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Truman Library

Harry S Truman Library and Museum

Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum
Location 39°06′12″N 94°25′15″W / 39.10333°N 94.42083°W / 39.10333; -94.42083 (Harry S. Truman Library and Museum (Jackson County, Missouri))Coordinates: 39°06′12″N 94°25′15″W / 39.10333°N 94.42083°W / 39.10333; -94.42083 (Harry S. Truman Library and Museum (Jackson County, Missouri))
500 West U.S. Highway 24
Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, USA 64050

Dedicated July 6, 1957
Named for Harry S Truman
Architect Edward Neild (primary)
Cost $1,700,000
Management NARA
Website Truman Library

The Harry S Truman Library and Museum is dedicated to preserving papers, books, and other historical materials relating to the 33rd U.S. President, Harry S Truman. It is located on a hill facing U.S. Highway 24 in Independence, Missouri, Truman's hometown.

It was the first presidential library to be created under the provisions of the 1955 Presidential Libraries Act, and is one of thirteen presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.


Built on a hill overlooking the Kansas City skyline, on land donated by the City of Independence, the Truman Library was dedicated on July 6, 1957,[1] in a ceremony which included the Masonic Rites of Dedication; those attending the ceremony included former President Herbert Hoover, Chief Justice Earl Warren, and former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

Here the Medicare Act was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965.

On 11 December 2006, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan gave his final speech as Secretary-General at the library, where he encouraged the United States to return to the multilateralist policies of Truman.


The lead architect of the project was Edward F. Neild. Truman had picked Neild in the 1930s to design the renovation of the Independence and construction of the Kansas City Jackson County Courthouses after Truman was impressed with Neild's work on the Caddo Parish, Louisiana, Courthouse in Shreveport, Louisiana.[2][3] Neild was among the architects of the Truman White House reconstruction.

Neild died on July 6, 1955, at the Kansas City Club while working on the design.[4]

Truman had initially wanted the building to resemble his grandfather Solomon Young's house in Grandview, Missouri.[5]

In response to a New York Times review that recalled Frank Lloyd Wright influences in the library's horizontal design, Truman was reported to have said, "It's got too much of that fellow in it to suit me."[5]

A $23 million renovation of the entire facility was completed in 2001 on a design by architects Gould Evans.[6] The changes included the extensive use of glass in the relatively windowless structure and significantly altering the space between Truman's grave and the museum.[7]

Truman's activities on the premises

Truman actively participated in the day-to-day operation of the Library, personally training museum docents and conducting impromptu "press conferences" for visiting school students. He frequently arrived before the staff and would often answer the phone to give directions and answer questions, telling surprised callers that he was the "man himself."

His visitors included incumbent presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, former president Hoover, Jack Benny, Ginger Rogers, Robert F. Kennedy, Thomas Hart Benton, and Dean Acheson.

Truman's office

From the time the library opened, President Truman maintained an office on the premises, often working five or six days a week. (Truman previously had his office in Room 1107 of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City at 925 Grand from when he left the Presidency in 1953 until the library opened in 1957.[8]) In the office, he wrote articles, letters, and his book Mr. Citizen.

A $1.6 million preservation and restoration of Truman's working office was completed in 2009 and features an enclosed limestone pavilion for better access and viewing. The office appears today just as it did when Harry Truman died on December 26, 1972.

Long a favorite of museum visitors, the office was viewed through a window from the library's courtyard.

Truman's funeral services

Funeral services for Truman were held in the Library's auditorium and he was buried in the courtyard. His wife, Bess Truman, was buried alongside him in 1982. Their daughter, Margaret Truman Daniel, was a longtime member of the Truman Library Institute's board of directors. After her death in January 2008, Margaret's cremated remains and those of her late husband, Clifton Daniel (who had died in 2000), were also interred in the Library's courtyard. The president's grandson, Clifton Truman Daniel, is currently honorary co-chair of the Institute's board of directors.

Exhibits and program

Two floors of exhibits show his life and presidency through photographs, documents, artifacts, memorabilia, film clips and a film about Truman's life.

The library's replica of the Oval Office is a feature that has been copied by the Johnson, Ford, Carter, Reagan, H W Bush, Clinton, and W Bush libraries.

In an educational program called The White House Decision Center, school students take on the roles of President Truman and his advisors facing real-life historical decisions in a recreation of the West Wing of the White House.


The mural Independence and the Opening of The West by Thomas Hart Benton adorns the walls of the lobby entrance. The mural, completed in 1961, was painted on site by Benton over a three-year span.


Visitors after 1972 include incumbent presidents Ford, Carter, and Clinton and Presidential Nominees John Kerry and John McCain.

See also


External links

  • Official website
  • Internet Archive
  • a National Park Service Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) lesson plan
  • C-SPAN's American Presidents: Life Portraits

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