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Examiner
  • 5 Things to Know: Visiting museums, estates on National Museum Day

  • If there is a museum (or five) in Independence that you’ve been wanting to visit, Saturday is the day to go.

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  • If there is a museum (or five) in Independence that you’ve been wanting to visit, Saturday is the day to go.
    Sept. 29 marks National Museum Day, from Smithsonian Magazine. A ticket provides free admission for one person, plus a guest, at participating museums.
    For those who’ve seen what Independence has to offer, Kansas City’s participating sites include the American Jazz Museum, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial and the Toy and Miniature Museum.
    Visit www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday/ for more information, including the ticket download. Here is a quick glance at the five participating sites in Independence:
    1. Truman Library & Museum, 500 W. U.S. 24
    If you’ve lived in Independence for more than, let’s say, 15 minutes, this is a must-see museum. Now in its 55th year, the Library and Museum is one of 13 presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.
    Ongoing exhibits include “Truman: The Presidential Years” and “Harry S. Truman: His Life and Times.” Through Dec. 31, attendees may view “Tracing the Trumans: An American Story,” which traces the Truman and Wallace families throughout their more than 150 years in the Independence area.
    The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Total savings: Up to $8 per adult ticket.
     
    2. Vaile Mansion, 1500 N. Liberty St.
    Houses just aren’t built like this one anymore, are they? Col. and Mrs. Harvey Vaile built the 31-room mansion in 1881.
    In his Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Truman,” historian and author David McCullough said the following of the Vaile Mansion: “The Vaile house on North Liberty, the showiest house in Independence, was a towering stone-trimmed, red brick Victorian wedding cake, with thirty-one rooms and Carrara marble fireplaces. The Vaile stable had mahogany paneled stalls. There was a greenhouse and four full time gardeners. If Harvey Vaile, who made his money in ‘pure water’ and contract mail delivery, was not the richest man in town, he certainly lived as though he were.”
    The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Total savings: Up to $6 per adult ticket.
    3. Bingham-Waggoner Estate, 313 W. Pacific Ave.
    Built 150 years ago, American artist George Caleb Bingham once owned the estate before the Waggoner family (founders of the Waggoner-Gates Mill) called it home from 1879 through 1976.
    A majority of the furnishings and accessories are original to the home, but the features of the estate aren’t just confined within walls – certified wagon ruts from the westward trails also are visible on the south side of the estate.
    Bingham-Waggoner is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Total savings: Up to $6 per adult ticket.
    Page 2 of 2 - 4. National Frontier Trails Museum, 318 W. Pacific Ave.
    After touring the Bingham-Waggoner Estate, cross the street to this museum, interpretative center and research library. Pioneer narratives, large murals, films and other exhibits tell the stories of the Santa Fe, California and Oregon trails, which all have a significant background in Independence.
    The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Total savings: Up to $6 per adult ticket.
    5. Puppetry Arts Institute, 11025 E. Winner Road
    The museum includes the art and marionettes of Robert Leroy Smith, Hazelle puppets and memorabilia, a toy theater exhibit and puppets from around the world. Through July 31, 2013, attendees can view the “Pinocchio Time!” display, which is an assortment of hand puppets, marionettes, figurines and other Pinocchio-related items from around the world.
    The institute is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Total savings: Up to $3 per adult ticket.
     
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