Barbara Marshall, longtime supporter of arts education in Kansas City, died of natural causes April 21, 2021 in Kansas City, Mo. She was 97 years old.
As one of three children of Hallmark founder J.C. Hall and his wife, Elizabeth, Barbara spent many childhood evenings at home helping her father review card designs. Her love of art and the people who create art stemmed from that early training and was the foundation for a lifetime supporting arts education and sharing her passion for art with the public.
Her involvement at Hallmark spanned more than 50 years as a member of the company’s product review committee and later as part of a group charged with making acquisitions for Hallmark’s renowned art collection. In 1998, the company acknowledged her many years of service by establishing the Barbara Marshall Award, granting a six-month sabbatical to selected senior Hallmark artists and writers for independent study and exploration within a creative discipline of their choice.
Barbara also was a nationally recognized collector of miniatures, and in 1982 partnered with toy collector Mary Harris Francis to open their collections to the public. The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures (formerly Toy and Miniature Museum of Kansas City) on the campus of the University of Missouri-Kansas City greets thousands of visitors each year and has been described as one of the finest museums of its kind in the world. Barbara’s work with miniatures earned her a Crystal Award from the International Guild of Miniatures Artisans, an Award of Excellence from the United Federation of Doll Clubs, and status as an Academy Honor member of the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts.
Barbara’s interest in the small and precise extended to nature as well. She grew Bonsai trees and was a founding member of the Bonsai Society of Greater Kansas City and served as a board member of the National Bonsai Foundation. More recently she helped lead efforts to construct a research facility at The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas.
She was a longtime trustee of the Kansas City Art Institute, first elected to the board in 1967 and serving on several of the college’s committees. In 1997 KCAI awarded her an honorary doctor of fine arts degree to recognize her nearly 40 years of service. She recently provided the lead gift for a dormitory which bears her name.
Barbara graduated from Sunset Hill School in 1941. She attended Bradford Junior College and graduated from the University of Kansas in 1945. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert A. Marshall and sister Elizabeth Reid and is survived by daughters Elizabeth Marshall, Santa Barbara, Calif.; Margaret Silva, Kansas City, Mo., and Barbara Jo Marshall, Estes Park, Colo.; brother Donald J. Hall, Mission Hills; two grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures or the Kansas City Art Institute.
A remembrance will be held at a later date.