Liberty Memorial Tower
The Liberty Memorial Tower rises 217 feet above the main courtyard and 268 feet above the North Lawn. The cylindrical tower is 36 feet in diameter at its base, tapering to 28 feet at the top. Guests can take an elevator followed by 45 stairs to the open-air observation deck for a breathtaking view of the Kansas City skyline. At night, a Flame of Inspiration, created by steam and lighting effects, is emitted from the top of the tower and can be seen from miles away. The monument received designation as a National Historic Landmark in 2006 and recognition from Congress as a national memorial in 2014.
Carved by Robert Aitken and each standing 40-feet tall, four Guardian Spirits watch over the Memorial from the top of the Tower. As protectors of peace, each guardian holds a sword and is named for the virtue it represents: Honor, Courage, Patriotism and Sacrifice.
Two Assyrian Sphinxes guard the south entrance of the Liberty Memorial. “Memory” faces east toward the battlefields of France, shielding its eyes from the horrors of war. “Future” faces west, shielding its eyes from an unknown future.
Located on the east side of the Liberty Memorial Tower, Memory Hall contains a portion of the Panthéon de la Guerre, a monumental French painting depicting the Allied nations of World War I. Additionally, Memory Hall houses bronze tablets listing 441 Kansas Citians who died in World War I, computer kiosks that provide in-depth information about the Liberty Memorial and limited-run exhibitions.
Located on the west side of the Liberty Memorial Tower, Exhibit Hall served as the main museum gallery of the Liberty Memorial from 1926 to 2006. Today, Exhibit Hall serves as gallery space for the Museum's limited-run exhibitions. It also contains a surviving section of the Panthéon de la Guerre mural, depicting the figure of Victory in front of a “temple of glory, ” surrounded by thousands of French heroes. Colorful flags of the 22 Allied nations of World War I, arranged in the order in which each country entered the conflict, line the north and south walls. The exterior of both Exhibit and Memory Halls are decorated with mosaic tiles that depict a night sky strewn with gold stars. These gold stars represent the sacrifice of the Gold Star Mothers during the Great War.