It's been two months since the Truman Presidential Library & Museum closed for an approximately year-long $25 million renovation, in which the main entrance will be moved to the east side and all permanent exhibits will be meshed together on the main level.
Most recently, construction crews have been removing concrete beams from the east side entrance to make way for an expanded area that will serve as the new main entrance, with an immediate view of the courtyard, including the gravesites of Harry and Bess Truman.
The library has been posting updates on social media. Employees finished moving artifacts and exhibit materials out of the museum last month, the last of which was the White House beam that cracked and spurred the massive renovation of the building starting in 1949.
The one artifact that could not be moved is the Thomas Hart Benton mural in what had been the main lobby. Workers installed plywood panels against a brace that separated them from the mural, to protect the mural from damage during all the renovation construction.
When the library re-opens, officials say, the mural will be the cornerstone of a gallery highlighting “Truman’s Independence,” focusing on the city he returned to and why it meant so much to Truman.
While the museum is closed, the Missouri Department of Transportation will replace the U.S. 24 bridge over Delaware Street in front of the library. Traffic will be directed onto the entrance and exit ramps during that time, and Delaware will be closed at the bridge.
The bridge, complete with pedestrian walkways underneath, should be ready in the spring, well before the library renovation is finished. MoDOT could begin work on the bridge next week.
A few more things to know:
• When library officials announced the closing date in June, the Truman Library Institute had already raised $23 million toward the planned $25 project. The institute has continued to raise funds, and local state legislators secured $3 million in the state budget for the renovation project.
• The Truman Home on Delaware Street, just a few blocks south of the library and operated by the National Park Service, remains open and now has free admission.
• The White House Decision Center, a popular hands-on history lab in the library, continues to operate throughout the renovation, with programming for student and college groups and adult teams taking place at the city of Independence's Truman Memorial Building, 416 W. Maple Ave.
• The research room remains open for researchers, as the renovation does not include it. The entrance is at the north end of the complex, and hours are 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday.