The Thirty-Eighth Annual Conference of the German Studies Association will take place from September 18 to September 21, 2014, at the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center, 1 East Pershing Road, Kansas City, Missouri 64108. For those members from overseas who may be visiting the area for the first time, Kansas City is located on the state line between Missouri and Kansas. We are meeting on the Missouri side.
The Westin is located in downtown Kansas City, and is immediately adjacent to Hallmark's 85-acre Crown Center, a complex of stores, shops, and restaurants. (Kansas City is the headquarters of Hallmark Cards.) It is also adjacent to the beautifully restored Union Station, which this year is commemorating its own centennial.
And, as we all know, this year witnesses the centennial as well of the First World War, and thus it is especially appropriate that the German Studies Association is meeting in Kansas City. The Liberty Memorial, dedicated in 1926, is on a hill close to the hotel, and on the Memorial's grounds is the National World War I Museum, with which the German Studies Association has been cooperating in preparing for this year's conference. The museum is the country's official museum of the First World War, and houses one of the largest collections of its kind in the world. GSA members will receive specially reduced ticket prices to visit the museum, which we encourage our members to do.
The Kansas City region is full of other interesting tourist destinations as well. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art houses one of the most diverse collections in the country. For jazz lovers, Kansas City is truly special. The home of such great musicians as Count Basie and Charlie Parker, it now hosts the American Jazz Museum. Close to the latter in the famous 18th and Vine Historic District are the superb collections of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, honoring the rich legacy of African-American baseball players before and immediately after Jackie Robinson and the desegregation of the sport in 1947.
For students of architectural history, Kansas City is also the home of Country Club Plaza. Notable for its Spanish-influenced architecture, the Plaza opened in 1922 as the country's first shopping center designed for automobiles, and it still houses a large array of shops and restaurants. This brings up the subject of Kansas City's culinary traditions. The city is justly renowned for its steaks and barbecue, and excellent dining possibilities abound.
Finally, not to be overlooked in nearby Independence, Missouri, is the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library, which is full of materials of interest to scholars investigating the early Cold War and the German-speaking world after 1945. President Truman's home in Independence ' the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site ' is also open to the public.