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ABOUT US

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Where Jazz Lives

Located in the Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District in Kansas City, MO, the American Jazz Museum showcases the sights and sounds of jazz through interactive exhibits and films, the Changing Gallery exhibit space, Horace M. Peterson III Visitors Center, The Blue Room, and Gem Theater. Since its inception in September 1997, the Museum hosts thousands of students, scholars, musicians and fans of the arts for over 200 performances, education programs, special exhibitions, community events and more each year, providing an opportunity to learn about the legends, honor their legacy, or simply enjoy the sounds of modern day jazz.

OUR HISTORY

25 years ago today, the American Jazz Museum opened its doors on September 5, 1997. Originally named the Kansas City Jazz Museum, KCMO Mayor Emanuel Cleaver II, the museum’s Executive Director Dr. Rowena Stewart, and community members planned a noteworthy three-day celebration.

18th Street was blanketed in a sea of red carpet. The inaugural event featured the best of area and national talent including Billy Dee Williams, George Duke, his niece Dianne Reeves, Harry Belafonte, and Al Jarreau. Megastars including Tony Bennett, Claude “Fiddler” Williams, and Pat Metheny also took to the Gem Theater stage.

For 25 years, the American Jazz Museum has opened its doors to hundreds of thousands of visitors, championing the impact that jazz has on our everyday lives and the enduring possibility to learn more about ourselves and each other through each artifact, program, and performance.

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OUR
MISSION

The mission of the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City is to celebrate and exhibit the experience of jazz as an original American art form through performance, exhibition, education, and research at one of the country's jazz crossroads – 18th & Vine.

OUR
VISION

The American Jazz Museum is dedicated to public service and collaborative efforts to expand the influence, awareness and appreciation of jazz among the widest demographic of people across the Kansas City region, as well as among those based in various locations worldwide.

Since the birth of America’s only indigenous art form and its journey across the globe, certain cities have put distinctive stamps in its sound, history and development. Kansas City is one of the greatest purveyors of jazz – and it continues to offer fertile ground for the music to thrive.

OUR
Programs

The Kansas City JAZZ ACADEMy

Excellent jazz instruction for middle and high school students interested in improving their skills.

Jazz Storytelling

Aimed at toddlers to early elementary schoolers, Jazz Storytelling is lead by vocalist Lisa Henry, storyteller Brother John, drummer Mike Warren, and bassist Tyrone Clark. Their master storytelling skills bring an innovative, engaged approach for you and the whole family to enjoy!

Kansas City Jazz Academy

The American Jazz Museum is proud to present the Kansas City Jazz Academy, providing excellent jazz instruction for middle and high school students beyond a traditional public/private school music program.

Our Staff - Our Staff - Our Staff - Our Staff -
Our Staff - Our Staff - Our Staff - Our Staff -

Rashida Phillips

Executive Director
HUMAN RESOURCES

Kim Washington

Director of Human Resources
816.474.1719
FINANCE & OPERATIONS

Jenny Vaupel

Director of Finance & Operations
816.474.0393

Sherita Wilks

Accountant

Mike Tosatto

Retail Store Manager - Swing Shop
816.474.0890
VISITOR EXPERIENCE

James McGee

Senior Manager of Visitor & Virtual Experience
816.474.0320

Gerald Dunn

​Senior Manager of Entertainment
816.474.0891 ​

Clarence Smith

Manager of Kansas City Jazz Academy
816.682.2935
Exhibitions & Collections

Dr. Dina Bennett

Director of Collections & Curatorial Affairs
816.474.0463

Chloe Willett

Exhibitions Coordinator
816.784.1117

Morgan Smith

Registrar
816.474.4469
External Affairs & Communications

Lisa Alpert

Director of External Affairs & Communications
816.895.8470

Rheana McRoy

Membership Engagement Associate
816.895.8472
The Blue Room

Andre Tyler

Blue Room General Manager
816.842.0962
Board Officers

Dan Cranshaw

Chair

Mark Sappington

Vice-Chair

Niki Lee Donawa

Secretary

Stephenie K. Smith

Treasurer
Board of Directors

Andrew Ky Haynes

Ara McGee

Charles Williams

Advanced Combo Co-Director

Dr. Brandon Martin

Felicia Safir

Jason Parson

Mark Logan

Mary Kemper Wolf

Sally Firestone

Development Committee

Andrew Ky Haynes

Dan Cranshaw

Chair

Mark Sappington

Vice-Chair

Niki Lee Donawa

Secretary

Stephenie K. Smith

Treasurer
Collections Committee

Alex Mallett

Andrew Gustafson

Mark Logan

Mary Kemper Wolf

Education & Entertainment Committee

Charles Williams

Advanced Combo Co-Director

Felicia Safir

Garrett Webster

Governance Committee

Sally Firestone

Niki Lee Donawa

Secretary
Community Partnerships
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media/marketing Inquiries
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CAREERS

Facilities Associate
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Internship: John H. Baker Film Collection
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Visitor Experience Associate
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Customer Engagement Associate
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