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Kansas City is buzzing: explore it with Google Arts & Culture

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In January 17, 1920, under the terms of the Eighteenth Amendment, Prohibition began in America. As the rest of the U.S. started drying out, Kansas City, Missouri filled its glass and earned the nickname “Paris of the Plains.” Thanks to political boss Tom Pendergast, who laid down the law in KC, the booze continued to flow. When asked how he was able to justify ignoring Prohibition, Pendergast simply explained, “the people are thirsty.” Journalist Edward Morrow quipped at the time, “if you want to see some sin, forget about Paris and go to Kansas City.”  

If you’re parched for more historical information about this Midwestern metropolis, here are seven things you can now discover on Google Arts & Culture—no speakeasy password required for entry. Today, Kansas City is a place where BBQ smoke rings meet finer things, where contemporary creatives cross cultural icons and where architectural treasures are housed in vibrant neighborhoods.

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    Read about the unique style of jazz that flourished in Kansas City and the rise and fall of political boss Tom Pendergast’s power in online stories from the Kansas City Public Library.

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    Burnt ends, the smoky, crispy-yet-juicy dish cut from the brisket tip, has been a KC BBQ staple since Arthur Bryant’s started passing pieces out for free while customers waited in line.

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    See KC in 360 degrees: catch a panoramic view of the skyline from the top of the Liberty Memorial Tower at National WWI Museum and Memorial.

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    In World War I, the poster, previously the successful medium of commercial advertising, was recognized as a means of spreading national propaganda with near unlimited possibilities. Explore iconic posters at the National WWI Museum and Memorial.

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    Moshe Safdie, architect for the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, wanted the viewer to see music and movement in every angle.

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    The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) celebrates and honors the history of African American Baseball. The Kansas City Monarchs were the longest-running franchise in the history of baseball's Negro Leagues. Jackie Robinson was among their star players.

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    Dubbed “Kansas City’s Coney Island,” Electric Park became the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Disney World.

1. Time travel back to the Roaring Twenties: Want to know how the city earned its reputation as a wide-open town? Read about the unique style of jazz that flourished and the rise and fall of one Pendergast’s power in online stories from the Kansas City Public Library. From there, you can keep getting your history fix by checking out early footage of KC from the Kansas City Museum. Get to know the Man from Missouri—President Harry S. Truman—in 360 degree imagery, from his personal home at the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site to a replica of his Oval Office at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum.

2. Check out KC’s culinary chronicles: We’d be remiss to not brag about the place where burnt ends were born - get the inside scoop with Visit KC. Or go beyond BBQ and get Jenny Vergara’s take on the thriving local culinary scene.

3. See KC in 360 degrees: Tour of some of Kansas City’s most beloved neighborhoods, from West Bottoms to Westport.  Continue your virtual tour with sites ranging from a former storage building (now the National Archives at Kansas City) to a panoramic view of the skyline from the top of the Liberty Memorial Tower at National WWI Museum and Memorial.

4. Marvel at the masterpieces of Missouri: Zoom into ultra high resolution images of artworks from The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (including Missouri’s own George Caleb Bingham), get to know some of the renowned alumni of the Kansas City Art Institute and discover cutting edge contemporary artists from the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.

5. Admire the local architectural: While KC is said to have been built with more boulevards than Paris, more fountains than Rome, the city today stands full of architectural gems. Explore including the renowned Kauffman Center for Performing Arts and the City of Fountains on Google Earth.

6. Stand at the intersection of where the blues meets baseball: Get to know the 18th and Vine neighborhood with a historical overview from the Black Archives of Mid-America, experience neon signs of jazz clubs past in virtual reality at the American Jazz Museum. Take a swing at learning more about the team Jackie Robinson represented, the Kansas City Monarchs, thanks to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

7. Find inspiration from KC’s creatives: The city has served as the inspiration for a broad range of creatives, from Bob Dylan to Norman Rockwell. Get to know a few of the inventions we have Kansas Citians to thank for, the park that inspired Walt Disney World with the Jackson County Historical Society and the songs, TV shows, and movies that portray the city.

The vivacious spirit that once flowed through KC during the Prohibition era is more present than ever today. And now, anyone, anywhere can experience Kansas City by visiting, downloading the Android or iOS app or visiting Google Arts & Culture.

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