A Victorian Birdhouse

This birdhouse was modeled after Victorian architecture with a tight, heightened layout that features a tower, multiple roof lines, gabled windows with window boxes, and a ground level porch. Circular 1 1/4 inch cutouts on the left and right sides of the house provide entry suitable for smaller bird species. The house has a number of other design features particular to its target inhabitants including ventilation sources, non-toxic resin and paint materials, a spacious interior and removable back wall for easy cleaning.

Abstract Sculpture

This sculpture is one of a few in the library's collection by an unknown artist with the initials "CCC". Carved from a single piece of wood, this particular sculpture exhibits an impressive command of the wood carving practice. It calls on the cubist style's tendency of depicting fire in rough, prismatic forms that extend upward with an erratic intensity that appears captured and solidified. Each of the faces of these forms bears various carving techniques, altering the depth, width, and frequency of each mark made to comprise a single dynamic piece.

Abstract Sculpture Two

This is one of a few abstract sculptures in the collection by an unknown artist with the initials "CCC". This particular piece is comprised of two parts, each containing a brass post and hole feature that align with the other to hold the piece together. The lower piece keeps much of the original shape of the material with varying gouge marks around the sides and back. The larger top piece displays more thorough manipulation, with planes of gouge marks in various directions and three voids, two circular and one slot-shaped, that reveal open space on the backside of the sculpture.

Bronze Renaissance Bowl

The use of bronze became popular in 15th century Europe as a means to bridge ornament in sculpture with a faster rate of production. Artists employed the lost-wax method where wax models of sculpture would be encased by a mold wherein molten bronze would be poured over the wax model and once set the wax would be melted out, leaving a bronze production of the sculpture. With reusable molds and the availability and durability of bronze this method allowed artists to reproduce sculpture and objects like this serving bowl at a faster rate and higher quantity for a flourishing Europe.

Bronze Sculpture of Ilus W. Davis

Ilus W. Davis served as the mayor of Kansas City from 1963 to 1971. He was one of the first students to attend the city's university, which would later become the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and later got his law degree from the University of Missouri in Columbia. Some of his major contributions as mayor included the building of the Kansas City International Airport and the initial construction for the Truman Sports Complex. After the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Burmese Ceremonial Vessel

This is a replica of a ceremonial Hsun-ok vessel of Burma (Myanmar) that has been used for centuries to carry offerings to Buddhist monasteries. Historically, the vessel originates from the Pagan region in Burma. The lacquering technique used for this particular vessel applies numerous coats of black lacquer followed by layers of red lacquer over thin strips of bamboo which creates a lightweight vessel ideal for carrying long distances. A beautifully aged patina develops over time as a result of the lacquer process.

Bust of Dante

Dante Alighieri, born 1265, was one of the greatest Italian poets during the late Middle Ages. Dante Alighieri , commonly known as Dante, was the touchstone for establishing the literature of Italy. His representations of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven was influential for the larger body of Western art. Dante is best known for his literary classic “The Divine Comedy” which was widely considered to be the preeminent work in classic Italian literature. The epic work was completed one year prior to Dante’s death in 1321. This ceramic bust captures a typical representation of Dante Alighieri.

Bust of John Barber White

This bronze bust depicts the lumber baron, John Barber White, and rests atop a green marble pedestal. John Barber White, researched and published his family genealogy and spent years collecting the finest books on genealogy and American history. In 1933, ten years after White's death, his descendants donated this collection to the Kansas City Public Library. This donation greatly enhanced the Missouri Valley Room's genealogical collection. Donated along with the volumes from his genealogical library was this bronze bust of White.

Bust of Thomas Hart Benton

This bust of Missouri native Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) depicts the artist in his last years. Coe's articulate rendering of Benton's facial dimensions, with eyes deep-set beneath a furrowed brow, accurately achieves the intense gaze with which Benton is often pictured. Being from a mostly rural southwestern area of Missouri, Benton is most known for his mural sized paintings depicting the lives of working-class people. To date, he is regarded as one of the greatest American painters of the 20th century.

Child on Rocking Horse

This sculpture of a young girl on a rocking horse reminds one of the joys of childhood playtime, but also its woes. There is no mistaking the girl's contempt as it settles into her furrowed brow and pouty lip, although one can assume it would have been short-lived and forgotten with more play. She wears a simple white dress, a matching white hair bow and knee-high socks with Mary Jane shoes. With her beady glare and both hands gripping the rocking horse handles, she appears determined to take off on the horse from her troubles.

