After a $1.3 million construction project, the Truman working office is now open.
“The truth is all I want for history,” Harry S. Truman’s guiding principle for the presidential library and museum named in his honor, is carved into the exterior walls of the new limestone gallery inside the office that Truman frequently used after he left the White House in 1953.
A $1.3 million renovation to Truman’s Working Office to correct what had become a vexing problem for library officials includes the new limestone exhibit pavilion as well as a new heating and cooling system installed to help preserve contents of the Working Office.
The office reopened to the public May 8, said Clay Bauske, curator at Harry S. Truman Library & Museum.
“It’s been great,” Bauske said. “We’ve had a terrific reaction.”
The office closed in 2006 for preservation and restoration and for the construction of the new pavilion, which allows visitors unprecedented access to the office.
At a wreath laying ceremony to honor Truman earlier this month, Michael Devine, museum director, said the new pavilion also prevents natural sunlight from seeping through the office’s windows and damaging some of the treasured artifacts.
“We’ve addressed a number of long-standing issues,” Devine said. “Temperature and humidity controls needed to be established and the ultra violet light issues that were causing deterioration of the collection, that’s taken care of.”
Bauske added the new pavilion “makes for a better experience and a better view of the office. It provides a place that better allows visitors to interpret the office.”
The $1.3 million for the two-year project came from private sources and a national “Save America’s Treasures” grant, Bauske said, adding from the time the Truman Library opened in 1957 until his death, Truman worked at the office five to six days per week.
From the office, Bauske said, Truman met with several Presidents and other notable Americans. The office appears today just as it did when Truman died on Dec. 26, 1972.
“Truman worked at the office year-round, almost everyday during his post-Presidency years,” Bauske said. “From that office, he conducted most of his activities and met with a lot of different dignitaries there. It was like his regular office.”