Ask an Archivist Day

Wednesday, October 13, 2021
The Missouri Valley Room at the Central Library is home to more than 200 special collections of archival materials documenting the history and development of the Kansas City area. For #AskAnArchivist Day on October 13, we asked our Missouri Valley Special Collections team for the some of the most common questions they receive from patrons.  #AskAnArchivist Day is part of American Archives Month in October, when archives across the country come together to raise public awareness about the importance of historic documents and records.

How do I find an old Kansas City Star article? 

Depending on what year you are looking for, there are ways to access old newspaper articles through microfilm or an online database. 

How to Access Old Newspapers >

Why are things like newspapers and city directories on microfilm?

Microfilm is a very stable form of media that is used to store and preserve copies of print materials that are large and in danger of physical deterioration. Large print items that would normally take up a lot of physical space are able to be store more efficiently on microfilm. And print materials that are very old and in danger of flaking off or crumbling in a researchers hands, can be accessed without danger to the item by using the microfilm version.

How do I research the history of my house?

Researching the history of your house can involve contacting several different sources for information. Unless you find the blueprints hidden away somewhere in your home, it is unlikely that they were preserved anywhere. City Directories, maps, and photos from the 1940 Tax Assessment collection are the most commonly used resources at the Missouri Valley Special Collections for doing house research. 

More Information >

How do I find old yearbooks?

The Missouri Valley Special Collections has an extensive collection of Kansas City Metro area schools.  We have also digitized many of our yearbooks so researchers can access them from any computer with internet access at any time. >

Do you have records from any of the maternity homes in Kansas City?

No, we do not. Most of those records were destroyed. Though we do have some information about the maternity homes including, Willows Maternity Sanitarium, St. Vincent’s Hospital, Eastside Maternity Hospital, Florence Crittenton Home, and Fairmount Maternity Hospital.

Mansion on a Hill Signature Event Archive  | What's Your KCQ?: Willow Hills Sanitarium | What's Your KCQ?: Florence Home
Got another question about local history or using the Missouri Valley Room? Ask an archivist at