The National WWI Museum

After some great barbeque yesterday we headed to the National World War I Monument and Museum in downtown Kansas City, MO. The monument is on beautiful grounds and the tower is open for visitor to go up and take a look at the cityscape.

Inside the museum, the exhibit area is really well executed. I think it’s the best execution of information design in a smaller space I’ve ever seen. The interior space is circular with half the circle focusing on causes of the war and the 2 1/2 years of the war before American enters. The other half of the museum discusses America entering the war, its participation, and conclusion of the war. The collection of artifacts is really impressive and I saw countless items I’ve never seen before. This museum opened relatively recently, in 2006, and you can see the designers used all the tools they had available to develop this space.

I’m especially interested in information design and I liked the large examples of data visualization used in presenting timelines, statistics, and other facts on the war. They were all compelling and well designed. I also like how they break up the space and introduce the second half of the museum with a large vertical theater in the middle of the two sides that shows a movie about America entering the war. The screen is over a battlefield set that you look down on, creating a theatrical experience. Lighting effects are used to create atmosphere on the battlefield.

There are two large boardroom tables with interactive desktops. Again, great information diaplay. You can answer quizzes, view slideshows, and even design your own propaganda poster and email it to friends. I played with it all and sent my poster creation to random friends who were understandably confused by the bizzaro art with little explanation.

Bottom line is that it’s a great museum, the content is interesting but I’m also a sucker for great information design. I’d love to find out who was behind the creative direction and learn more about the project.

Later that evening…

While in Kansas City we were invited by a friend of Finn’s to come to a bingo/auction/raffle event to raise money for Mid-America Bully Breed Rescue. It was held at Hamburger Mary’s and we had a total blast. Seriously, this place was great. From the yummy drinks and food to the no-inhibitions staff dancing and singing, it was all fun. I even won a round of bingo and I got to yell out “BINGO!” for the first time in my life. It won me a set of wine glasses and a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. After accepting my prize the winner is obligated to walk around the entire restaurant so everyone else can ball up their bingo card and throw it at the person who ruined their chance of bellowing their own “BINGO!” The hostess chanted; “Pelt her! Pelt her!” and I took my lap like a champ.

Bingo hostess at Hamburger Mary

It was great to see another friend on this trip and get a more localized view of a new city for us. Thanks Brian and Alison! I hope the fundraiser was a huge success for the rescue.

Finn with Brian (old friend and dog lover)

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