Sunday Funday at the NLBM 


Article by Molly Buchanan

Photography by Molly Buchanan

When visitors bought their tickets to explore the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum on a Sunday afternoon, they probably didn’t realize that they signed up to have their tour narrated by a baseball-obsessed toddler, but they were good sports, nonetheless. (Pun intended.) On August 16th, the Negro Leagues celebrated their 100th Anniversary, and we decided that this celebration was the perfect excuse for our family to visit the museum. 

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of Negro Leagues baseball and its impact on the social advancement of America. The museum opened its doors to the public in a tiny, one-room office space in 1991. In November 1997, under the leadership of John “Buck” O’Neil, the museum moved into its beautiful new 10,000-square-foot home, located in the heart of Kansas City’s Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District. The museum welcomes thousands of visitors every year, and it has given a voice to an important part of baseball and American history. 

Although the museum did close to the public during the Missouri Stay At Home Order, it reopened in June with enhanced protocols to ensure your health and safety, while still enjoying an immersive learning experience.

Before you visit the museum, you will want to hop on their website for detailed information on new procedures and how to purchase tickets. The process is simple and ensures the most seamless and safety-first experience. 

The museum is a self-guided tour with hundreds of photographs, artifacts, articles, and other exhibits that feature information about, not just the Negro Leagues, but African American history in our country. The exhibits lend themselves to reflection and important discussions, which is one of the reasons it makes for such a great family-friendly activity. Because the tour is self-paced, you can peruse as you please, but the museum recommends at least an hour for your visit. (I recommend a little longer with a toddler in tow.)

My husband and I are big baseball lovers, and we’ve been thrilled that our son has taken an interest in the sport as well. We lingered on unknown facts of the sport and of the Negro Leagues, and it was so fun to see our little guy’s excitement every time he saw another baseball or bat. (Don’t worry, he counted every single one for us and everyone within an ear shot.)

The Negro Leagues museum is certainly appropriate for all ages, but our three-year-old was just the right age to begin to learn and gain a true experience from the visit. In a time where we are all looking for fun, yet safe things to do to get us out of the house, a visit to the museum was just the thing! We learned so many new bits of information, and our son hasn’t stopped talking about Sunday’s “adventure” since that time. 

Although we spent a little over an hour at the museum, we only scratched the surface of everything we wanted to see and explore deeper, so we are already planning a return visit. Perhaps without our tiny companion so we can focus on the exhibits and not a repetition of “Don’t Touch That?”

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