Truman Library ~ Independence MO

Harry S. Truman is the only President I have seen in person… even if I was only 5 years old it counts!  When Roosevelt died, Truman as VP became President and ran against Dewey in ’48.  The political caravan was driving down University Ave. in Berkeley CA with Truman in a convertible…right in front of our house.  His election after this campaign was the upset of the century as all the polls said Mr. Dewey would win.   Despite this connection, I was not really expecting much from this “1950’s” Library.  Au contraire!

MO C at Truman

Not only did we see a 45 minute excellent film about Harry’s life with the narrative being spoken in short, terse sentences reminiscent of his speaking style, we also saw versions of Decisions that we first saw in G W Bush Library.  This indicated an update to the museum since the necessary technology was not available in the 50’s.  We had fun with the two different rooms since the day before TDay was like a private tour…our voting was just between the two of us!  Another reason we identified with this Library was the connection in time to our childhood… WWII dance music, clothes, TV shows, Life magazine display, etc.

Interaction with the visitor and the topic displayed was evident in many areas in the form of asking for written opinions as to the correctness of the atomic bomb on Japan, recognition of Israel, McCarthyism, Cold War and Korea.  This was a new device to us in visiting these libraries.  I also liked a written comment at the beginning of this visit about how the information presented was from one viewpoint…however, keep in mind that “History has many stories”!

MO J w Truman

One floor was devoted to Truman’s personal life including many exhibits of WWII machinery, clothes and armament.  Interesting fact is that Truman’s grandfather had slaves on his farm and years later his grandson (HST) signed an Executive Order on Civil Rights (no discrimination in federal employees) after Congress failed to ratify the legislation.

MO Truman ctyd flame

With Truman’s term ending in 1952, he spent the next 5 years fundraising, designing and having his Library and Museum built in his hometown of Independence.   Once completed, he spent time in his office in this complex of museum, library, meeting rooms and gift shop until 1966.  The American Veterans Flame of Freedom was presented to honor Truman’s peace efforts.  The courtyard is the resting place of President and Mrs. Truman and their only child and her husband.  I paid attention to the Truman’s daughter, Margaret, as she played a piano and reminded me of my Aunt Margrethe, who also played a piano.

And, of course, we saw the famous sign that sat on Truman’s desk in the Oval Office…The Buck Stops Here

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