INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (WDAF) – The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum reopens to the public Friday, July 2 after a massive $29 million renovation, with hours and visitor numbers initially restricted because of pandemic regulations.
The project took two years to complete. The museum closed in 2019 to allow crews to build a new museum entrance and permanent exhibition.
This is the largest renovation at the museum since it opened in 1957. The project includes a sparkling new entrance; many more artifacts, photographs, videos and films; and exhibits that encourage visitors to touch and interact with displays.
One solemn gallery showcases Truman’s first four months in office, some of the most consequential months in U.S. history. Germany surrendered, the U.S. dropped nuclear bombs on Japan to end World War II, and world leaders at the Potsdam conference determined the makeup of the postwar world.
Nearly everyone knows Truman dropped the bombs, but his legacy was formed in the next 7 1/2 years of his presidency, when he set out to win the peace and put the world back together, said Museum Director Kurt Graham.
“If you focus only on the bomb, you miss the heart of his legacy. My job isn’t to say he got everything right, but I think it’s important for people, especially young people, to realize that Harry Truman had more influence on the world they have inherited than most other U.S. presidents,” he said.
The museum houses all kinds of memorabilia from Truman’s campaign in 1948, and also historic obstacles the world faced during that time. President Truman’s grandson, Clifton Truman Daniel even narrated a video about his famous whistle-stop tour.
Crews are still working on a replica of Truman’s Oval Office. That’s expected to open later this year at the museum. The upgrades at the museum are being completed in celebration of the 75th anniversary of Truman’s presidency.
The museum is open from Wednesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are needed and will be timed. Click here to buy tickets.