Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins, in Kansas City, Missouri, is a comprehensive art museum with works of art dating from ancient to contemporary.

The museum welcomes and provide free admission (with the exception of special exhibitions), and delivers unparalleled opportunities to enjoy, appreciate and understand the finest visual arts and the varied cultures they represent—on the museum campus, online, and throughout Kansas City.

Of special interest to Freedom's Frontier National Heritage area are collections that relate to the themes of settling the frontier, the Missouri-Kansas Border War, or the enduring struggle for freedom. Many items among the museum's American Indian, American artist, and photography collections showcase those themes.

The museum's American Indian collection features more than 200 objects including pottery, basketry, quill and beadwork, textiles, painting and sculpture. In 1933, crates of American Indian objects arrived at the Nelson-Atkins filled with works purchased from the Fred Harvey Company in Kansas City and the Museum of the American Indian/Heye Foundation in New York (now the National Museum of the American Indian). For the next seven decades, the Kansas City community generously gave American Indian works to the museum for its growing collection. In 2009, a suite of three galleries dedicated to the art of Native peoples, and featuring more than 200 works, opened at the museum.

The American Collection has a particular strength in regional artists and themes. The museum is a major repository of work by the Missouri artist George Caleb Bingham with paintings that illuminate life and democracy on the American frontier. The Nelson-Atkins also holds the largest public collection of art by Missourian Thomas Hart Benton, which includes a bequest from the artist of 45 paintings and drawings.

The museum's photography collection encompasses photography’s history, from 1839 to the present, with strengths in 19th- and 20th-century American masterworks. The Photography galleries in the Bloch Building display a survey of the creative history of the medium from daguerreotypes to 21st-century processes. New installations are presented about three times a year.

The museum made its first significant acquisition of photographs in 1957, with the gift of 60 prints by Edward Weston. In December of 2005, through a combination gift and purchase, the museum obtained the renowned Hallmark Photographic Collection, which was comprised of more than 6,500 works by 900 artists. This acquisition immediately distinguished the Nelson-Atkins as one of the world’s premier museums for photography.

Contact Information

4525 Oak Street

Kansas City, MO 64111

Phone: 816-751-1278


Location Type



Site Info


Group Tours



Research Library


Water Fountain

Wheel Chair Accessible