2021 Strategic Plan

The museum’s Strategic Plan underscores art as the core of the museum’s mission. The commitments below speak to welcoming all people, learning from our communities, and ensuring our future, all with an emphasis on inclusion and diversity. The new plan was adopted by the Board of Trustees in March 2021.

Our Mission

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art invites all people to explore the art in its care, and through its broad collection, the depths and complexities of human experiences.

We welcome and provide free access to everyone to enjoy and contemplate artistic creations from 5,000 years ago to present day. We believe that art has the ability to uplift, surprise, challenge, and transform. It gives expression not only to distant cultures and times, but also to immediate voices and issues, and provides avenues for exploring the world, past and present, and for informing our future.

We nurture the people who are dedicated to the museum’s success and who care for the collection and campus, and we support and learn from our audiences and our communities. Through this, we create ambassadors for a better society. With art as our focus, the Nelson-Atkins strives to create a sense of belonging for all people

Welcoming All People

We Welcome All People and Offer Many Paths to Experience Art

  • We encourage guests to discover, explore, and create experiences that are personally meaningful and memorable.
  • We champion inclusivity and foster a culture of respect and dignity for our guests, staff, and volunteers.
  • We strive to make our onsite and virtual experiences open, accessible, and easy to navigate.
  • We offer fresh ways for guests to enjoy and interact with the art, inspiring them to return to the campus and virtual sites each time with a sense of encountering something new.

Learning from Our Communities

We Learn from Our Communities to Better Connect All People to Art

  • We are part of many communities, from the immediate neighborhoods to the global art world. Through active engagement with members of those communities, we learn to become more welcoming, more meaningful, and more relevant.
  • We honor the museum’s place in the geographical heart of greater Kansas City, and we invest in the city’s arts and cultural communities. All are strengthened through partnerships, fostering collaboration and vibrancy.
  • We aspire to represent the diversity of our communities in our audiences, our staff, our leadership, and our Board of Trustees.
  • We are moved by different perspectives, and we seek to collect and exhibit works of art that spark conversation, curiosity, empathy, passion, and pride in all of our communities.
  • As a member of the global art community, we lead through professional practices in the areas of research, scholarship, presentation, and education.

Ensuring Our Future

We Ensure the Museum’s Future Through Responsible, Ethical Actions

  • We build an informed, invested group of staff, volunteers, and trustees through shared values and open, direct, and respectful communication. We model integrity at every level.
  • We care for the works of art entrusted to the Nelson-Atkins, which is central to our mission and essential to our future. We recognize that in caring for the collection and campus, we are caring for gifts to the people of Kansas City and, through our mission, to people nationally and internationally.
  • We plan carefully and use financial resources responsibly, making choices that continue to build our world-class standing and our communities.
  • We honor our generous donors by ethically managing gifts, strengthening the museum’s endowment, generating income, and ensuring our financial sustainability in coming years.
  • We pursue efficient use of resources and innovative methods for minimizing the museum’s impact on the environment.
  • We believe the museum’s future is intertwined with Kansas City’s and thrives only when our communities thrive.