Child Reading on Pedestal

The sculpture depicts a seated child presumably reading a small book. However, the way the child is seated, clumsily plopped down, suggests that the child may be exploring the book with the unkempt wonder of their own mind and not yet reading it. The sculpture reminds the viewer of this period of time in every person's life and perhaps further suggests how it extends as one grows older and is able to read the book, although still enjoying the wonders of imagination.

Commemorative Plate for then 9th & Locust Library

Based in Kansas City, Irma Starr is a world-renowned potter who creates collectible works of art that are modeled after the 17th-century slipware style of pottery. This plate commemorates the Kansas City Public Library's 9th and Locust Street Location in correlation to Native American collections in Kansas City. The center of the plate features the Library's original building in sharp relief aligned with the perspective of the building. Below it is the dates of that location, 1897-1960.

Gandy Dancer

This depiction of an early railroad worker, then-called "gandy dancers", was created by the artist to honor Irish immigrant laborers who contributed so greatly to the western expansion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. The figure shown balances on two railroad ties while holding a segment of track. The strain in his hand tendons and contracted muscles in his back indicate the heavy weight of the segment and the difficulty of the work in general.

Gilded Figures on a Dragon Barge

Asian influenced work, depicting sixteen upright attendants on a barge in the shape of a dragon. This appears to be a royal barge based on the use of the dragon and highly decorative aspects of the work. The dragon has a highly stylized gilded head dress, necklace, and gilded wings. The other color's decorating this mythical figure are green, white and red. The attendants displayed on the barge are wearing ceremonial regalia. The first figure, starting from the left, appears to be holding some type of gilded percussion instrument.

KCPL Commemorative Plate

Based in Kansas City, Irma Starr is a world-renowned potter who creates collectible works of art that are modeled after the 17th-century slipware style of pottery. This beautifully and meticulously rendered ceramic plate holds the Kansas City Central Library building as its focal point, thus placing further emphasis on the Library as the city's oldest cultural institution. On the outer lip of the plate are two images. To the left, a portrait of the Public Library's founder James M. Greenwood. To the right, Greenwood’s white marble memorial chair located at the Central Branch.

Lehighton Letters

Lehighton Letters is a series of works created for public libraries worldwide by found object sculptor Richard J. Hinger. Works from Lehighton Letters that he named after the artists Pennsylvania birthplace are on exhibition in London, New York City, Paris, Washington D.C. and 60 other public libraries including the Central Branch of the Kansas City Public Library. This work is made from salvaged signage letters and recycled objects like soda cans, toys, toothbrushes, and bottle caps inlaid in a resin material with a textured application.

Lewis and Clark Discovery

Artist Eugene L. Daub portrays a scene simultaneously in pause and in motion with this relief sculpture. Lewis and Clark look out over their expedition team with their journal and sextant (navigational tool) contemplating the expedition to come while a band of men load and heave large wooden canoes into the water. Sacagawea looks past the scene in the same direction with child fastened to her back. The wind blows the fabric of her dress in the same direction as her gaze emphasizing the still capture of a chaotic moment.

Lewis and Clark Expedition

This bronze sculpture of the Lewis and Clark Expedition team includes Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, York, Sacagawea, and Lewis's Newfoundland dog, Seaman (listed on the artist's website). The group rests atop a rocky base while looking out in all directions and observing what lies ahead. Lewis and Clark are in the midst of consulting their instruments and each other. The team stands alone, facing what the viewer's imagination reads as the uncharted Frontier in the space around the sculpture. They appear cautious, yet brave, and together convey the essence of discovery.

Mova Scholar Globe

Mova is a globe production company that believes the globe to be superior to flat maps because they better represent the Earth in form ( The globe provides a more complete spatial understanding of the Earth, an idea that Mova takes further by using light-activated technology to incite the globe to spin on it's own similar to how the Earth does under gravitational pull. A clear outer casing covers the globe while a thin liquid suspends it just enough to achieve this effect consistently, on and off the tripod.

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox

This sculpture of American folklore lumberjack, Paul Bunyan, is fittingly carved out of a tree trunk. The sculpture maintains the cylindrical shape of a tree trunk. Bunyan appears aghast with his mouth and eyes wide open. He has a head of stylized hair represented by rivet holes that condense near his face and expand around the back of his head. His beard, made with deep-cut narrow lines, fuse into the hide of Babe the Blue Ox beneath him. Babe's body wraps around the sculpture and his head emerges to the left of Bunyan's beard, but in lower relief than Bunyan himself.