KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Coinciding with the upcoming federal holiday Veterans Day, the National WWI Museum and Memorial is implementing four major upgrades to its main gallery.

Veterans Day is next Saturday, Nov. 11, but the exhibit will open up next Tuesday Nov. 7, however it won’t get completed in its entirety until 2025.

“The Main Gallery upgrades opening November 7, as well as the projects that will take place into 2025, are the most expansive changes to the Main Gallery since opening in 2006,” said Dr. Christopher Warren, Vice President of Curatorial Affairs and Chief Curator of the National WWI Museum and Memorial.

Phase one of the upgrades features four pieces detailed in the museum’s release:

  • Prologue: Grand Illusions: Setting the stage for war, a map-based interactive and large-format media frieze brings a global perspective to the gallery by showcasing empires, strategic alliances and everyday citizens who would soon be in the midst of catastrophe.
  • Interactive Touch Tables: Four new interactive touch tables feature unique programming covering aircraft, communications, maritime and uniforms – with the overarching theme of wartime innovations. 
  • America Mobilizes: The story of America’s great mobilization for the war – including Uncle Sam and a heavy emphasis on American patriotism – highlights the mood as Americans joined the war effort in 1917. The gallery also sets the stage for provocative stories of dissent.
  • Move ‘Em Out and Bon Voyage: Draft mules pull the Museum’s caisson artifact, accompanied by their handler, and a mural and two new interactive displays highlight the integral role of animals in the war effort on all sides.

“Guests will experience upgraded technology and new and interesting narratives from WWI that will create a richer and more immersive experience,” Warren added.

Although updates will continue into 2025, the museum’s release states it “will remain open and guest impact is anticipated to be minimal.”

Upgrades can first be seen by the public next Tuesday, but those who wait to go that weekend (Nov. 10-12) can get half price off admission, while veterans can get in free.

This phase of construction follows renovations made to the lower level of the museum that opened in May. It is being designed by Ralph Applebaum Associates who also did the original designing of the main gallery.

The second phase of this project is planned to open in spring of 2024. “Into the Trenches” will recreate what it was like to be inside a war trench, allowing guests to step inside the displays.

The downtown Kansas City war museum was built almost a decade ago and has been a staple to the city ever since.