The Hall of Honor was quiet on Monday morning, absent of the typical wall-to-wall hustle and bustle that occupies this sacred space on game days. Silence echoed throughout the structure, preserving the fifty bronze busts, two Lombardi Trophies and single piece of stationary that served as the founding document of the American Football League.
This gallery of history is dedicated to the moments, people and artifacts that collectively tell the story of the Kansas City Chiefs, and on this particular morning, it was all reserved for an individual who could perhaps enjoy it the most.
Doran Cart, the Senior Curator of the National World War I Museum and Memorial in downtown Kansas City, is set to retire later this month after 33 years of faithful service to one of our city's greatest institutions. He is largely responsible for the Museum and Memorial's rise into one of the most comprehensive collections of World War I objects on Earth.
He's also an enormous fan of the red and gold, and in celebration of his tremendous career, the Chiefs provided Cart with not only a private tour of the Hall of Honor, but also a custom jersey bearing his name.
"Doran has done so much for the National World War I Museum and Memorial, but he's also such a big Chiefs' fan," said Chiefs' Executive Vice President & CFO Dan Crumb, who was on the Museum and Memorial's board of trustees through November and currently serves as the Chair of the Gallery Refresh Task Force. "I attend all the board and committee meetings, and whenever I see Doran, he's always asking about the Chiefs. He loves our team so much, and for all of the commitment he's shown to the museum and to our city, we wanted to do this for him."
Crumb arranged for Cart's tour to be guided by Team Historian Mike Davidson, bringing together a pair of stewards from two iconic pillars of our city for a stroll through more than 50 years of history.
"This is an incredible honor. I've been following the Chiefs ever since I came to Kansas City in 1985, so I'm just overwhelmed," Cart said. "Our museum is about the humanity of those who participated in the war, and to be here learning about these incredible sports heroes and who they were, it couldn't be any better."
Cart – whose custom No. 90 Chiefs' jersey paid homage to when he began working at the Museum and Memorial in 1990 – earned numerous awards during his distinguished career, including being recognized recently with a Congressional Record Statement from Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver. He'll retire to the position of Curator Emeritus at the conclusion of this month, making him the first person at the Museum and Memorial to ever hold that distinction.
His work has brought history to life for the countless individuals who visit the National World War I Museum and Memorial every year, and it was only fitting that when asked about the importance of preserving history, a group of students on a field trip entered the Hall of Honor just moments later.
"Look at these kids here – that's why history is so important," Cart said. "We have to keep interpreting our history, otherwise it's lost, and when it's lost, it's hard to recover. If we keep it up – and that's what this Hall of Honor and our work at the National World War I Museum and Memorial is intended to do – we can learn about the people who came before us, and what they meant to the world.
Both the Chiefs and the National World War I Museum and Memorial have meant so much to Kansas City over the decades, and they're set to combine this upcoming spring to host the 2023 NFL Draft. The event – which will take place in front of Union Station – will be one of the largest in our city's history.
"We have the draft coming up in a few months, and a good portion of that draft will be held on the north lawn of the National World War I Museum and Memorial," Crumb said. "So, in addition to honoring Doran, we figured this would be a good way to tie that all together."
It all wrapped up into a truly special day for everyone involved, and as Davidson led Cart through the various exhibits displayed within the Hall of Honor, the scene was a stark reminder that our history is only as good as the individuals trusted with protecting it.
"You can't have a better life in the profession than I've had. I've been in the field since 1974, and it's been a great culmination," Cart said. "I get emotional talking about it, and I'm just so honored to be here today."