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WHA 2024 HOTEL: SHERATON

WHA MEMBERS*: RESERVE JULY 8

*WHA members and student members should sign into their WHA profile and visit the Members Only website where they will find a link to reserve a room for the 2024 WHA Conference beginning July 8. The reservation link will open to all on July 24!


Room rates at the Kansas City Sheraton at Crown Center are $187/night. The WHA has a small block of discounted rooms at $159/night  for *WHA student members only* (the staff will review these reservations to ensure eligibility). Book today!


Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center

2345 McGee Street

Kansas City, MO 64108

1-816-841-1000


The WHA's 2024 Conference will be held at the Sheraton at Crown Center in the heart of downtown Kansas City. Learn more about the hotel and its amenities through this link. The Sheraton is connected to the Westin Hotel through "The Link" -- an 880-foot elevated pedestrian path that is weather protected with lighted access. If operating at a moderate walking pace, it takes 7-10 minutes to move betwen the hotel's entrance and exit spaces for The Link. This estimate does not take into account the amount of time it takes to move from session rooms, exhibit halls, and meal functions, so please plan ahead for a relaxed trip across The Link.

WHA 2024 TOURS

2024 Tours run Thursday OR Saturday, so please double check each tour date.

Tours will be combined with the SHA!


Wheelchair lifts available for tour shuttles upon request. Please contact wha@westernhistory.org to indicate your interest.

Dividing Lines - Kansas City and Redlining

Thursday, October 24, 1:00 PM, Meet at Hotel Lobby

Accessibility: The museum galleries are wheelchair accessible. Learn more about the Johnson County Museum’s accessibility features here.

Cost: $35 | Transportation: Bus shuttle will be provided | Capacity: 25


The Kansas City area shaped and was shaped by redlining and residential segregation. Participants will take a guided tour of the Johnson County Museum’s exhibits on foot to learn about the creation of America’s suburbs. Next, participants will hear an audio tour titled “Dividing Lines,” developed by the Johnson County Library and Race Project KC. While riding on the bus across the suburban and urban landscapes, learning about how residential segregation, suburban development, federal redlining policies, and modern legacies have created a divided landscape with evident inequities. Experts will be on hand to answer questions, add important local context, and deepen the group’s understanding of this national history and continued community impact. A representative from a local organization will share on the bus how these histories and legacies continue to impact previously redlined and currently disinvested Latino and Black communities today. Although using Johnson County, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, as the lens into redlining, participants will learn how their communities have endured similar histories and bear similar legacies today.

Wear comfortable walking shoes for the museum tour and bring water and snacks on the bus if desired. Price includes admission, tour guides, and transportation.

18th & Vine District Tour

Saturday, October 26, 1:00 PM Meet at Conference Hotel Lobby

Accessibility: All three locations are ADA-accessible, with 3 minutes of walking or a short bus ride between buildings. Learn more about the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum's accessibility features here.

Cost: $45 | Capacity: 25


Known as the 18th & Vine District today, it was once the heart of the racially segregated Black community centered around 12th to 18th and Vine Streets. Today, the district is celebrated for Kansas City Jazz, barbeque, and baseball, but its history encompasses much more than these three staples. The District was a second downtown for Kansas City’s African American population. Because the city’s department stores, restaurants, theaters, and streetcars were off-limits during the height of the Jim Crow era, the District had everything the community needed– doctors and a hospital, lawyers, car salesmen, restaurants, theaters, hotels, markets, and schools. It drew Black migrants, particularly from the South, but from across the nation.

Participants will ride to the District by bus and visit three institutions that collectively tell this history. They will tour the exhibits at the Black Archives of Mid-America to explore an overview of the District’s history and learn about its archival holdings. A short walk away, the participants will tour the American Jazz Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, which capture some of the people, events, and places for which Kansas City was and continues to be nationally known. Tours will be primarily self-guided, though docents, volunteers, and staff will be on hand to orient and answer questions at each location. Participants should wear comfortable walking shoes and can bring water on the bus. Each museum offers a gift shop. Price includes admission to three cultural venues and transportation.

The Civil War(s) in the Missouri-Kansas Border Region

Thursday, October 24, 1:00 PM, Meet at Hotel Lobby

Accessibility: Not all aspects of this tour are accessible. Viewing all sites requires a short walk, with one being downhill. There is no elevator available to access the second story at the Wornall House. 

