Work on the extensive renovation of the Truman Library in Independence has already begun, but dignitaries gathered on the library’s front steps Thursday for an official groundbreaking.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson lauded the 33rd president’s values, which came from his Missouri upbringing, and said the library remains vital “because this is really who we are, and we get to showcase this.”

The museum has been closed since July and is expected to reopen perhaps by late summer or early fall of next year. Visitors will have a new museum experience in a larger space, and the library says it will be able to tell some parts of the Truman story in more depth.

A Truman grandson, Clifton Truman Daniel, was among those who stressed that Truman wanted a library – now 62 years old – not as a monument to himself.

“He didn’t want statues. He wanted a place where people could learn,” Daniel said.

LIbrary Director Kurt Graham added, “I think Truman would be mortified to know the degree to which we are talking about him.”

But, Graham said, there is another side to this, that the Truman story remains instructive for the country yet today.

“This is about us,” he said. “This is about our republic. We need to remind ourselves that leadership matters.”