For Immediate Release
PERMANENT EXHIBIT ON TRUMAN PRESIDENCY TO OPEN IN NOVEMBER.
"HARRY S. TRUMAN: THE PRESIDENTIAL YEARS" AND NEW WHITE HOUSE DECISION CENTER COMPLETE SECOND PHASE OF MAJOR RENOVATION.
October 15, 2001 - Independence, MO - Within the next month, the Truman Presidential Museum & Library is scheduled to open its new permanent exhibit on the Truman Presidency. The highly interactive exhibit completes the second phase of the museum's major renovation, which began last year. The exhibit will be opened to the public beginning November 10 so staff can evaluate and test its various components. Then, on December 9, the exhibit will be formally dedicated during a public ceremony.
The newest addition to the museum, "Harry S. Truman: The Presidential Years" chronicles the major decisions and events that unfolded during the Presidency of Harry S. Truman from 1945 to 1953. Truman's decisions set the course of American foreign and domestic policy for generations. They continue to shape American life today.
The new exhibit provides visitors with an inside look at some of the most historic and dramatic decisions of the 20th Century including the ending of World War II, the formation of NATO, the Korean Conflict and the desegregation of the armed forces. Two interactive "Decision Theaters" allow visitors to delve into controversial issues by weighing the merits of major challenges that faced President Truman and his staff.
Other aspects of the exhibit focus on Truman, his ideas, opinions and the manner in which he made decisions. Visitors can also glimpse into the social, cultural and political life of America during the years of his Presidency.
A 13-minute orientation film, produced and directed by Academy Award-Winner Charles Guggenheim and narrated by Jason Robards, begins the exhibit and chronicles Truman's life up to April 12, 1945. It traces the story of Truman's family and the events of his early life that made him sensitive to the daily struggles of ordinary Americans and shaped his behavior as President. The film ends with the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the swearing in of Truman as the new President.
State-of-the-art audio and video throughout the exhibit bring Truman's major decisions to life. The "Decision Theaters" are placed within the galleries. The first theater asks visitors to determine what types of influences most led to Truman's decision to recognize the State of Israel and to issue his executive order desegregating America's armed forces - both decisions made by President Truman in the middle of 1948. The second Decision Theater immerses visitors in the controversy surrounding Truman's decision to require Federal employees to take a "loyalty oath" and asks visitors whether a government's need for security ever supersedes a citizen's right to privacy and free speech.
The permanent exhibit features uniquely-designed displays that chronicle a most historic time in American history. The exhibit is divided into nine thematic areas:
Also completed in phase two of the renovation is the museum's new education wing. Designed to resemble the West Wing of the White House, it accommodates the White House Decision Center, a one-of-a-kind experiential program for high school students who take on the roles of President Truman and his key advisors facing real-life historical decisions. The innovative program is designed to actively engage students in research, analysis, decision making, leadership and communication. Students will understand the role of the president and his advisors, how presidential decisions are made, models for decision making and a historical perspective in which decisions are made.
The third and final phase of the renovation is scheduled for 2003 with a permanent exhibit on the Life and Times of Harry S. Truman, a collection of photographs and artifacts that tell the story of President Truman before and after his years in The White House.
Funding for the major renovation project came from nearly $12.5 million in private contributions, $8 million in federal funds through the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), plus $2 million from the State of Missouri.
The Grand Rededication of the Truman Presidential Museum & Library is scheduled for Sunday, December 9, 2001 at 2:00 p.m. This event will celebrate the completion of the major structural improvements to the museum, the opening of the new exhibit and the education wing and the development of major new educational programs. Live music, roaming entertainment and refreshments highlight an afternoon of ceremonial presentations and a special keynote address by Pulitzer Prize Winner David McCullough, who authored the book Truman.
In preparation for the 2:00 p.m. rededication ceremony, the museum will be closed from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. Admission to the Truman Presidential Museum & Library will be free following the 2:00 p.m. rededication ceremony. The museum will remain open until 7:00 p.m.
The Truman Presidential Museum & Library is located at U.S. Highway 24 and Delaware Street in Independence, Missouri. The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. The Museum is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Admission is $5 for adults, $4.50 for seniors and $3 for children 6-18 years old. For more information, call the 1-800-833-1225 or the web site at www.trumanlibrary.org.