The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art was created from the legacy of newspaper owner William Rockhill Nelson.
Nelson was an estate developer before buying up a newspaper and naming it the Kansas City Star. He was known the Colonel due to his manner, though he'd never been in the military.
Nelson provided in his will that his land and money be used to house and purchase art for the enjoyment of the public.
This combined with a bequest of $300,000 by former schoolteacher (and wife of an estate speculator) Mary Atkins for an art museum formed the Nelson-Atkins museum in Kansas City, Missouri.
The museum has a very respectable collection of European (especially Impressionist) and American art works, and examples of art from all round the world.
Its proudest collection, however is of Asian art, especially that of Imperial China.
Since the museum opened in 1933 it has collected a stunning 7,500 high quality works of Chinese art, representing every stage of history and every art form.
The museum's collection of Ming furniture is the best in the world outside China.
It also has a fantastic range of paintings from the Ming and Qing dynasties (that is from 1368 until the end of the Chinese monarchy early in the 20th century).
It is particularly proud, however, of its collection of 10th to 13th century landscapes, which are rare and exquisite.
Notably Xu Daoning's Fisherman's Evening Song, perhaps the finest art work of its kind, capturing the humbling scale of nature.
The museum's range of Buddhist drawings and sculpture spreads over almost 1500 years.
Amongst the finest is an 11th to 12th century wooden Guanyin.
Guanyin is a bodhisattva - one who refuses to enter Nirvana until there is universal enlightenment. The figure produces a calming influence.
Chinese Art is currently in huge demand due to the increasing number of Chinese collectors, so Americans are very lucky to have a collection of this quality in their back yard.