Let me first start by saying there is a lot to do in the Kansas City area. We were here a couple of years ago for my cousins wedding and spent three full days touring the city. From world class museums to sporting events to shopping – there is plenty for the eager tourist to engage in.
But the one attraction we did not visit was the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum located just a short drive from downtown K.C. in Independence, Missouri. My parents took my siblings and I to the museum many years ago but something about my sister doing cartwheels down the hall, and my brother and I playing hide and seek under (and probably on) Truman’s piano cut our visit short. I was much more civilized on this visit.
|Harry meet Betsy|
Let’s face it, all the presidents have interesting information and historical events that they shaped but does the library engage the visitor and draw you in.
We started our visit with a 45-minute film about Truman’s life and presidency. The film was great but before we could delve into the walls of history before us at the museum, we had to eat lunch. I am much better at processing historical information when my stomach is full. So if you are ever in Independence, Missouri at lunch time head over to the Rheinlander Restaurant for delicious authentic German food. Why are there no food photos? Because we dove into those wursts, sauerkraut, and spaetzle before the camera could come out. Sorry!
|Truman was very involved in activities at the Presidential Library and Museum and occupied an office there until he died.|
The museum reminds the visitor that Truman held office during some very tumultuous times and made some decisions that are still questioned. Most notably, the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan.
He grew up poor, learning hard work on the family farm and developing Midwestern values. As a child he wanted to be a concert pianist but a poor country upbringing would see that did not happen. He never went to college and struggled with failed business ventures leaving him penniless at age 38. He thought of himself as a failure. He was determined to succeed at something in life and turned to politics. Suddenly, at the age of 60 he was president when he was sworn into office upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
For nearly eight years he guided the country through perilous times seeing the end of World War II; the formation of the United Nations, NATO and the Marshal Plan; the successful operation of the Berlin Airlift; the beginning of the Cold War; and the war in Korea. At times his popularity plummeted.
|Truman's presidency during the 50's saw many changes to American domestic life.|
|One exhibit hall displayed all the covers of Life Magazine during 1952.|
Our visit to Kansas City was quick but great. We enjoyed seeing my Aunt, Uncle, cousin and her family in the evenings and were glad to have the time to catch up and laugh. The time was too short in time but long in fun. Until next time…
|Betsy and I with my Aunt Phyllis and Uncle Jack (after eating delicious Zarda's BBQ)|
|Thanks to my uncle for sending us on our way with a bottle of his homemade wine.|