Danielonfriendly skies

Stepping into History: Visiting the TWA Museum in Kansas City

TWA L1011

Shortly after the Fourth of July, I took a trip out to Lawrence, Kansas, to complete an exam for one of the summer classes that I am taking. As usual, I flew United from Denver, which is one of three carriers that offer non-stop service to Kansas City (MCI). The others are Frontier, which I used to fly all the time before gaining status on United, and then Southwest, the airline that I'll never fly in this lifetime.

After meeting up with some friends that night, and then taking my exam the following morning, I had a couple of hours before my flight back to Denver, which I used to visit the TWA Museum in at the Downtown Kansas City Airport. Unfortunately, the airport is located in Missouri, but I'll save those jokes for another post ;-)

The TWA Museum has been in Kansas City for quite some time, although it just recently moved to it's new location at the downtown airport. Previously, it was located near the KC expo center by the main airport, but attempts to visit it always failed due to lack of information on their hours or location.

 

MKC

On June 7th, the museum moved into a new location, the former headquarters for Transcontinental & Western Air (T&WA), thanks to a donation from Signature Flight Support. Although small, the museum has plans to grow, and is in talks with Signature to secure more space.

Thanks to the assistance of a former TWA mechanic, the museum has items that allow the public to see what it was like to fly during the golden days of air travel. Just imagine, no TSA, or cramped economy cabins, and the airlines actually treated their customers as if they valued their business! (I'm looking at you, Jeff $mi$ek).

History

The museum charges a very modest $5 entry fee (or less for children & seniors), which comes with a brochure that includes a great deal of information about the items in the nine cases that line the wall. Additionally, I was the only person visiting the museum at that time, which meant that one of the museum volunteers walked around with me, explaining what each item was. I thorougly enjoyed talking to the volunteer, although it mad me sad to discuss my memories of flying TWA out of Denver to visit my Grandparents for Thanksgiving. TWA was also the airline that I got my first operational-upgrade to first class on! :-)

There are a total of nine hand-made cases in the viewing area, and each contains an unbelievable amount of TWA memorbilia. Some of the items included are a wicker chair that was installed in the Ford Tri-Motor, various flight attendant uniforms from the 1930s and up, as well as various pins that were worn by TWA employees. Given my limited time to visit the museum, and my dying camera battery, I was not able to take a picture of each case. However, I plan to visit the museum again in August, after I have moved back to KU. I plan to take my DSLR and spend most of the day taking photos, at which point I'll put up the full description from each case. Below are a number of photos that I took, as well as the link to the photo gallery which they are stored in.

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Long live the Boeing 757!

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Imagine this menu on your next international first or business class flight!

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An article in the Kansas City Star about TWA doubling STL flights, while reducing them at MCI

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The rest of my photos are here: TWA Museum - Kansas City, MO

Although I only had an hour to browse the memorbilia and exhibits at the TWA museum, I left with a great deal of knowledge about the airline that took me to see my grandparents on seveal occasions. The flight attendants working in the museum had a great deal of pride for their former airline, and were happy to share their knowledge.

AA/TWA Merger Commercial

For more information, as well as directions to the museum, please visit their website.

Comments

Tremendous! Thanks for sharing this! :)

I loved their last livery--perhaps my favorite airline livery to this day, even more than the UA Rising livery.

#2
Peggy July 17, 2012 at 08:09 pm

I visited there 2 years ago and was amazed at all the TWA memorabilia, so much that I took my time looking at it all. Apparently, though, they couldn't get the concept of a woman (alone) being interested in aviation and kept tabs on me (peeking in on me 2-3 times). After being escorted onboard the vintage planes in the hangar at the end, my guide said I could browse the gift shop. I did, but as I looked at one item, saw out of the corner of my eye someone carefully stick his head in to see what I was doing and then duck out. Aside from that nonsense, I have many fond memories of TWA.

I'm so glad I saw this, too. Great post!

#4
Peggy July 18, 2012 at 01:36 am

Okay, I'm embarrassed - apparently, it was the Airline History Museum that I visited, not the TWA Museum. I've learned that the TWA Museum is staffed by nine female (former) airline employees.

@Matthew: Thanks!

@Darren: Glad you liked it! I look forward to returning, and hopefully spending more than an hour there!! ;-)

@Peggy: I've never been to the Airline History Museum, but it sounds like a fun place to visit! Thanks for the recommendation! It would be interesting to see if they followed me around, too :D

TWA and the people of TWA will be in our hearts forever. Up Up and Away... Byron Gentry Moonstar Gallery Foscoe, NC

#7
Dave Lay 11800 March 14, 2013 at 11:22 pm

I have a banner from the "Senior Olympics" at SanAntonio, TX. It is in excellent condition and about 2x8 feet. I have it boxed and would be delighted to donate it. As the event was sponsored by the Flights Attendants it would probably best fit their venue. Pls feel free to pass to them as you see appropriate.

Pls let me know to what address to mail it to.

@Dave: I would recommend that you contact the folks at the museum. Their contact info is as follows:

10 NW Richards Road, Suite 110 Kansas City, Missouri 64116

816-234-1011

[email protected]

#9
Suzanne Ritter June 23, 2014 at 08:26 pm

My daughter and I are going to the museum in mid July from St. Louis and we need directions to get there from downtown KC. Looking forward to our trip as that is the main reason we are going. Thank you for your help.

@Suzanne: Here are turn-by-turn directions from the KC Convention Center, which is downtown.

http://goo.gl/maps/Zyv67

#11
Suzanne Ritter June 24, 2014 at 01:20 pm

Daniel, I can't pull your entry up. Suzanne

@Suzanne: Try this link:

https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Kansas+City+Convention+Center,+West+13th+Street,+Kansas+City,+MO&daddr=TWA+Museum,+Northwest+Richards+Road,+Kansas+City,+MO&hl=en&sll=39.107186,-94.589152&sspn=0.021979,0.045447&geocode=FZmXVAId-bRc-iEhiUFfh076MSnJJImGW_DAhzEhiUFfh076MQ%3BFWTbVAIdHqZc-iGJQsiTA5QTeClrPPUv8PDAhzGJQsiTA5QTeA&oq=Kansas+City+Conventio&t=h&mra=ls&z=15

#13
Suzanne Ritter June 24, 2014 at 04:36 pm

Thanks, Daniel I'll call.

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