Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Susan Medler
PH 816.268.8245
FAX 816.268.8299

139 Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photographs at Truman Library
Capture Moments of Triumph and Tragedy

Popular Traveling Exhibit Opens Nov. 21 for Limited 9-Week Run

INDEPENDENCE, MO—Capture the Moment: The Pulitzer Prize Photographs, the most comprehensive display of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs ever shown in the United States, will open on Saturday, November 21, 2009 at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum and run through January 24, 2010.

Of the millions of photographs seen in newspapers each year, only two Pulitzer photography prizes are given – one for spot or breaking news and the other for feature photography. Capture the Moment includes all of those winning images from 1942 – the year of the first photography award – through the 2008 winners. Iconic images include Joe Rosenthal’s 1945 photograph of the raising of the American flag at Iwo Jima, and the RockyMountain News’s staff spot news photographs of the 1999 Columbine tragedy.

Capture the Momentwas developed by the Newseum in Washington, D.C., in association with Business in Entertainment, Inc. The exhibit remains one of the Newseum’s most popular shows; when it opened in November 2000, the exhibit sparked a dramatic increase in Newseum attendance, nearly doubling the number of visitors. Now touring the nation to great acclaim, Capture the Moment has been viewed by more than 2 million visitors in the United States.

“The Truman Library is proud to bring this popular exhibition to our region,” said Michael J. Devine, director of the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. “More than six decades of world history is vividly depicted in these amazing and thought-provoking images. No one who views these photographs can help but be moved to reconsider the meaning of our human experience."

The images capture moments of tenderness, suffering, and historical significance. Many of the Pulitzer winners remind us of events that have become part of our nation’s story: Nathaniel Fein’s 1948 classic of the retiring Babe Ruth, Scott Shaw’s 1987 photo of the rescue of Baby Jessica from a well, images from the Vietnam War, and the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Yet the dramatic and magnetic photographs stand not only as an historical record but also as art. And like great art, they succeed because they illuminate the human condition and connect us with our humanity, as evidenced by the 1968 Spot News winner. Jacksonville Journal photographer Rocco Morabito was photographing a railroad strike when he noticed Jacksonville Electric Authority linemen high up on the poles. “I heard screaming,” Morabito reported. “I looked up and I saw this man hanging down. Oh my God, I didn’t know what to do.” The lineman, Randall Champion, was dangling upside down in his safety belt, felled by 4,160 volts of electricity. The prize-winning photograph captured fellow lineman J.D. Thompson delivering life-saving mount-to-mouth resuscitation to Champion.

Many of the images confront viewers with a more disturbing reflection of humanity. From the beating of a man protesting a United Auto Worker’s strike at the Ford Motor Co. in 1941 (the image received the first Pulitzer for photojournalism) to a stop-action photo of the execution of Sunni Muslim Kurds in Iran (1980), we are reminded of the violence perpetrated and endured in times of social and political conflict.

Behind each prize-winning image is the compelling story of the photographer (sometimes amateur) who – coincidentally or courageously – was present to “capture the moment.”

Admission, Hours & Additional Information

Capture the Moment: The Pulitzer Prize Photographs is included with Museum admission, which $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $3 for children ages 6-15. Admission is free for children 5 and under and for members of the Harry S. Truman Library Institute. To learn about additional discounts, including college student and group rates, please call (816) 268-8221. Visitors bringing young children to the exhibit should be aware that some of the images are disturbing.

The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Located at 24 Highway and Delaware in historic Independence, Missouri – just 20 minutes from downtown Kansas City – the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum is one of 13 presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.

This traveling exhibition was developed by the Newseum in association with Business of Entertainment, Inc., New York, Cyma Rubin, curator. The Kansas City presentation of this exhibit is made possible by the Harry S. Truman Library Institute, the nonprofit partner of the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum.

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