The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum, while not actually a traditional library at all, is an amazing museum showcasing the life and presidency of Harry S. Truman. It is located in Independence, Missouri a few minutes off of I-435 highway. This museum is filled with all kinds of interesting history and it would be so easy to spend hours inside. There is so much to read through and learn!
Walking Into the Truman Presidential Library
As you enter the museum’s main lobby, you’re greeted by the very friendly staff as you make your way to the outer doors of the museum itself. The museum does require tickets to be purchased for admission. Prices are very reasonable for the amount of stuff you can see. Prices range from $12 for adults to $5 for youth 13-18 (12 and under are free). There are discounted prices for senior citizens and active/retired military servicemen and women. College students can also get in for a discounted price which is very nice especially if they are researching projects as this provides a wealth of information.
The first room contains a short film about how Truman came to be president. For it only being a few minutes, it was very informative and provided a great introduction for what is to come. As you walk through, you’re given a thorough history of the life of Harry S. Truman from his childhood on up. There are items from his childhood such as the piano that he practiced on as a child, facts about his boyhood home, and much more.
All Kinds of Facts and Artifacts
Truman always knew from a young age when he first met Bess (his future wife) that he was going to marry her. He always wrote letters to her no matter where he was. Many of these letters are shown on a very cool looking display in the middle of one of the rooms. Take the time to read them and you’ll see how much he cared for and loved his wife.
There are all kinds of artifacts from World War II, both from the US side and the Japanese side. One of the central displays is the safety plug from the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. There is also a wall that is covered in folded paper cranes paying respect to a young Japanese girl who folded 1,000 paper cranes as she was dying in the hospital from radiation poisoning caused by the nuclear fallout.
One of the most interesting setups is the hallway that progresses by date showing major events that happened as World War II raged on. It was so interesting to see all of this.
Different Sections to Explore at the Truman Presidential Library
The Truman Presidential Library and Museum is separated into various main sections. There is his childhood and early years, and the years leading up to his presidency and when he was first sworn in as president. Also, you’ll find sections about World War II, the policies and laws passed during Truman’s presidency, and sections on the nuclear era and fight against communism. It was very interesting to see the line of questioning presented to those who were accused of either being a communist or friendly to communists or spies.
One very interesting area was focused on the construction at the White House that took place during Truman’s presidency. After some structural problems in the White House, Truman decided it needed an overhaul. The pictures of what the construction process looked like were very surprising. Many people didn’t know that it was quite as substantial as it was!
Other areas include Truman’s collection of cars throughout his life, and a replica of Truman’s Oval Office during his presidency. The attention to detail is amazing and shows the history of the time very well.
As we were a large group, we had a guide take us through. She had some very interesting information to offer. Although, I would advise staying close to the guide. It does get hard to hear them in the larger open spaces as they dont use microphones.
This is definitely a space that one could spend a good portion of the day touring. You’ll learn more than you ever thought you would and it is all kept very visually interesting throughout. There are entire walls showing film strips, very cool looking sets created from battlegrounds, and all kinds of things to see from that era.
The Grounds Outside of the Museum
What was surprising driving up towards the museum was how expansive the grass covered grounds are. It makes for a wonderful place to walk around. There is a replica of the Liberty Bell and a presidential time capsule that are very interesting.
Overall, there is so much here to see and do and learn at the Truman Presidential Library. It can easily be an all day excursion! And there’s no problem with that at all especially if you’re into history. It’s easy to get lost (in a good way) in this museum learning everything and I personally hope I get to go back soon to see more
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