Cost: $25 | Transportation: Bus shuttle provided by Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area| Capacity: 15


This bus and walking tour will explore the stories of diverse Missouri/Kansas border residents– Indigenous, Black, and white, who experienced the violence and consequences of civil war long before the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter. The tour will begin at the Quindaro Ruins site in Kansas City, Kansas. Quindaro was the first free state port town that riverboat travelers encountered when going up the Missouri River. Participants will explore the histories of the Wyandot on whose land the town was built, abolitionist settlers who fought for a free Kansas and an end to enslavement, and the many Missouri freedom seekers who fled across the river to the town. Participants will explore the archaeological ruins of the historic town (a steep downhill walk) and learn from the many historians and community activists working to preserve Quindaro’s pre-and post-Civil War history. Participants will then make a short trip to the Kansas City Plaza district, where we will learn about the 1864 Battle of Westport, the largest Civil War battle west of the Mississippi. The site of the battle is now one of KC’s premier urban parks. The tour concludes at the Wornall House Museum, one of KC’s few extant pre-war structures. The house was the site of a field hospital during the battle and is a well-interpreted site of enslavement.

Claiming Space through Public Art: Exploring Kansas City’s Latinx History through Muralism

Thursday, October 24, 1:00 PM, Meet at Hotel Lobby

Accessibility: The walking portion will include breaks for participants with limited mobility, and guides will be using microphones during the tour.

Cost: $35 | Transportation: Bus shuttle will be provided | Capacity: 15


The Kansas City region has been home to Latinxs for over a century. Participants will visit three historic Latino neighborhoods: Argentine in Kansas City, KS, and the Westside and Northeast in Kansas City, MO. This tour will explore the histories of these Latinx communities through over a dozen murals that highlight stories of migration, labor, community formation, activism, cultural celebrations, experiences with discrimination, and urban development in the 20th and 21st centuries. Through conversations with local muralists and historians Gene Chávez and Sandra Enríquez, the tour will highlight how murals have helped preserve and celebrate Latinx histories through Kansas City’s built environment.

This will be a bus and walking tour. Organizers recommend participants wear comfortable shoes and bring water. There will be an opportunity to purchase a meal from a local restaurant during the tour. Price includes artist tour guides and transportation.

History of Kansas City BBQ, Beer, and Bourbon

Thursday, October 24, 1:00 PM, Meet at Hotel Lobby

Accessibility: Both sites are ADA-accessible. The production floor at J. Rieger Distillery is not climate-controlled, and participants may be exposed to uncomfortably warm or cold temperatures.

Cost: $75 | Transportation: Bus shuttle will be provided | Capacity: 15


This tour will highlight Kansas City’s history through food and drink. Participants will go by bus to Vine Street Brewing, Missouri’s first Black-owned brewery, in the historic 18th & Vine District. After a quick taste, the group will stop briefly at the former location of Henry Perry’s famous BBQ restaurant. Perry is known as the “father of Kansas City Barbeque, so the bus next stops at Arthur Bryant’s and Gates, the two Kansas City establishments that connect their roots back to cooks trained by Mr. Perry. After that, it’s time for beer or bourbon as the bus heads to the city’s East Bottoms for a stop at the J. Rieger Distillery located in the former bottling plant of Heim Beer. The Distillery has some of the best history exhibits in the Kansas City area, a great patio, and an “adult slide” from the upper to lower floors. The bus returns to the hotel, but the guides have plenty of suggestions to keep your exploration of Kansas City’s food and drink scene going after the tour is done! 

Participants should wear comfortable, closed toe shoes and be prepared to purchase their own food and drinks. Photo ID is required at tour check-ins. Price includes food, two locations/tours, three drinks, and transportation.

Trails to Trains: Getting from Point A to B in the Nineteenth Century

Saturday, October 26, 9:00 AM, Meet at Union Station

Accessibility: The Alexander Majors House is not fully ADA-accessible due to its historic nature. Attendees who are unable to ascend stairs will be provded with a second floor guide and a volunteer will answer any of their questions.

Cost: $55 | Transportation: Bus shuttle will be provided | Capacity: 15


Sitting at the confluence of two rivers, Kansas City was a major transportation hub between East and West in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Participants will learn how transportation evolved in Kansas City and how it shaped westward expansion. Attendees will meet at historic Union Station to explore the exhibit RPO: The Romance of Rail and Mail at Union Station. Attendees will then travel to the Alexander Majors House, home of the founder of the Pony Express and the massive shipping company Russell, Majors & Waddell, for guided tours of the historic house. On the way, they will hear from Margaret Hughes of the Kansas City Trailside Center about how Kansas City served as a vital trail hub to the western United States. Shifting towards river transportation, participants will hear from Amahia Mallea, Associate Professor of History at Drake University, about the importance of the river to Kansas City as the bus heads to the Arabia Steamboat Museum. The steamboat sank near Kansas City in 1856 and is now a time capsule of life in the mid-nineteenth century situated in the historic City Market.

