About Missouri Valley Special Collections

The Local History and Genealogy Department


Monday-Friday9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday *1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
(*only when Missouri Valley Sunday programs are scheduled.)

The Missouri Valley Special Collections (MVSC) consist of the non-circulating local history and genealogy resources of the Kansas City Public Library as well as the Library’s archives. Its mission is to preserve our area’s heritage and provide access in meaningful ways to the collections and materials.

Missouri Valley Room

Soon after its creation in 1960, when the Library moved from 9th and Locust to 12th Street, the Missouri Valley Room became the place to find facts and stories about Kansas City history. The two-story windows on the west and north flooded the room with light, and the Daniel MacMorris murals along the east and south walls below the mezzanine/gallery appropriately illustrated the discovery, exploration, settlement, and development of the Missouri Valley region.

In 2004 the Central Library moved into the beautifully renovated First National Bank building at 10th and Baltimore. The new Missouri Valley Room on the fifth floor opened September of that year and continues a tradition of offering a pleasant and comfortable place to study and research. It is dedicated to the memory of Dr. William Stone Woods (1840-1917), chairman of the National Bank of Commerce (present-day Commerce Bank) and a major benefactor to many regional causes including William Woods College in Fulton, Missouri.


The main focus of the MVR holdings documents the history of the Kansas City region, but other areas, like border warfare and the Civil War, Native Americans of the area, explorers and westward expansion, outlaws and lawmen, the overland trails, and genealogy, have extensive resources. MVSC also acts as stewards over the Ramos collection, which is comprised of books, pamphlets, and clippings on African American history and culture.

Its extensive and rare resources of primary and secondary documents include:

  • books
  • periodicals
  • pamphlets
  • dissertations
  • manuscripts
  • newspaper clippings
  • vertical files
  • photographs
  • postcards
  • maps
  • microforms
  • audiovisual
  • archival materials

Reference Assistance

The expert staff of the Missouri Valley Special Collections provides assistance and information to users from all over the world in person, by telephone, postal service, or e-mail. No appointment is necessary. Tours of the MVSC may also be arranged.

See MVSC Services and the Plan a Visit page for more information.

Digital Collection

This site features images of material from the Missouri Valley Special Collections. The Local History Index contains over 40,000 entries which provide information and references to articles in magazines, newspapers, and books on topics of interest from the Missouri Valley area.