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“Brilliantly executed, fascinating history lesson”

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
Ranked #8 of 155 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.
Arcadia, CA
Level 6 Contributor
170 reviews
63 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 139 helpful votes
“Brilliantly executed, fascinating history lesson”
Reviewed June 29, 2010

All the previous reviews mentioned the many fine points of this museum. I will add only that this is a must-see for all people, perhaps 7 years and older. In fact, try to drive out of your way to see it if you can.

It's a fascinating part of American history to know that there was interracial, inter-league baseball playing from right after the Civil War until the First World War. Then it all stopped due to racism in the "modern age". My biggest surprise: a newspaper account of an all Negro women's baseball team in 1906! My nine-year-old was very moved by the displays about prejudice, unfairness, and eventual triumph over old attitudes.

There is something magical about baseball (my son never got into it, alas, just karate). I think it really has a redemptive theme - one batter alone against nine other players in one of the very few sports where the defensive team controls the ball. Then, you switch back next half-inning and you must become a seamless part of a well-coordinated team.

This museum shows just how great it is to be an American where all your fears and doubts can be dissolved at the crack of a bat and the crowd leaping to its feet.

Hurray for the NLBM!

P.S. Be sure to see the Jazz Museum next door too!

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2 Thank SteveLicata
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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ann arbor michigan
Level 6 Contributor
145 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 499 helpful votes
“An absolutely outstanding experience”
Reviewed February 17, 2010

I had too short a time to spend at the museum and I wish I had arranged to stay longer. As a baseball fan, I found it fascinating. As an American, a child of the 60's, I cried, literally, to think of the injustice. As a baseball fan, I can only imagine what the game would have been like then and now had these players been able to play in the majors. The museum reminds us of this constantly but, at the same time, celebrates the negro leagues for the inspiration and the entertainment they were. Baseball fan or not, I would definitely recommend this fine museum.

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2 Thank robd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
USA
Level 6 Contributor
410 reviews
122 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 240 helpful votes
“Nice Museum”
Reviewed January 18, 2010

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

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1 Thank cdrake3460
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kansas City, MO
Level 5 Contributor
52 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“My only complaint: it wasn't big enough!”
Reviewed January 20, 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.

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Thank KCRestauranteur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
467 reviews
134 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 482 helpful votes
“A very well done museum & a great visitor experience.”
Reviewed January 18, 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.

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2 Thank hatlad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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