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Discover the many faces of Kansas City: From jazz to BBQ joints, from its Negro Leagues Baseball Museum to grand institutions of art, enjoy it all in the “Paris of the Plains.”
Rating (5)
Program No. 21810RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,249
Missouri

Signature City Kansas City

Discover the many faces of Kansas City: From jazz to BBQ joints, from its Negro Leagues Baseball Museum to grand institutions of art, enjoy it all in the “Paris of the Plains.”
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,249
Program No. 21810 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
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DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Sep 5 - Sep 10, 2021
Starting at
1,249
Sep 19 - Sep 24, 2021
Starting at
1,249
Oct 24 - Oct 29, 2021
Starting at
1,249
May 22 - May 27, 2022
Starting at
1,329
Jun 26 - Jul 1, 2022
Starting at
1,329
Sep 11 - Sep 16, 2022
Starting at
1,329
Oct 16 - Oct 21, 2022
Starting at
1,329
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Sep 5 - Sep 10, 2021
Starting at
1,619
Sep 19 - Sep 24, 2021
Starting at
1,619
Oct 24 - Oct 29, 2021
Starting at
1,619
May 22 - May 27, 2022
Starting at
1,719
Jun 26 - Jul 1, 2022
Starting at
1,719
Sep 11 - Sep 16, 2022
Starting at
1,719
Oct 16 - Oct 21, 2022
Starting at
1,719

At a Glance

Combine all the fountains in Rome with more boulevards than Paris, throw in more than 100 BBQ joints and top it off with some stompin’ jazz and you’ve got Kansas City. Spend a week in the “Paris of the Plains” discovering its attention-grabbing neighborhoods, rich African American history, world-class museums and lively jazz clubs. Venture across the city with local experts who share their love and knowledge of this Midwest gem. Along the way, tap your toes to live jazz and stimulate your mind and your taste buds as you learn the secrets of the best BBQ in the country.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Walking up to 1.5 miles daily.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Learn about the historical anchors of Kansas City’s black culture on expert-led visits to the American Jazz Museum and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
  • Hear trade secrets from BBQ experts and sample area styles at two different BBQ joints.
  • Explore the Kansas City home and studio of the late artist Thomas Hart Benton to see how he and his family lived, visit Independence and learn about the pioneers.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Bill Worley
Dr. Worley is a professor of history at Metropolitan Community College—Blue River in Independence, Missouri, and a historical reenactor in the Kansas City region. He received his B.A. from Kansas State University as well as his M.Phil. and Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. A noted expert on Kansas City history, he has portrayed historical figures including Bob Hope, Harry Truman, Walt Disney and Richard Nixon on the Chautauqua circuit. His written works include "J.C. Nichols and the Shaping of Kansas City."

