HARRY S. TRUMAN LIBRARY & MUSEUM

Truman Library

DESCRIPTION: The Harry S. Truman Library & Museum recounts the life of America’s 33rd president. One of only 13 U.S. Presidential Libraries, the museum’s two permanent exhibitions chronicle the Missourian’s private life and political career—with exhibits depicting his most difficult decisions like the using the atomic bomb, the Cold War and recognizing Israel. President Truman and his wife, Bess, their daughter, Margaret, and her husband are buried in the Museum’s courtyard.

ADDRESS: 500 W. Highway 24, Independence, Mo.

LOCATION: Approximately 20 minutes from downtown Kansas City.

PHONE: 816-268-8200

WEB SITE: www.trumanlibrary.org

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook-Harry S. Truman Library & Museum, Twitter- @TrumanLibrary

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The museum’s historical collection consists of approximately 30,000 objects—including hundreds of Truman family possessions, political memorabilia, diplomatic gifts and 1,300 letters from the Truman courtship and marriage.
  • Independence and the Opening of the West—this impressive 495-square-foot mural framing the museum’s entry was painted by another native Missourian—artist Thomas Hart Benton. His mural depicts three decades of Independence’s history (1817-1847) and took approximately two and a half years to complete.
  • “The Presidential Years”—a 10,500-square-foot core exhibition outlines the major events and issues of Truman’s presidency.
  • “Life & Times”—this permanent exhibition was created with families in mind, engages children and is highly interactive, and chronicles Truman’s boyhood, military career, family life and his role as “Mr. Citizen.”
  • Decision Theatres—these two interactive theaters put the audience into the President’s shoes to make important Oval Office decisions. Visitors vote how they would respond to Truman-term issues such as 1948 election pressures and Cold War spies.
  • Legacy Gallery—this glass-enclosed area houses a life-size bronze statue of Truman and panels in the gallery describe the legacy he left as President.
  • In the tranquil courtyard, visit the Flame of Memory and pay respects at the gravesites of Harry and Bess Truman, as well as Clifton and Margaret Truman Daniel. From the courtyard, you can see the office President Truman used daily from 1957 until 1966.  It was here that he met visiting dignitaries and carried on his many other activities during the years after he left the White House. 
  • The museum also features an Oval Office replica, an Academy Award-winning introductory film by Charles Guggenheim and a gift shop.

HOURS: Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., noon-5 p.m. Sun.

ADMISSION: Adults $8, seniors $7, ages 6-15 $3. Children 5 and under are admitted free.

ANNUAL ATTENDANCE: 80,000 visitors.

HISTORY: Truman’s two-term tenure is considered by many historians as one of the most eventful and most studied periods in American history.  Ascending to the presidency following Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death in April 1945, Truman grappled with several controversial decisions—including the release of the atomic bomb, the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the implementation of several anti-Communist policies. His administration was also responsible for the establishment of the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency.  

Prior to joining Roosevelt’s campaign ticket in 1944, Truman served as a Jackson County judge and U.S. Senator. He chose not to seek another term in 1952 and retired to Independence, where he resided until his death on Dec. 26, 1972.

Dedicated in July 1957, the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum was the second to receive national designation but the first to be created under the 1955 Presidential Libraries Act. The museum is administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.

WHERE TO GET LUNCH: The city’s historic Independence Square features local restaurants and quaint shops.

HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES: Several museum activities engage young people with history. Kids can sort the presidential mail, make campaign buttons or their very own Buck Stops Here paper sign stops here,

WHAT’S NEARBY: The Truman Home, 219 Delaware Street, showcases the simple life Truman and his beloved Bess enjoyed in Independence before and after his presidency. The National Park Service offers tours every 15 minutes. Also in Independence, the Truman Depot (111 W. Pacific Street) served as the final stop for Truman’s 1948 Whistlestop Campaign. Now a working Amtrak station, more than 8,500 admirers greeted Truman and Bess there when the pair returned to town following his second term. The city’s Truman Walking Trail highlights more than 40 historic sites around the Square and surrounding neighborhoods. 

ANNUAL SPECIAL EVENTS:

  • Bess Truman’s Birthday (February 13) - Events include a public program at 2 p.m., followed by a reception sponsored by the Independence Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. 
  • Harry Truman’s Birthday (May 8)-The President’s birthday is celebrated with two wreath laying ceremonies in the morning, birthday cake and appearances by a local Truman impersonator.   
  • Veteran’s Day (November 11)-Potential special program on or around Veteran’s Day and free admission for veterans and active-duty members of the military. 

DID YOU KNOW: Truman, the painter? In the top right corner of Independence and the Opening of the West, artist Thomas Hart Benton let President Truman help paint the sky blue.

DON’T FORGET: Stop by Clinton’s Soda Fountain in nearby Independence Square where 14-year-old Harry earned $3 a week at his first job, then known as Crown Drug Store.   

GROUP TOURS: Visits to the museum by groups of 15 or more must be arranged in advance. All reservations that request a guided tour must be booked four weeks prior. For more information, call 816-268-8221.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS:

The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum is easily accessible from I-70 and I-435, two major interstates in the area. 

From I-70, take the Noland Road exit north and travel 3.9 miles to 24 Highway/Independence Avenue. Turn left, travel 0.4 miles to Truman Library exit. 

From I-435, take Exit 59 east towards 24 Highway/Independence Avenue; travel 3 miles to the Truman Library exit. 

PARKING: Parking is free in the building’s adjacent two lots.

PUBLIC RELATIONS CONTACT: Donna Denslow, visitor services manager, 816-268-8239 or donna.denslow@nara.gov

Media Contacts

Derek Klaus
National & Convention Media:
Derek Klaus
Director of Communications
816-691-3849
dklaus@visitkc.com | Twitter | LinkedIn
Toni Alexander
Regional & KC Media:
Toni Alexander
Communications Manager
816-691-3848
talexander@visitkc.com | LinkedIn
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