, Europe and America. Follow along as your docents explain:

  • The context for a work of art.
  • Why an artist chose what he or she created.
  • The cultural significance of the artist’s work for its time and place in history.
  • Fascinating anecdotes about some of our most loved flowers.
  • The importance and relevance of art in our lives today.

A day at the Nelson is truly a wow. You won’t be disappointed. The only regret may be wishing there was more time to explore the other rooms and exhibitions.

After a culture-filled day, it’s time to board the bus for the 35-minute ride back to the Convention Center. We should arrive around 4 p.m.



June 19
8:00 am - 4:00 pm
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