Harry S. Truman Museum to Reopen After $30 Million Renovation

After nearly two years of renovations, the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum is ready to reopen to the public.

The completely revamped museum will reopen on July 2 in Truman's hometown of Independence, Missouri, a suburb of Kansas City. This recent renovation is the most extensive in the museum's history since it opened in 1957 costing a total of $30 million.

Most Americans know Truman as the man who took office when Franklin Delano Roosevelt died only 82 days into his term. Within the first four months of his presidency, Truman was at the center of some of the most important decisions the U.S. made in the 20th century. Under his leadership, the U.S. country dropped nuclear bombs on Japan, Germany surrendered in World War II and the Potsdam conference made major geopolitical agreements, including the occupation of Germany and the drawing of the Soviet-Polish border.

"If you focus only on the bomb, you miss the heart of his legacy," Museum Director Kurt Graham told the Associated Press. "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."

During the renovation, the museum was practically stripped down to its bolts. All that visitors will see from the old days is a recreation of Truman's Oval Office, some artifacts, and a mural by Thomas Hart Benton.

The previous museum set-up focused mainly on Truman's time in office while all the information from his personal life was kept in the basement. The renovated layout now takes visitors through Truman's life from cradle to grave — almost literally. Truman is buried in the courtyard, alongside his wife Bess and their daughter and son-in-law.

Other galleries focus on moments like the Red Scare, desegregating the military and recognizing the state of Israel.

Admission to the museum is $12 for adults and free for children aged five and younger. Tickets must be purchased online in advance of visits. The museum will operate with restricted hours due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at caileyrizzo.com.

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