Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 9, 2002
Contact: Holly Milledge, 816-268-8245 . Public Relations/Marketing, or
Edeen Martin, 816-268-8218 . Director of Public and External Programs.


Truman Presidential Museum & Library presents
"The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden"
October 12, 2002 through May 11, 2003

Independence, MO-September 9th, 2002-The Truman Presidential Museum & Library hosts a major exhibition on the institution of the Presidency when "The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden" opens on Saturday, October 12. Through video, audio and more than 350 objects, this exhibition takes the viewer on a journey to explore, and remember, the roles of the Presidency over the past 200 years.

"Lincoln" brand oranges
Label for a crate of "Lincoln" brand oranges

"The appearance of 'The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden' continues our high-quality series of timely temporary exhibitions and enhances our status as a classroom for democracy," said Truman Museum & Library Director Michael Devine. "We are offering an American historical experience like no other in the Kansas City area in 2002-2003, with 'The American Presidency' exhibition, our new permanent exhibition, 'Harry S. Truman: The Presidential Years' and an outstanding series of programs, partnerships and events."

Cheered and jeered. Praised and roasted. Admired and ridiculed. The President of the United States has been at the focal point of American history - from George Washington to George W. Bush. "The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden" draws from the vast Smithsonian collection of American history to tell the story of the 42 men who have sat in this nation's highest office. This exhibition features themed sections such as "Presidential Campaigns," "Creating the Presidency," "Presidential Roles" and "Assassination and Mourning." "The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden" is cause for national celebration at a time when Americans are drawing strength from their history. This exhibition allows visitors the opportunity to understand and take pride in the history of the great American presidency. Special teaching guides and family guides will be available to classes and families viewing "The American Presidency."

The exhibition is a full-scale traveling version of the permanently installed exhibition of the same title at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. The exhibition contains five audio-visual presentations and two interactive experiences.

The key storytellers, however, are the more than 350 artifacts on view in "The American Presidency," most drawn from the Smithsonian's holdings of more than 3 million objects.

Among the exhibition's highlights are:

  • a dispatch case used by George Washington in the revolutionary war
  • the brass inkwell used by Abraham Lincoln while writing the first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation
  • top hat and overcoat worn by Grover Cleveland at his First Inauguration on March 4, 1885
  • a CBS microphone used by Franklin D. Roosevelt during his "fireside chats"
  • a formal gown worn by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy
  • the gavel used during Bill Clinton's impeachment trial

The exhibition was created by the National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. The national tour has been made possible by the United States Congress, Guenther and Siewchin Yong Sommer, Kenneth E. Behring, the Smithsonian National Board, and The History Channel. Local sponsors are UMB Bank and the Truman Library Institute.

The Truman Presidential Museum & Library will present a series of programs on the American Presidency to complement the exhibit. The first five speakers are:

October 30, 7:00 P.M.--Richard Holbrooke, United States Ambassador to the United Nations in the Clinton administration and special envoy from the USA to the Balkans under George W. Bush, will share his thoughts on the foreign affairs challenges that meet the modern President. Holbrooke is presented in association with the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City as part of the Gilbert Lecture Series. This program is free and will take place at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Reservations required. Please call Central Ticket Office at 816-235-6222.

October 31, 8:30 A.M.-- Kati Marton, known for her dramatic, true stories of International intrigue, has written a new book on the power behind the leaders of the free world. Enjoy an intimate continental breakfast with Ms. Marton as she speaks on the concepts presented in her book, Hidden Power: Presidential Marriages that Shaped our History at the Truman Presidential Museum. This program is free with Museum admission. Reservations required, (limited seating available). Please call Central Ticket Office at 816-235-6222.

November 8, 7:00 P.M.--Eugene P. Trani, president of Virginia Commonwealth University and noted American historian will share his views on the real roots of the Cold War which he attributes to the legacy of Woodrow Wilson and the forces at play after World War I. This event will take place in the Truman Presidential Museum auditorium and is being co-sponsored by the University of Missouri-Kansas City where Trani taught from 1980 through 1986. This program is free with Museum admission. Reservations required. Please call Central Ticket Office at 816-235-6222.

November 13, 7:30 P.M.--Michael Beschloss, award-winning writer and frequent television commentator on the American Presidency, will discuss his latest book, The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany, as part of the Rainy Day Books series at Unity Temple on the Plaza. Beschloss will read from his book and answer questions at this event. This program is free. For more information contact Rainy Day Books at 913-384-3126.

January 16, 7:00 P.M.--Richard Kirkendall, editor of The Truman Encyclopedia and board member of the Truman Library Institute, will speak on the "Farewell Address" President Harry S. Truman delivered on January 15, 1953. "Harry's Farewell" will be held at the Truman Presidential Museum and is the keynote address for the year-long series events commemorating the 50th anniversary of Truman's leaving office.

The Truman Presidential Museum & Library is located at U.S. Highway 24 and Delaware in Independence, Missouri. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, Sunday from noon - 5:00 pm. The Museum is also open until 9:00 pm on Thursdays. Admission to the "American Presidency," including 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 1-800-833-1225 or visit www.trumanlibrary.org.

The Truman Presidential Museum & Library is one of ten Presidential Libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.

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