Library Institute to Host Groundbreaking Celebration
Truman's grandson Clifton Truman Daniel and National Endowment for the
Humanities Chairman Bruce Cole are among those who will participate in
a groundbreaking ceremony, marking the start of work on the newest exhibit
at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum: Truman's Working Office. The
ceremony will take place on Friday, September 28, at 12:30 p.m., preceded
by opening remarks from NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. To celebrate the long-anticipated
turning of the dirt, and in keeping with the Library's 50th Anniversary,
museum admission will be "dirt cheap" all day - only 50 cents.
The media and public are invited to attend.
From the time the
Truman Library opened in 1957, Harry Truman maintained a working office
there, often working five or six days a week. In the office, he wrote
articles, letters, and his book Mr. Citizen. He met with Presidents Hoover,
Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson, and with other notable Americans like
Jack Benny, Ginger Rogers, Robert Kennedy, Thomas Hart Benton, Dean Acheson,
and Earl Warren. And he participated in the day-to-day activities of the
Truman Library, personally training museum docents and conducting impromptu
"press conferences" for visiting school students.
The office appears
today just as it did when Harry Truman died on December 26, 1972, and
offers insight into one of the most extraordinary success stories in American
history. The 56 items on Truman's cluttered desk include the photograph
of Bess that Harry carried into battle during World War One. The desk
itself is the one President Truman used in his private study in the White
House, and the walls are lined with books (nearly 500 volumes), many of
which molded his political views, including Great Men and Famous Women
and Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
The Truman Library office in which Harry Truman spent his post-presidential years is unique in America's presidential library system, but 30 years of exposure to ultraviolet rays and climate fluctuations have taken a toll on the irreplaceable artifacts Truman himself placed in the office. Earlier this year, the Truman Library Institute, the nonprofit partner of the Truman Library, completed its $1.6 million campaign to preserve the President's office and to create a state-of-the-art exhibit to help interpret the life of Harry Truman.
"The legacy of
America's 33rd President is thriving and increasingly of interest to today's
leaders and policy makers," said Michael Devine, president of the
Truman Library Institute and director of the Truman Library. "This
new exhibit will help visitors understand how the modest man from Missouri
became one of America's great leaders, and, we hope, inspire lives of
passion and purpose for the common good."
office is accessible to the public only through a window in the Courtyard.
Despite poor viewing opportunities, it remains one of the Library's most
popular exhibits. When Truman's Working Office reopens, visitors will
be able to watch archival footage of President Truman in the Library and
interact with touch-screen monitors to identify artifacts in the president's
office. Other exhibits in the Truman Working Office gallery will offer
a behind-the-scenes look at the Truman Library and introduce visitors
to the variety of historical materials that make up its rich collections.
A $125,000 Save America's Treasures grant will enable the Truman Library staff and professional conservators to assess the condition of the objects, furniture, and books in Truman's office. The funds will also be used to repair damage and perform other conservation treatment to stabilize and preserve the contents of the office. The grant program, administered by the National Endowment for the Humanities, is designed to provide financial assistance to preserve historical resources of national significance.
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