“The Kansas City That Never Was” Exhibit

An illustrated street map showing "Alternative Stadium Sites" with arrows

Now through August 2, 2024 | Special Collections Gallery, Miller Nichols Library

Curated by: Stuart Hinds, Curator for Special Collections & Archives 

Designed by: Sean McCue, User Interface and Graphic Designer

Live in a city long enough and it can become a foreign place.  The march of progress yields a cityscape that is genuinely fluid, subject to the whims of planners, businesses, and governments.  One of the great pleasures of the urban experience is to monitor how a city grows, evolves, and changes over time.  A related, perhaps equally intriguing exercise is to review projects that never came to fruition, to imagine what could have been had circumstances been different.  The Kansas City That Never Was looks at a series of Kansas City’s failed plans and defunct developments, that, had they happened, would have generated a metropolis very different from the one in which we currently find ourselves.

This exhibit draws from archival photos, design plans, and news items held in LaBudde Special Collections, supported by materials from the State Historical Society of Missouri – Kansas City Research Center and the Missouri Valley Special Collections at the Kansas City Public Library. Augmented reality shows visitors photos of the current site of some of the cancelled developments, overlaying our real environment upon one that we can only imagine. In addition to the exhibit in the Special Collections Gallery, a digital version is available.

A student in a jean jacket faces four exhibit panels on the gallery wall, viewing the panels through their phone screen, which shows augmented reality content
A student views some of the exhibit panels on the gallery wall through their phone screen, showing the exhibit augmented with a contemporary photo of the location.

The exhibit can be viewed during the library’s open hours. Metered parking is available in the parking lot north of the library. Meters must be paid using the AMP Park mobile app or online at https://aimsmobilepay.com/.

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Case dimensions: 5’ long x 30” wide x 9” high sitting atop 3’ legs

Glass exhibit table


The First Floor Gallery is located just inside the main entrance of the Miller Nichols Library.

Wall with exhibit content

Conference Room 325

Located on the Third Floor of Miller Nichols Library. For access, enter the library at the north ground floor entrance or the west first floor entrance. Then take the stairs or the elevator to the third floor..

Map of third floor of Miller Nichols Library