Inside an American Icon
By Kathleen Walls
|J. C. Hall, the founder of Hallmark
Its a quiet company but it
has touched all of us at one time or another. Who hasnt sent a greeting card to a
loved one for a special occasion? Most likely some of the cards we chose were Hallmark
Cards. Hallmark Cards are woven firmly into the fabric of our society but how often do we
think of them as a tourist attraction. Yet not only do they offer a
fun-for-all-ages attraction to visit when we travel to Kansas City, but its free!
Gratis! No cost! You even leave with your own self-made souvenir bow.
The Hallmark Visitors Center is located
in Kansas City's Crown Center complex. Its colorful exhibits trace its history in 14
remarkable exhibits. And what a history it has! Hallmark Cards, Inc. will be celebrating
its 100th birthday in 2010. It has grown with America and serves as a shining
example that the America dream is not dead.
1920s Display at Hallmark
This particular dream began in
1910 when young J. C. Hall arrived in Kansas City to make his way in life. He had little
money but he had a dream. A dream and a shoebox full of post cards. Who could have guessed
that that little shoebox would one day expand into one of the largest greeting card
companies in the world?
The Timeline Exhibits portray a unique
slice of Americana. Beginning with J. C. Halls world and following through all the
events now taught as history. Here at the visitors center, you see this history as
day-to-day life. Postcards, newspapers, signs and photos are displayed along with the
Hallmark Cards of that decade.
A Christmas card display at Hallmark
Along with the Timeline Exhibits,
young and old alike will love The J. C. Hall Christmas Tree Collection with its whimsical
and beautifully decorated trees. Closely related, the Keepsake Collection showcases the
unique Christmas ornaments Hallmark began in 1973. This spurred an ornament collecting
trend that continues to this day.
Visitors enjoy making a bow at Hallmark
For the more technical minded, the
Card Production area will fascinate. Here you see how a card is created from start to
finish. This is the location of the bow making machine where a visitor can make their own
star bow to keep as a souvenir.
Maxine dispenses her famous attitude flavored
advice near the bow making machine
This just scratches the surface,
you can watch former Hallmark TV commercials, laugh at the humorous Hallmark characters,
admire the famous art used as a basis for some of the most memorable cards ever created,
youll recognize your favorite show in one of the many Emmy winning Hallmark Hall of
Fame presentations at the Emmy display and so much more. You can spend an enjoyable
afternoon and not spend a penny. Where else can you find a bargain that is so much fun?
Not only did J. C. Hall make his
mark; that mark has become an American icon known and loved by all as the
For more about hallmark Visitors Center:
ADDRESS: 2450 Grand Blvd. Kansas City, MO 64108
Provided by American Roads Travel Magazine - Visit American Roads Travel Magazine website.