TWA Museum

When we arrive in a new city I start doing research and often there are pleasant surprises. That was the case when I learned that Kansas City had a TWA Museum. Yes, Lee loves planes and flight museums, but TWA is something special because his father worked for and retired from TWA. He worked third shift as a ground crew member and Lee’s entire childhood was formed in some way because of that job. So even though I don’t care that much about flight museums generally I definitely wanted to visit it with him.

It was open on Saturdays so went went first thing in the morning and it was a little hard to find. It is in a building that currently hosts Flight Support, but after a couple of wrong turns we found it.

The Flight support was to the right upon entering and the TW museum was to the left. Once we got inside the signage was good.

The hallway leading up to the museum had lots of cool vintage posters and several pictures and medal cases. That was all free, but the $10 to get into the museum itself was a bargain, especially with the significance it had for Lee. The only thing we didn’t like was we had to be led by a tour guide because the museum is actually in multiple rooms and in order to get to them all you need to go into the working hangar. Makes sense because of the design, but we would have much preferred being allowed to walk around alone.

These beautiful model planes were found in various places and beautifully restored
This was in pristine condition, surprising given its age
One of the coolest things I saw was a complete set of First Class china including little TWA matches and cigarettes.

I should probably mention at this point that when Lee was a teenager his father moved to Florida while Lee stayed with his mother in Columbus. Using his fathers flight pass he flew for free many, many times on TWA and always sat in first class. Back then they didn’t pay much attention to his age and he was able to drink and eat elaborately on these many first class flights. Think Leo DiCapprio in Catch Me If You Can. That was Lee’s flying experience. He was very happy when we found some old menus from First Class because it proved he wasn’t misremembering the experience. Check out these menu items. On todays flight you are lucky if you get pretzels.

As I stated earlier we walked out into the hangar and walked into nearby rooms, which had multiple training stations for crew members and pilots including a complete mockup of an Ambassador Club.

Lee’s favorite part was the full size training cabin and he immediately sat in his favorite seat…1A. He also found a crew jacket on board which his father wore every single day and that made him pretty emotional. It’s funny all the memories old items can bring back.

Lee’s seat
The jacket

All in all it was a great museum, but my absolute favorite part was the gift shop. They had lots of actual TWA items for sale here and the vintage stuff was really cool. Lee’s favorite was one of the flight bags, which he had as a kid, his Dad was very thrifty. I absolutely loved all the TWA gift bags which had tiny travel size stuff in them. Ranging from $2-$5 I bought several and laid them out when I got home to look at them. Don’t ask me why tiny stuff gave me such a thrill but I went crazy over the little TWA stapler!

The bag!
They had jackets for sale but they were pretty pricey so Lee settled for a few shirts instead. Everything was never worn but old.
I really liked this air stewardess scarf but it was a little pricey for me. Probably should have bought it though.
I had to throw away the some of the stuff but I kept the stapler!
The Address book cracked me up
And the flight socks were great

You are either old enough to remember flying as it used to be or you are not, and either way I think the museum was well worth the entrance fee. For us the trip was filled with nostalgia and I am really glad Lee got to experience it.

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First Time in Kansas City

For those of you who don’t travel much, towns definitely have their own vibe. For the individual this is largely subjective, and the criteria for a “good” vibe vary wildly. One of the reasons Lee and I like the way we travel is we try hard to spend enough time in a place to get a good feel for the vibe. Grocery stores, local radio, and traffic patterns are simple ways for us to determine if we like a city. Also there are two kinds of likes. Places that are nice to visit and places we would actually want to live in. The second category is MUCH smaller and only a few places have struck that note with us. I am happy to say Kansas City has made the list!!

So how did they get on the list for us? First and foremost people are nice here. Right from the beginning we noticed a distinct lack of rudeness that unfortunately is the default for many places we have been. In general people also drive pretty courteously, which is a big deal for Lee in particular as he is running us around when we are visiting a city. The town also has its own distinct look and feel which is really important to us. We visit tons of places that look like “anywhere USA” and Kansas City has managed to be friendly, have services, and still maintain a unique look and feel. It’s helped by the fact that there are many districts in the city and all of these have their own personality.

It’s a great combination of history, arts, and sports which is rare to find in a city this size. It even has it’s own ballet company and beautiful orchestra hall for additional culture.

Kauffman Center

Both the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals are based here and have a beautiful area right outside of town for their stadiums. When we travel I love seeing football stadiums and Lee and I were able to get up close one Sunday and take some pictures.

We even got to see the training field!!

During our visit we have at least driven through all of the different districts, but my favorite by fair is the Power and Light district. It has really cool architecture and the lighting fixtures all look like old electrical fixtures.

One of the great things about the city is people are living in all the districts, even the ones that are more run down. It’s a vital city and there are shops, grocery stores, and gas stations to support it. One of my favorite areas was City Market which is a huge open air market that has specialty shops for many different ethnicities. It is a culturally mixed town and very LGBTQ friendly as well and we saw all kinds of folks hanging out together wherever we went. Lee picked up some very inexpensive bulk middle eastern spices that he liked so much he went back a second time for more.

My main disappointment with the city during our visit was food. That’s probably because I don’t really like BBQ, but Lee had it a few times from different places and loved it. We did go to an old family owned steak place and it was OK, but not as good as many other places I have been. There are lots of choices though and many are locally owned which is great.

There are lots of great locally owned shops including Prospero Books, a used book store. We love going to book stores when we are visiting a new town and this one was really cool. It was three floors and the decorations were great.

Speaking of books, the outside of the downtown library parking garage is a wall of giant books that I absolutely loved.

And finally did I mention this is the city of fountains?? There are over 100 of them throughout the city and we stopped and saw several.

My absolute favorite though was a memorial to local firefighters who had lost their life in the line of duty and the memorial recognized those men from the 1890’s until present day. It was made using fire hose nozzles and was extremely well done.

All in all it is a really cool town and as I said I really like the vibe. We spent two weeks in KC and there was plenty to do which you will hear about in upcoming posts.

Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.