This tour will be partially on a bus and touring indoor historic sites on foot. A light snack will be provided midway through the tour. Attendees are welcome to bring money for gift shop or snack purchases, but this is optional. Price includes admission, a light snack, and transportation.

The Sheraton and the Westin are “linked” to Union Station via an elevated, lighted, and enclosed pedestrian walkway called The Link. To access The Link, follow signs in your hotel toward Union Station. Once you arrive at Union Station, the tour will meet in the Grand Hall next to the central information booth.

The Crossroads and Westside Urban Hike Tour

Saturday, October 26, 9:00 AM, Meet at Union Station

Accessibility: Participants will take a short ride on the KC Streetcar, which offers 100% level boarding at all stops. The walking pace is described as "moderate". Urban Hikes KC guides will use microphones during the entirety of the tour.

Cost: $25 | Capacity: 10


This tour, guided by Urban Hikes Kansas City, will explore the history of the Crossroads District and the nearby Westside neighborhood. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Crossroads became one of Kansas City’s largest manufacturing and warehousing neighborhoods, and after 1914, when Union Station was completed, railroad freight was stored, shipped, and sorted. Today, the Crossroads is known for modern art galleries, trendy industrial lofts, great local eateries, and diverse populations. The Westside, an immigrant community, transitioned into a Mexican enclave in the early 20th century. The neighborhood remains a Latino community, although urban renewal, highway building, and gentrification threaten its history and population.

This hike will begin at Union Station. Participants will weave in and out of alleyways in the Crossroads Arts District and into the Westside’s architecturally and culturally diverse neighborhood. While the tour will enter a couple of historical buildings, it is mostly outside. Participants will observe intricately painted murals and street art; walk atop bridges and below underpasses; experience nature and the rich history of downtown buildings. The hike ends with a satisfying ride back to the starting point on Kansas City’s free streetcar.

Please note that this will be a 3-hour, 2.5-mile hike, and it will be a workout. Urban Hikes KC highly recommends bringing a water bottle and wearing comfortable shoes and weather-appropriate clothing. Price includes a tour guide.

Truman Presidential Library and Historic Neighborhood Tour

Thursday, October 24, 1:00 PM, Meet at Hotel Lobby

Accessibility: The Truman Presidential Library and Museum is ADA-accessible and provides wheelchairs for guest use. This tour also features a guided walk through a residential neighborhood, where the presence of accessibility features cannot be guaranteed.

Cost: $40 | Transportation: Bus shuttle will be provided | Capacity: 15


This tour will cover both the Truman Presidential Library and Museum and the Harry S. Truman Historic District National Landmark. The Truman Museum recently underwent a $30 million renovation and is a must see for all those interested in Truman’s presidency. Two Truman experts will provide a tour of the museum and the historic neighborhood. The Truman Library’s museum curator, Mark Adams, will lead the museum tour, and Jon Taylor, a Truman author, will provide the neighborhood walking tour.

Restrooms and water fountains will be available. Tour organizers encourage participants to bring money for gift shop purchases. Price includes admission, tour guide, and transportation.

2024 LOCAL ARRANGEMENTS COMMITTEE MEMBERS


2024 LOCAL ARRANGEMENTS CO-CHAIRS

Sandra Enríquez, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Andrew Gustafson, Johnson County Museum
John Herron, Kansas City Public Library
Mark Adams, Harry S. Truman Library and Museum
Dina Bennett, American Jazz Museum
Kent Blansett, University of Kansas
Gene Chavez, Kanasas City Museum
Kristen Epps, Kansas State University

Elyssa Ford, Northwest Missouri State University

James Leiker, Johnson County Community College
Amahia Mallea, Drake University

Glenn North, Kansas City Museum

Steve Nowak, Watkins Museum of History
Jay Price, Wichita State University
Tim Reidy, Rockhurst High School
Maria Vallejo, Lamar University
Lora Vogt, National World War I Museum and Memorial
Holly Zane, Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area


Western History Association

University of Kansas | History Department

1445 Jayhawk Blvd. | 3650 Wescoe Hall

Lawrence, KS 66045 | 785-864-0860

wha@westernhistory.org 


The WHA is located in the Department of History at the University of Kansas. The WHA is grateful to KU's History Department and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for their generous support!