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Bill Worley
Bill Worley View biography
Dr. Worley is a professor of history at Metropolitan Community College—Blue River in Independence, Missouri, and a historical reenactor in the Kansas City region. He received his B.A. from Kansas State University as well as his M.Phil. and Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. A noted expert on Kansas City history, he has portrayed historical figures including Bob Hope, Harry Truman, Walt Disney and Richard Nixon on the Chautauqua circuit. His written works include "J.C. Nichols and the Shaping of Kansas City."
Profile Image of Diane Mutti Burke, Ph.D
Diane Mutti Burke, Ph.D View biography
Diane Mutti Burke is a professor and chair of the Department of History at the University of Missouri—Kansas City. She also serves as the director of the UMKC Center for Midwestern Studies. A Civil War expert, Diane earned her B.A. in history from Dartmouth College in 1990 and her M.A. and Ph.D. in history from Emory University in 1994 and 2004, respectively. Her 2010 book, "On Slavery's Border: Missouri's Small Slaveholding Households, 1815-1865," won a Missouri Conference on History Book Award.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: A History
by Kristie C. Wolferman
When Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art opened to the public in 1933, it was viewed as a miracle, an oasis of culture in a Midwestern town whose image was still largely one of cowboys and steaks. In an engaging style, Kristie Wolferman tells the history of the Nelson-Atkins from its founding to the present day, a fascinating combination of people, events, and circumstances that culminated in an art museum that now holds its own among the finest in the world. Wolferman begins by relaying how the trustees of the estates of the reclusive widow Mary Atkins and the family of Kansas City Star newspaper editor William Rockhill Nelson joined forces to establish a museum from scratch, then goes on to consider all of the highly talented people who directed and staffed the Nelson-Atkins along the way, their efforts resulting in many bold innovations, among them new collections, grounds, and educational programs and offerings. With 100 color and black and white photographs, this book will be treasured by all who love and admire this remarkable institution, one that attracts half a million visitors—from across the city, state, nation, and world—each year.
Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues & the Story of African-American Baseball
by Lawrence D. Hogan
"Probably the most comprehensive history of black baseball available in one book?a must-read for any student of the game." -Cincinnati Enquirer "Hogan sets the teams and leagues in the cultural and economic context of the black experience and the communities in which they played, broadening the book's appeal to anyone interested in this fascinating chapter in American history." -The Christian Science Monitor "An outstanding tribute." -Linda Paige Shelby, daughter of Satchel Paige "An incredible story." -Bud Selig, Commissioner of Major League Baseball Celebrating African America's contribution to our great national pastime, this comprehensive, lively history combines vivid narrative, visual impact, and newly discovered statistics to recreate the excitement and passion of the Negro Leagues. Packed with stories, biographical essays, scores of archival photographs, and other evocative artifacts, the book is an important contribution to sports history and a fitting tribute to legendary baseball stars such as Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Martin Dihigo, Cool Papa Bell, and many more, who were shadowed by racial prejudice, but now shine forth in all their sparkling brilliance.
Treasure in a Cornfield: The Discovery & Excavation of the Steamboat Arabia
by Greg Hawley
From back of dust jacket cover: "Steaming up the Missouri River en route to the frontier, the Arabia carried 130 passengers and 220 tons of precious cargo. On September 5, 1856, a submerged walnut tree pierced her hull, sinking the Arabia one-half mile below Parkville, Missouri. In time the river changed course, leaving the Arabia and her priceless freight deep beneath a Kansas farm field...The Arabia and her treasure seemed lost forever. Then, in 1988, four men and their families dedicated themselves to achieve what others could not; to recover the treasure from the Great White Arabia. Treasure hunter Greg Hawley chronicles his amazing story of perseverance and discovery. Lavishly illustrated and carefully documented, this book is a page turning adventure that immerses the reader into the thrilling discovery of buried treasure."
The Kansas City Barbeque Society Cookbook: 25th Anniversary Edition
by Ardie A. Davis
To celebrate its 25th anniversary, the Kansas City Barbeque Society is proud to serve up The Kansas City Barbeque Society Cookbook, 25th Anniversary Edition by Ardie Davis, Paul Kirk, and Carolyn Wells. Featuring more than 200 all-new, mouthwatering recipes (many from award-winning KCBS members and teams), this 25th anniversary edition also includes tips for competitive barbequing, juicy stories that shed light on life inside the barbeque society, and tons of beautiful full-color photographs. The previous Kansas City Barbeque Society cookbook has gone through seven printings since it was originally self-published by the KCBS in 1996. This 25th anniversary edition is a must-have for the libraries of professional and amateur barbequers--as well as an appetizing read for people who may not tend to the grill but do love to eat 'que.
Paris of the Plains: Kansas City from Doughboys to Expressways
by John Simonson
From the end of the Great War to the final years of the 1950s, Kansas Citians lived in a manner worthy of a place called Paris of the Plains. The title did more than nod to the perfumed ladies who shopped at Harzfeld's Parisian or the one-thousand-foot television antenna nicknamed the "Eye-full Tower." It spoke to the character of a town that worked for Boss Tom and danced for Count Basie but transcended both the Pendergast era and the Jazz Age. Author John Simonson introduces readers to a town of vaudeville shows and screened-in porches, where fleets of cream-and-black streetcars passed beneath a canopy of elms. This is a history that smells equally of lilacs and stockyards and bursts with the clamor of gunshots, radio baseball and the distant whistle of a night train.
The Trials of Harry S. Truman: The Extraordinary Presidency of an Ordinary Man, 1945-1953
by Jeffrey Frank
The nearly eight years of Harry Truman’s presidency—among the most turbulent in American history—were marked by victory in the wars against Germany and Japan; the first use of an atomic weapon; the beginning of the Cold War; creation of the NATO alliance; the founding of the United Nations; the Marshall Plan to rebuild the wreckage of postwar Europe; the Red Scare; and the fateful decision to commit troops to fight in Korea. Historians have tended to portray Truman as stolid and decisive, with a homespun manner, but the man who emerges in The Trials of Harry S. Truman is complex and surprising. He believed that the point of public service was to improve the lives of one’s fellow citizens, and was disturbed by the brutal treatment of African Americans. Yet while he supported stronger civil rights laws, he never quite relinquished the deep-rooted outlook of someone with Confederate ancestry reared in rural Missouri. He was often carried along by the rush of events and guided by men who succeeded in refining his black-and-white view of the postwar world. And while he prided himself on his Midwestern rationality, he could act out of emotion, as when, in the aftermath of World War II, moved by the plight of refugees, he pushed to recognize the new state of Israel. The Truman who emerges in these pages is a man with generous impulses, loyal to friends and family, and blessed with keen political instincts, but insecure, quick to anger, and prone to hasty decisions. Archival discoveries, and research that led from Missouri to Washington, Berlin and Korea, have contributed to an indelible, and deeply human, portrait of an ordinary man suddenly forced to shoulder extraordinary responsibilities, who never lost a schoolboy’s romantic love for his country, and its Constitution.





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