KANSAS CITY, Mo. – United States President Barack Obama signed legislature passed by both houses of Congress Friday evening providing the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial with its second official recognition from Congress. The bill effectively designates the Museum as the National World War I Museum and Memorial.

The legislation passed the House of Representatives in May and passed the Senate on Friday, Dec. 12 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. President Obama then signed three pieces of legislation Friday evening, including the National Defense Authorization Act, which contains the provision with designation for the Museum.

The bill recognizes Liberty Memorial as a World War I memorial in a similar fashion to other nationally recognized memorials such as the National World War II Memorial and the Korean War Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington D.C. The legislation provides an additional designation for the Museum, which was deemed as “America’s National World War I Museum” by Congress after President George W. Bush signed the legislation in  2004.

“Having two United States presidents sign legislation to recognize the National World War I Museum and Liberty Memorial is incredibly special,” said National World War I Museum President and CEO Dr. Matthew Naylor. “We not only view this as recognition of the Museum, but also as a tribute to the 80,000‐plus Kansas City area residents who established the Museum and Liberty Memorial after World War I as well as those who have generously supported the Museum throughout the years. We are also fortunate to have several members of Congress from the area who supported this effort, including Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt and Representatives Emanuel Cleaver, Sam Graves and Kevin Yoder.”

The Senate bill was introduced by Missouri Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill and West Virginia Senator John Rockefeller. The U.S. House of Representatives legislation passed in May was introduced by Missouri Representatives Emanuel Cleaver and Sam Graves, Wisconsin Representative Gwen Moore, Washington D.C. Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, Texas Representative Ted Poe, Illinois Representative Bobby Rush, Virginia Representative Rob Wittman, Kansas Representative Kevin Yoder and Alaska Representative Don Young.

The legislation also redesignates Pershing Park in Washington D.C. as a World War I Memorial and authorizes enhancements or creation of additional commemorative works within the area. Enhancements would be spearheaded by the United States World War I Centennial Commission using privately raised funds.

The National World War I Museum holds the most diverse collection of World War I objects and documents in the world and is the second‐oldest public museum dedicated to preserving the objects, history and personal experiences of the war. The Museum was ranked as one of the top 25 museums in the United States by TripAdvisor in 2014 and was recently recognized by USA Today as one of the top 10 museums that “bring military history to life.”

(Courtesy of Liberty Memorial Public Affairs)

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