From Our Editors
In July 1957, former President Harry S. Truman took his first walk to the newly opened Harry S. Truman Library & Museum and took a seat in his private office. Here he wrote his memoirs; welcomed celebrities, statesmen and presidential hopefuls; trained the first museum docents; greeted schoolchildren; and recorded a welcome message for the Oval Office exhibit that continues to greet visitors. Visitors to the historic archives can see this private space and step into a nearly exact replica of the Oval Office—the construction of which Truman oversaw—as well as the original The Buck Stops Here sign.
Throughout the museum, exhibits feature some of the archives' 30,000 photographs, letters, political memorabilia, and Truman-family possessions. In the first room of The Presidential Years, visitors watch a short film on the president's early life and senatorial career. They then pass through rooms filled with artifacts and multimedia displays focused on global issues that Truman faced: the end of WWII, the formation of NATO, and the beginnings of the Cold War. Inside two interactive auditoriums, audiences step into the president's role and vote on many of the issues he faced, such as the 1948 election, Cold War spies, and whether to throw his next birthday party on an aircraft carrier. In Harry S. Truman: His Life and Times, children explore Truman's pre-presidential years and courtship with his wife through electronic driving games, historical quizzes, and a craft table where they can make their own campaign buttons. They can also inspect artifacts such as a WWI cannon and the president's 1940s car.
The exhibits also touch on and buttress the greater American story. Over the museum’s entryway sprawls Independence and the Opening of the West, a 495-square-foot town-history mural created by Missouri native Thomas Hart Benton. Members are invited to annual events such as the Presidential Wreath Laying Ceremony, Veterans Day Celebration, Members Night at the Museum, Bess's Tea and more. And members are always admitted free to monthly Talkin' Truman programs with the museum's curators and archivists.
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