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City Initiatives on the August 6th Ballot

Image of a mural depicting pioneers heading west with oxen pulling a covered wagon on a dirt road and activity behind them.

The National Frontier Trails Museum is moving to a new location this July. Currently located in the former Waggoner-Gates Milling Company Building, the museum will transition to a temporary location in the lower level of the Truman Memorial Building as a new attraction, The Missouri Model Railroad Museum prepares to move into the space.

“We are excited to begin a new chapter for the National Frontier Trails Museum and the City of Independence,” Councilmember Dan Hobart said. “There is so much history in our community and we understand how vital it is to our residents and visitors. Independence began as a trading post nearly 200 years ago, became the jumping-off point for westward expansion in the mid-1800s, and then became a part of the Midwest hub for rail traffic that we are today. The Missouri Model Railroad Museum gives us an opportunity to expand the story we tell, and we look forward to growing this new partnership.”  

The National Frontier Trails Museum will close to the public on July 1 to begin the transition. It is expected to reopen in early Fall 2023 in the lower level of the Truman Memorial Building, located at 416 W. Maple Ave.

The Missouri Model Railroad Museum will begin updates and remodeling in the Waggoner-Gates Building, located at 318 W. Pacific (named for the Pacific Railroad), in late summer of 2023. The Missouri Model Railroad organization hopes to work toward a grand opening in Spring 2024.

“There is so much railroad history in the Kansas City area and we are excited to join the Independence community with its proven track record and love of history,” Dale Shipman, President of the Missouri Model Railroad Museum organization said. “The Waggoner-Gates building was one of the many companies that leveraged our rail system to distribute goods across the country. We look forward to bringing yet another story to this great building and the community.” 

On April 17, 2023, the Council approved a resolution declaring the intent of the City Council to enter into an agreement with the Missouri Model Railroad Museum to house a model railroad and train museum in the current National Frontier Trails Museum facility.

“We want to emphasize this is not the closing chapter of the National Frontier Trails Museum,” Councilmember Hobart said. “This is a new page, and it is full of exciting possibilities for our community. We will be sharing a new Tourism Master Plan later this summer and discussing what is next for Independence with our community members.” 

The City will provide regular updates to the public throughout this process on the National Frontier Trails Museum website, and Facebook page.

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