Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 14, 2003
Contacts: Holly Milledge, 816-268-8245 Media Relations, or
Edeen Martin, 816-268-8200 , ext. 257, Director of Public and External Programs.
Event: "Thomas Hart Benton, Harry Truman and the Making of Indepedendence and the Opening of the West" and "It's the Man from Missouri and a Tall Texan: A Survey of the Truman- Johnson Connection."
Location: Truman Presidential Museum & Library,
U.S. 24 Highway and Delaware.


Truman's Legacy: May Programs Highlight Truman's Post-Presidential Career

May 2003 - Independence, MO - The Truman Presidential Museum & Library continues its programs marking the 50th anniversary of Harry S. Truman's departure from office with two programs examining his post-Presidential activities.

May 24 at 10:30 a.m.
Archivist Ray Geselbracht discusses "Thomas Hart Benton, Harry Truman and the Making of Independence and the Opening of the West."
Using documents and photos from the Truman Library's collection, along with Thomas Hart Benton's own working drawings, Dr. Geselbracht describes the creation of the Truman Presidential Museum's famous Thomas Hart Benton mural. The presentation also casts light on the special relationship between the painter and the President.

In 1958, Benton--noted for his 1936 Missouri mural located at the Capitol Building in Jefferson City--agreed to paint a mural in the entrance to the Truman Museum. After several discussions with President Truman, they settled on a theme for the mural highlighting the town of Independence as the starting point for the westward expansion over the trails, covering the period from 1830 to 1847. From conceptualization through completion, the mural took approximately two and a half years. Benton first turned out hundreds of sketches of figures and portions of the mural. He then sculpted a three-dimensional clay model, on a 2' by 4' board, depicting the figures that would eventually appear in the completed mural. Started in December 1959, much of the mural was accomplished from a 14' scaffold erected in the Museum lobby. The mural occupies a space 19' by 32', and covers 495 square feet, and was completed in March 1961. The program is free with museum admission.

May 27 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.,
Dave Schafer, "It's the Man from Missouri and a Tall Texan: A Survey of the Truman- Johnson Connection."

A career National Park Service ranger, Dave Schafer will explore the relationship between Harry S. Truman and Lyndon Baines Johnson. Schafer will share information and insights gained from his 17 years of service as an interpreter at the Truman Home, his current position at the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park and other Park Service properties. Using oval office telephone recordings from the Johnson Library, Schafer will shed new light on the close and mutually respectful relationship between the two presidents.

The Truman-Johnson friendship spanned more than three decades. Truman was 24 years LBJ's senior, and as time passed Johnson looked upon Truman as one of his father figures. Schafer will discuss the importance of family and geography and how, for these two presidents, their self-identities were interwoven with the people and places of their boyhood. The talk will also describe how each man dealt with the issues of civil rights, health care, the Cold War, and the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

Truman Legacy activities continue through the summer with two conferences:

June 13-14, "Truman's Legacy: National Security, 1953-2003"
This conference will assess Truman's enduring significance in the critically important and timely area of national security. Speakers include a keynote address by former National Security Advisor General Brent Scowcroft, opening remarks by President Truman's grandson, Clifton Truman Daniel, and a panel discussion with former Truman aides George Elsey, Ken Hechler and Milton Kayle. The conference takes place in Key West, Florida and is sponsored by the Truman Presidential Museum & Library, Harry S Truman Little White House, White House Studies and Florida Keys Community College.

July 15-18.
"Harry's Farewell: A Conference on the Historical Significance of the Truman Presidency,"
This education conference takes place at the Truman Museum. The public is invited to attend the evening program "The Biographers Define Truman's Significance" featuring noted Truman scholars Alonzo Hamby and Robert Ferrell on July 17 at 7:00 p.m. Hamby is the author of Man of the People: A Life of Harry S. Truman and Ferrell wrote Harry S. Truman: A Life. The conference, sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman fund and the Truman Library Institute, brings together academics and high school teachers to consider new ways of teaching history and the Truman era.


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. Hours are 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon - 5p.m. on Sunday. The Museum is open until 9 p.m. on Thursdays. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for children ages 6-18, and free for children 5 years and under. For more information on the Truman Presidential Museum & Library call 1-800-833-1225 or visit www.trumanlibrary.org.

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