The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Planning Study

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Planning Study


The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art engaged Cooper Robertson in a planning study that contributed to the Museum’s early thinking about their future. The study took place in conjunction with a concurrent strategic planning update and audience research study. Typically, as programmers and master planners, our involvement begins after a strategic plan has been completed. However, for this assignment, the Museum felt strongly that a more inclusive process, which sought our perspectives on how museums are evolving in response to architectural, cultural, and digital trends at an earlier stage in their planning for the future, would better inform their overall institutional visioning.

Our planning study began with research on issues including climate change, the need for more flexible and adaptable spaces, and attracting broader audiences. Our consultant team provided forecasting on future challenges to and opportunities for cultural institutions based on evolving social, demographic, and economic trends, as well as trends in digital technology. We also undertook a rapid programming process, in collaboration with Nelson-Atkins staff and leadership, to identify key spaces and expansion areas needed to meet the institution’s needs and strategic goals for the next 30 years.



The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Kansas City, Missouri
Site Area
430,000 gsf onsite building area; 26 acre campus
Completion Date
  • DVDL DD Cultural Forecasting and Content Development

  • Bluecadet Digital Technology Forecasting