AMERICAN JAZZ MUSEUM

American Jazz Museum - Derek Slagle

DESCRIPTION: Located in the 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District, the sights and sounds of a uniquely American art form come alive at the first museum in the country devoted exclusively to jazz. The museum includes interactive exhibits and educational programs as well as The Blue Room, a working jazz club, and The Gem Theater, a modern 500-seat performing arts center.   

ADDRESS: 1616 E. 18th St., Kansas City, Mo.

PHONE: 816-474-VINE

WEB SITE: www.americanjazzmuseum.com 

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook-American Jazz Museum, Twitter-@americanjazzkc

HIGHLIGHTS: 

  • Rare photos, listening stations, memorabilia and personal items tell the stories of jazz legends Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Charlie Parker. Other exhibits highlight Kansas City’s unique contributions to the American medium.
  • By day a part of the museum and by night a working jazz club, The Blue Room features local and national artists in an intimate, creative, smoke-free setting. 
  • Studio 18th & Vine allows visitors to experiment hands-on with harmony, melody and rhythm. 
  • Four times a year, the Changing Gallery presents special artistic exhibits inspired by jazz, baseball and African-American life.
  • Behind The Gem Theater’s restored 1912 façade is a modern 500-seat performing arts center. In addition to the Museum’s annual “Jammin’ at the Gem” jazz masters’ concert series, The Gem hosts many community events and theatre productions.
  • At 17th & Vine, the museum’s Charlie Parker Memorial Plaza features at 17-foot bronze bust of the local musician. 

HOURS: Open 9a.m.-6 p.m. Tue.-Sat., noon-6p.m. Sun.

ADMISSION: Adults $10; seniors $9; and children (under 12) $6. Combo pass to American Jazz Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum: Adults $15; seniors $13; and children (under 12) $8. Admission to the Horace M. Peterson III Visitor Center and the Changing Gallery is free of charge.

ANNUAL ATTENDANCE: The Museums at 18th & Vine collectively average approximately 300,000 people annually. These figures do not include attendance for performances, concerts and private events held at the Gem Theater. The Blue Room receives approximately 40,000-50,000 visitors each year.

HISTORY: It’s no surprise that the American Jazz Museum is located in a former hotbed for the genre. During the 1920s and 30s, jazz flourished at 18th & Vine and on nearby 12th Street. The American Jazz Museum features four jazz greats, but Kansas City was considered a mecca for many musicians; legends like Count Basie, Andy Kirk and Joe Turner played in Kansas City. For decades, the Mutual Musicians Foundation, also located in the 18th & Vine District, has been the after-hours meeting place for some of Kansas City’s most talented jazz performers.

WHERE TO GET LUNCH: The original Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque (1727 Brooklyn Ave.) is a few blocks to the east.

WHAT’S NEARBY: In addition to the American Jazz Museum, the Museums at 18th & Vine complex also houses the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the Horace M. Peterson III Visitor Center and the Changing Gallery. 

ANNUAL EVENTS:

  • KC’s 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Fest—This annual October festival features two Kansas City traditions, jazz and barbecue. 
  • Jammin’ at The Gem—Concert series featuring national and international jazz musicians and vocalists.  

DID YOU KNOW: Named after the famed jazz hotspot in 18th & Vine’s Street Hotel, The Blue Room was recognized by Downbeat Magazine as one of the top 100 jazz clubs in the world. 

GROUP TOURS: Reservations are encouraged for groups of 25 or more. Group tours include a special introduction by museum staff and a guided tour. Contact the museum for more information.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS:  

From the north: Take I-35 S to I-70 E. Take The Paseo exit and travel south. Turn left onto John “Buck” O’Neil Way. Turn right onto Vine Street and then left onto 18th Street. On the left you will see the Museums at 18th & Vine marquee.

From the south: Take US-71 N. Take The Paseo exit and turn right. Take another right onto 18th Street. On the right you will see the Museums at 18th & Vine marquee.

From the east: Take I-70 W towards Kansas City. Take Exit 4B to 18th Street. Turn left onto 18th Street and continue several blocks. On the right you will see the Museums at 18th & Vine marquee.

From the west: Take I-70 E into Kansas City. Keep left to take I-670 E/I-70 ALT E through Downtown. Take The Paseo exit. Turn right onto The Paseo. Turn left onto John “Buck” O’Neil Way and then a right onto Vine Street. Finally, turn left onto 18th Street. On the left you will see the Museums at 18th & Vine marquee.

PARKING: Public parking is available on either side of 18th Street, on the south side of “Buck” O’Neil Way or in public parking lots near the Gregg Community Center (18th and Woodland). 

PUBLIC RELATIONS CONTACT: Chris Burnett, marketing and communications manager, 816-474-8463 or cburnett@kc.jazz.org.

Media Contacts

Derek Klaus
National & Convention Media:
Derek Klaus
Senior Communications Manager
816-691-3849
dklaus@visitkc.com | Twitter | LinkedIn
Toni Alexander
Regional & KC Media:
Toni Alexander
Communications Manager
816-691-3848
talexander@visitkc.com | LinkedIn
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