After World War I ended, Kansas City leaders set out to create a lasting monument to the men and women who had served in the war.
In 1919, citizens of Kansas City raised more than $2.5 million in just 10 days for the construction of the monument, the equivalent of over $35 million today.
In 1921, more than 100,000 people gathered to see five supreme Allied commanders dedicate the site of the Liberty Memorial (today known as the National World War I Museum and Memorial.) This was the first time in history these leaders were together in one place.
Construction on the classical Egyptian Revival-style monument was completed in 1926 and the Liberty Memorial was dedicated by President Calvin Coolidge in front of more than 150,000 people.
Enshrined in the Memorial’s Memory Hall are bronze tablets inscribed with a <a href="https://www.theworldwar.org/visit/plan-your-visit/about-museum-and-memorial/kansas-city-war-dead">complete list</a> of the 441 Kansas Citians who died in World War I.
The Liberty Memorial Tower stands at the center of the Memorial Courtyard, with an observation deck for visitors to overlook downtown Kansas City. At night a "flame of inspiration" is emitted from the top of the 217-foot-tall Tower.
Neglected after a post-war U.S. tour, the <i>Panthéon</i> was stored outdoors and left to degrade until it was bought at auction in 1952 by William Haussner, a German WWI veteran who had become a successful Baltimore restaurateur. In 1957, Kansas City artist Daniel MacMorris persuaded Haussner to donate the panorama to the Memorial.
Though the storage conditions had destroyed sections of the painting, fragments of the <i>Panthéon</i> were rearranged and reworked by MacMorris and this newly configured composition was installed in Memory Hall, where it remains today.
Want to learn more? Go in-depth into the history and collection at <a href="https://www.theworldwar.org/memorial">theworldwar.org</a>.