Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Contacts: Holly Milledge 816-268-8245 Media Relations, or Edeen Martin, 816-268-8218 , Director of Public Programs.
Event: "Conflict and Consequence: The Korean War and its Unsettled Legacy."
Location: Truman Presidential Museum & Library, U.S. 24 Highway and Delaware

Truman Presidential Museum & Library presents an exhibition
"Conflict and Consequence: The Korean War and its Unsettled Legacy."
June 25, 2003 - January 5, 2004
Opening Ceremony, Sunday, June 29, 2:30 p.m.

Independence, MO, June 9, 2003. The Korean War "ended" fifty years ago this summer, and the fragile armistice that stopped the fighting has endured despite years of tension and hostility. That armistice agreement is just one of many original documents and artifacts from the Korean War that will be on display at the Truman Presidential Museum & Library in Independence beginning this summer. The exhibition, "Conflict and Consequence: The Korean War and its Unsettled Legacy," opens on June 25, 2003 - the 53rd anniversary of the start of the Korean War - and it runs through January 5, 2004. An Opening Ceremony will be held Sunday, June 29th at 2:30 p.m. on the front portico of the Museum. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

Responding to the aggression of a dictatorial regime, the American President led an international coalition of forces into combat in a remote part of the world for preserving freedom. The scenario may sound familiar, but the time was June 1950. The President was Harry S. Truman. The place was Korea. For three years, United Nations forces waged fierce battles against North Korean and Chinese troops before the fighting finally ended in July 1953.

For fifty years, a tenuous cease-fire has endured between North and South Korea. The war never really ended; no peace agreement was ever declared. To this day heavily, armed forces in the North and South face each other over a narrow demilitarized zone, each side prepared to resume hostilities at a moment's notice.

The exhibition focuses on the personal experiences of those who were caught up in the war, through their letters, diaries, and their recollections. Video and audio recordings of veterans recounting their time in Korea play in several locations throughout the exhibition gallery. President Truman also discusses his own thoughts about Korean War policy in a video program, while some of his most private thoughts are captured in the letters to his wife Bess and in his periodic diary entries.
Among the items on view will be:

  • The armistice agreement that brought a truce to the Korean War on July 27, 1953, on loan from the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C.
  • Ten classic black and white images of men in combat by noted photojournalist David Douglas Duncan, on loan from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
  • General Douglas MacArthur's uniform, hat, and other items, on loan from the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, Virginia
  • Psychological operations fliers and posters, produced by United Nations forces and designed to be distributed to North Korean and Chinese forces, on loan from Paul Wolfgeher of Independence
  • Many of President Truman's original handwritten letters and diary entries, a number of which reveal his private frustration as the war dragged on against the backdrop of seemingly endless truce negotiations.
  • A North Korean Flag captured in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, as United Nations forces surged north of the 38th parallel in October 1950.
  • A Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military honor, awarded posthumously to Sergeant Charles R. Long for combat action in Korea.

Visitors will be able to record their own thoughts about the war and the current situation in Korea via comment books located within the exhibition. In addition, a resource table with reference materials about Korea and the Korean War will be available for visitors who wish to spend time learning more about the issues and events they have encountered in the exhibition.

The final section of the exhibition focuses on the "unsettled legacy" of the Korean War. It summarizes the tensions that have persisted between North and South in the 50 years since the end of the conflict, while illustrating the dramatically different paths the two countries have taken during the intervening years.

Opening Ceremony, Sunday, June 29 at 2:30 p.m.

The Truman Presidential Museum & Library will hold an opening ceremony on the front portico of the Museum. The event will include music from the Scott Air Force Band and remarks by The Honorable Ike Skelton (D-MO), ranking minority member of the House Armed Services Committee. Veterans of the Korean War will receive special recognition. Please stop by the "welcome booth" on the south lawn upon arrival. The Ceremony is free and open to the public. Museum admission will be free after the ceremony until 5:00 p.m.

The 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 "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. It is located at U.S. Highway 24 and Delaware in Independence, Missouri.

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