Friday, July 20, 2012

The Key to Knowledge

Chances are, since you're reading this blog, you are an  investigative person who realizes that learning is a perpetual and rewarding part of life. Hopefully, you find this key as inspiring as I do.

One of the more inconspicuous keys hanging in the Missouri section caught my eye because of its background and claim to what it unlocks.

“A key to knowledge am I” 
For many years I unlocked the doors of the public library at Kansas City, MO until they decided to remodel all of my locks and then I was discarded.

Such reads the donation tag written by Edith Humphrey on July 28, 1937.  At the time, the Kansas City Public Library existed at 9th and Locust streets and served as an integral institution in establishing the city as the thriving municipality that it is today. 

Since 1898, the key provided access to a wealth of information for the benefit of the public, regardless of socioeconomic status. In 1901, William Rockhill Nelson donated a collection of pictures to the library. This collection became the foundation for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, which was established in the 1930s. The library continued to expand throughout first half of the century; when the library outgrew its building in the 1960s, the architects remained loyal to the mission of keeping the Kansas City Public Library devoted to connecting its patrons to the modern era. A new "space age" building was built to house the community's literature and notify the public that knowledge was a commodity that every contemporary member of Kansas City society should attempt to attain.

The key's symbolic ability to unlock humanity's collective understanding through the writings of others will forever remain one of the more valuable donations to the Baldpate Key Room.

If you get the chance to stop by the Baldpate, ask to see the Kansas City Public Library key. We would be happy to point you toward the key to knowledge, humbly hanging from our rafters.

Until next time,

Baldpate Inn Key Room Curator