Nelson Atkins Museum displays only 5 percent of its collection due to space constraints

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Nelson Atkins Museum is looking to expand, and they will meet Wednesday evening to discuss specifics on how to do that.

The museum says the number one priority is creating more office space because its staff has grown over the past five years and they are crammed together in makeshift offices on the third floor. Museum officials tell FOX 4 they want to move the staff into a couple of houses the museum owns across the street and bring the art out of storage to put back in the display cases.

Right now the museum only displays about five percent of its art collection. Tens of thousands of works are sitting in storage.

"There is more pressure in terms of the works of art that we get, to show them, and from the visitors to serve them better, so there is some pressure to accommodate more art and more visitors," Nelson Atkins Museum CEO and director Julian Zugazagoitia said.

The second priority is to display more sculptures in public spaces around the museum and continue to cultivate their sculpture garden.

Wednesday's meeting is the second of two meetings where Nelson Atkins officials will share their thoughts on the future plans for the nationally renowned museum.

"It is to both give back gallery space and public space that should be, again, devoted to the art and on the other side to have that working team that could really exponentially growing ideas and collaboration just by being closer together," Zugazagoitia said.

Another thought being floated around is to move the Rozzelle Court Restaurant to a stand-alone building nearby and put more art in that space. A long-term plan would be to build another extension, like the Bloch Building, to accommodate more art. Those two projects, though, would be several years down the line.

If you’d like to learn more and be a part of the discussion, you can attend the public meeting Wednesday  from 6-7:30 p.m., in the Atkins Auditorium inside.