The Truman Home at 219 N. Delaware St. is undergoing what Harry S. Truman National Historic Site officials are calling much needed improvements.

The Truman Home at 219 N. Delaware St. is undergoing what Harry S. Truman National Historic Site officials are calling much needed improvements.
Work is ongoing to upgrade the heating, ventilation and cooling and fire suppression systems, as well as plaster stabilization for the home’s historic wallpaper.
Carol J. Dage, museum curator for the United States Department of Interior’s National Park Service, said the construction and conservation project is part of the NPS’s Centennial Initiative.
The initiative is a plan to improve facilities and services in the NPS for the 100th anniversary of the agency celebrated in 2006.
“The HVAC units can’t keep up,” Dage said of the home’s heating and cooling system. She added the new fire suppression system, complete with a sprinkler system in the home, is a protective measure.
Thomas M. Edmondson of Heugh-Edmondson Conservation Services is doing the wallpaper conservation work. Edmondson is removing, repairing, cleaning and plans to re-install the historic wallpaper in the dining room and an upstairs bedroom, which have been compromised by underlying plaster failure.
“The plastered wallpaper has come down,” Dage said.
Edmondson said he plans to take the wallpaper to his studio in Kansas City and “clean ‘em up and get them all put back together.”
“The house has a physical life of its own,” said Edmondson, who has a 10-year working relationship with the NPS and the Truman Historic Site. “The wallpaper and other items represent (Harry and Bess Truman) and help tell the story of the Truman family.”
The Victorian mansion was built around 1867 by George Porterfield Gates, Bess Wallace Truman’s grandfather. Truman moved into the home when he married Bess in 1919.
The Trumans’ daughter, Margaret, was born in the house in 1924, and with the exception of time spent in Washington, D.C., during Truman’s term in the U.S. Senate and his presidency, the Trumans lived at the home for the remainder of their lives. The home became part of the National Park System in 1993.
Dage said regularly scheduled tours of the Truman Home will be offered as the wallpaper work is progressing.
“Our plan is to keep visitors coming as long as we can into the home,” Dage said.