National Archives News

Sneak Peek: The Truman Library, Reimagined and Redesigned

By Victoria Macchi | National Archives News

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The new "Loyalty Oath" interactive exhibit is part of a $26 million renovation at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri. (Courtesy Truman Library)

WASHINGTON, December 16, 2020—Although the doors of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum are closed to the public during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Missouri facility revealed major updates recently in two virtual Sneak Peek tours.

The $26 million project began in July 2019. Updates include a 3,000-square-foot addition and restructuring the museum for a "circular" experience, which meant redesigning the entire space to move visitors through Truman’s administration while keeping them on one floor.

It also involved rethinking exhibits that were last updated decades ago, and catering to different kinds of learners.

"We have learned a lot about Harry Truman in the last 20 years. We also know a lot more about how museums connect with visitors. This is more than a museum refresh. It represents a comprehensive rethinking and a total reimagination of the legacy of our 33rd President," said Kurt Graham, Director of the Truman Library.

View additional video updates, including interactive exhibits of the Berlin Airlift and the Whistle Stop Campaign, as well as news about the Oval Office at the library

With construction completed, exhibit installers are working to finish major overhauls to how Truman’s legacy is displayed. In addition to interactive components, like a field gun simulation with Truman's voice advising museum-goers, staff focused on incorporating a more holistic perspective of major events.

An exhibit about the atomic bomb, for example, is more inclusive of the "American and the Japanese perspective, presenting different historians’ quotes and opinions whether it was necessary or not," said Cassie Pikarsky, Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Truman Library Institute, who led the first online tour on December 7.

Renovations will be completed in early 2021, and the facility will reopen when the National Archives deems it safe and appropriate.

Stay informed as the project continues by checking the Truman Library Renovation Timeline or by following the library on Facebook and Twitter.

Updates on the status of National Archives facilities across the country, are available online:

Find more events from the Truman Library, including "Home For The Holidays with the Trumans" on December 17, as well as programs across the National Archives sites.