Last Updated on December 4, 2016 by Jody Halsted
We've visited Crown Center in Kansas City multiple times but have always been too busy to make it over to the Hallmark Visitor's Center. The girls and I made a short road trip to Kansas City during spring break and included it in our plans.
The staff at the visitor's center is incredibly kind and welcomes kids with a “passport” to stamp as they travel through the “world of Hallmark”. Be sure to grab a written tour guide that will direct you as you wander through the center.
The Four Seasons mural in the lobby celebrates Hallmark's 75th anniversary in 1985. It was created by Hallmark artisans of magnesium, copper and brass.
You will also be “greeted” by a portrait of Hallmark founder J.C. Hall and the beautiful Steuben Glass crystal piece The Carrousel of the Seasons commissioned by Hallmark employees as a tribute after his death.
Following the circular course will bring you to the Hallmark artwork collection and a timeline of more than 90 years of Hallmark history. Seeing the cards displayed along side world events and trends almost brings them to life.
Did you know that most US Presidents have chosen Hallmark to produce their official Christmas cards? The cards are on display – as are other great cards. I particularly love the “Bon Voyage” steamer trunk card at the bottom right of the collage.
Next came the Christmas Tree collection. In 1966 Hallmark employees began a tradition of gifting founder J.C. Hall and his family with a Christmas Tree that was unveiled in Mr. Hall's office on the last working day before Christmas. This tradition continued for 17 years until Mr. Halls' death in 1982. The trees are incredible and intricate. You couls look at them for days and find something new. Each tree had a different theme- from shadow boxes to angels to Santa himself.
Of course Christmas wouldn't be quite the same without ornaments- and you'll see many Keepsake Ornaments on display, along with profiles of some of the talented designers.
Apart from its cards Hallmark may be just was well known for its “Hallmark Hall of Fame” television programming. You can view bits of some of the favorite shows and see one of the more than 75 Emmy Awards they have received.
And don't forget those commercials! I don't know about you, but they make me cry! Step into a booth and watch Hallmark commercials from around the world.
For a more interactive experience watch how a Hallmark card is made and create your own bow with the push of a button. Or spend some (virtual) time with hoops & yoyo, Maxine, or Revilo.
At the end of your self tour venture into the theater for a short trip into the world of Hallmark via film.
And, at the end of your tour, stop by the front reception desk for your free gift. (I admit, we forgot to do this, so I can't tell you what it is.)
The Hallmark Visitor's Center is free; no reservations are required.
Expect to spend at least 30 minutes wandering through the exhibits. It's not a large area, but there is a lot to see.
The visitor's center is closed on Sunday and Monday. Open Tuesday through Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Don't forget: Crayola is a Hallmark company! Take time to visit the wonderful Crayola Store in Crown Center. There is also a terrific Hallmark Store, too (of course).
And a “THANK YOU” to @HallmarkSarah and @HallmarkPR for the warm welcome!