The Truman Home (at the Harry S Truman National Historic Site in Independence, Mo.) has reopened for public tours after six months of renovation. New heating, ventilation, cooling and fire suppression systems were installed since October of 2009 when the home was closed. Extensive repair to historic plaster was also made during the renovation, and sections of original wallpaper were removed, cleaned, repaired and reinstalled. The projects represent the largest preservation effort at the site since the National Park Service acquired the property in 1983.
Known as the “Summer White House” during Truman’s presidency, the white Victorian house was the childhood home of Bess and her family. Harry lived there from their marriage in 1919 until his death in 1972. Bess lived in the home for 10 more years until her death in 1982.
According to Mike Ryan, chief of interpretation at the national historic site, “The home’s contents reflect the lifestyle of a “people’s president” who lived a long and surprisingly simple life.” Visitors can see the dishes Harry and Bess used on their breakfast nook in the modest kitchen, their books and music in their study and family pictures and knick-knacks on mantles and on the baby grand piano. Harry’s coats, hats and cane still hang in the front entry as they did during his lifetime.
The home is open by guided tour only, with a limit of eight people per tour. Tickets must be purchased at the Truman Home Visitors’ Center, located several blocks away at 223 N. Main Street. Tickets are $4 for adults; children 15 and under are free. Tickets may be purchased earlier in the day for later tour times and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
After touring the Truman Home, drive up Delaware for a stop at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, at 500 W. U.S. 24 Highway. Highlights of the presidential library include a reproduction scale model Oval Office, the Truman gravesite, interactive displays and exhibits, children’s activity stations, films and “decision” theaters, as well as the White House Decision Center for group activities. A special exhibit on the Korean War is on display through 2010.
Follow the Truman walking trail (map brochures available at the Truman Visitors Center), sample Harry’s favorite sundae at Clinton’s Ice Cream Parlor on the Square, (site of his first job) and drive by the Truman Depot, which was the scene of his arrival back home after his time in Washington, D.C.
Other city attractions include the Vaile Mansion, Bingham-Waggoner Estate, 1859 Jail and Marshal’s Home, National Frontier Trails Museum, Mormon heritage sites, the shops and restaurants on the Square surrounding the Historic Jackson County Truman Courthouse, the Puppetry Arts Institute (with a handmade Truman marionette) , Pioneer Trails Adventures covered wagon ride and Leila’s Hair Museum.
Campus RV Park is located in Independence and offers 30 full-hookup sites.
A complete list of attractions and calendar of events is available at visitindependence.com or by calling 800-748-7323.