1 The Hallmark Visitors Center located in Kansas City's Crown Center complex - Admission is free!
2 Through these doors, you'll find 14 remarkable exhibits that trace Hallmark through its 101 years of history.
3 The Hallmark slogan
4 There is a fascinating timeline on display comparing Hallmark history to what was going on in the world. In 1910, 18-year-old Joyce Clyde Hall from Nebraska steps off a train in Kansas City, MO with a shoebox full of postcards.
5 In the 1920s, Joyce and brother William extend sales to all 48 states with 16 salesmen and opened an office in New York City. Hallmark appears on every card and gift wrap was added to the offering.
6 in the 1930s, as the Great Depression caused hardships across the nation, J.C. Hall looked out for his employees more than ever with employee benefits including retirement pensions, medical aid, life insurance, and vacation pay.
7 The Angel Tree - In 1938, Hallmark employees presented founder Joyce C. Hall with a large handmade Christmas card, giving birth to a tradition that would endure 44 years.
8 Folk Art Tree - The cards became increasingly elaborate and, in 1966, employees delivered the first Christmas tree designed especially for Mr. Hall.
9 The Twelve Days of Christmas Tree - Each Christmas tree continued to be accompanied by greeting cards signed by as many as 18,000 employees in one year.
10 The Stained Glass Tree - The last tree of the 17 trees in the collection was presented in memoriam on December 23, 1982, a few months after Mr. Halls death.
11 Shadow Box Carousel Tree - Each of the trees was designed around a theme known only to those Hallmark volunteers who produced the tree’s hand-crafted ornaments.
12 Bread Dough Ornament Tree - The secret became public only when the tree was unveiled for Mr. Hall in his office during the last working days before Christmas.
13 The Bicentennial Tree - The J.C. Hall Tree Collection reflects the talents of Hallmarkers and stands as a tribute to the many who inspired their creation.
14 The Bob Schneeberg Tree - A longtime Hallmark artist whose distinctive collages were used in greeting card and puzzle designs had the honor of personally creating this gift.
15 Natural Basket Tree - The natural look so popular in the 1980's influenced this tree.
16 In 1951, a series of television broadcast specials that became the Hallmark Hall of Fame, began with 'Amahl and the Night Visitors' by Gian Carlo Menotti, the first original opera created especially for television, broadcast on Christmas Eve.
17 The pansy card is the longest-running card in Hallmark history. It has been sent and received more than any other greeting card in the world! Introduced in 1939 as a Mother's Day card, it was changed to a friendship card in the 1940's.
18 2010 Love Stamp was inspired by the pansy card, designed by Dorothy Maienschein, who painted the original artwork in 1939. She was a Hallmark artist for more than 30 years.
19 Hallmark cards are die-cut and the process begins with a laser burning the shape of a card into a block of wood.
20 A special tool is used to bend pieces of steel rule into the shape of the card. The pieces are then hammered into the die. Hallmark uses approximately 23 miles of steel rule a year.
21 The greeting cards are cut from large printed sheets using a steel-rule die, much like a cookie cutter. The rubber that you see keeps the card from sticking in the die.
22 Look familiar?
23 Here I am with Don Hall, President and CEO of Hallmark and a grandson of company founder Joyce C. Hall.
24 And here we are with Lisa Gersh, COO of MSLO.
25 With Lisa Macpherson, Senior VP Marketing Consumer Solutions at Hallmark
26 With Teri Ann Drake, Senior VP Creative at Hallmark
27 And with Steve Doyal, Senior VP Public Affairs and Communications at Hallmark
28 I liked this print by Cary Leibowitz. The next print is displayed on its side and says 'I can't I don't feel well.'
29 After touring the Visitor Center, we took a walk through their offices, including the Creative Supply Library.
30 The poster at the bottom left, which I agree with, reads: If you give a good idea to a mediocre team, they’ll screw it up. But if you give a mediocre idea to a great team, they’ll make it work.
31 A great design - very much like an Eames chair
32 The Creative Supply Library was rich with art supplies.
33 Brushes galore
34 Stacks of ink pads
35 And many shades of glitter
36 Posing with Kristin Harrington, creative specialist, in the Creative Supply Library - I told her she should have Martha Stewart Craft supplies on hand, as well.
37 Spray paint and card stock
38 Ribbons and fabrics
39 The Hallmark archival area has an amazing collection of beautiful, historical fabrics.
40 These printed fabrics provide inspiration for new designs, like this beautiful bird with outstretched wings.
41 Vintage fabrics of lovely floral prints
42 Some examples of how archival patterns are digitized and used for new card creations
43 There's also a sizable humor department.
44 We got to meet a few of the humor writers - this is definitely a fun place!
45 Some of the Greetings and Humor Department – Maureen Urness - editorial director, Rachel Karaca - art director, Liz Gilstrap - administrative assistant, Sarah Tobaben - senior editorial director, and Julie McFarland - creative director
46 An inspiration board of funny sayings