S. Truman: His Life and Times
Overview and Introduction
S. Truman: His Life and Times", a new permanent exhibition
at the Truman Presidential Museum & Library opened on
January 3, 2004, with a special opening preview and reduced
admissions every weekend in January. The exhibition, located
in the Sanders & Blanche Sosland Gallery, is the final
piece of a $22.5 million "Creating a Classroom for
Democracy" renovation that resulted in a series of
new and engaging museum exhibitions and educational programs.
"Harry S. Truman: His Life and Times" captures
the imagination of museum visitors with original artifacts,
photographs and manuscripts, along with engaging audiovisual
programs and participatory activities. This exhibition is
designed for family members of all ages.
exhibition covers five areas of Harry Truman's life.
The experiences that shaped Harry Truman's character are
the focus of the first part of the exhibition. Sections
titled "Boyhood" and "Farm Years" deal
with young Truman's formative years in Independence and
on the family farm in Grandview. His early job as a bank
clerk and his attempts to be a successful businessman are
highlighted in "Becoming a Man." The experience
he gained as a leader of men in World War I can be seen
in "Military Service," while "Home from the
War" chronicles his marriage and his start in the haberdashery
Harry Truman's personal life revolved around his family.
His long love affair with his wife Bess, and the joy he
experienced with his daughter Margaret are critical to understanding
the life of Harry Truman. This section of the exhibit examines
the relationship among what some people called "The
Three Musketeers." The love letters between Harry and
Bess Truman, Margaret Truman's singing career, and the family's
love of music are just a few of the topics covered.
Harry Truman first entered politics in 1922 with his election
as a Jackson County judge. The section titled "Public
Service" examines Truman's years in county politics,
including his successful public works programs and the doubts
he had about his association with the Kansas City political
machine. "Senator" deals with what Truman called
his "happiest ten years" serving in Washington
as one of Missouri's senators.
in the White House
Truman's brief 82-day Vice Presidency is the focus of "From
the Senate to the White House." "Living in the
White House" chronicles the personal side of life in
the Executive Mansion, a period during which the White House
itself was completely rebuilt. Truman's many trips as President
back home to Independence, to his vacation spot in Key West,
Florida, and to other parts of the country and the world
are the focus of "The Traveling President," which
includes his final trip back home to Independence at the
end of his Presidency in January 1953.
From 1953 until his death in 1972 Harry Truman remained
active. The final section of the exhibition deals with his
retirement years in Independence. Much of his time was devoted
to developing the Truman Library and exposing young people
to the importance of knowing their history and government.
But he also traveled, dabbled in politics as an elder statesman,
and wrote his memoirs.
Activities for Young People
Throughout the exhibition, engaging activities challenge
young people to put themselves in Harry Truman's shoes.
Activities include trying on period clothing, sorting mail,
writing letters, making campaign buttons and other tasks.
One interactive station even allows children to compete
to see whether it was faster for young Harry Truman to take
the train or his 1911 Stafford car from his farm in Grandview
to visit his girlfriend, Bess Wallace, in Independence.
to the success of the "Creating a Classroom for Democracy"
campaign, the Truman Museum & Library is poised to make
a significant difference in how young people feel about
and become engaged with American history and their own civic
responsibilities. Especially designed to appeal to the elementary
visitor, the artifacts, photographs, documents and interactive
education discovery areas all combine to make this an outstanding
teaching resource. The exhibit targets 4th, 5th and 6th
graders, older students will learn about the early influences
that shaped Truman's Presidency. Students will be able to
compare the way of life in Harry Truman's time to their
own life today.
Truman Presidential Museum & Library is located at U.S.
Highway 24 and Delaware in Independence, Mo. Hours are 9
a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon - 5 p.m. on
Sunday. The Museum is also open until 9 p.m. on Thursdays.
Admission to the museum's permanent exhibits and attractions,
is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for children ages 6
to 18, and free for children 5 years and under. For more
information on the Museum and programs, call 816-268-8200
or visit www.trumanlibrary.org.
Truman Presidential Museum & Library is one of ten presidential
libraries administered by the National Archives and Records