Truman Library set to reopen Dec. 2 with limited hours

Mike Genet

The Truman Presidential Library & Museum in Independence will reopen next week, the library announced Monday. The National Archives Records & Administration closed the museum nearly four months ago due to a spike in area COVID-19 cases.  

The new visitors entrance to the Truman Library in Independence is on the east side, leading to an spacious and well-lit gallery that offers a view into the courtyard where Harry and Bess Truman are buried.

The library is to reopen Dec. 2. Initially it is to be open three days a week – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Timed-entry tickets will be required and can be purchased online at: trumanlibrary.gov/museum/hours.  

Tickets are $12 apiece, and under er federal policy visitors will be required to wear masks.  

The library first reopened with limited capacity July 2, after a closure of nearly two years for a $30 million renovation; that closure was extended in part by the pandemic. It closed again less than four weeks later due to high case rates.  

Library Director Kurt Graham said there’s no definite timetable as of now for opening beyond three days a week. 

“Some libraries aren't even as open,” he said. “We're just happy to be open. It's not really a strict measure, but there's stuff to work out and stuff to do.” 

The Truman Library is the last of the 13 presidential libraries under the NARA umbrella to reopen.  

While Jackson County remains an area of high community transmission of COVID-19, according to federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention measures, on Oct. 1, the National Archives introduced a reopening plan that allowed facilities even in high-transmission areas to reopen with limited staff and public capacity.  

Since mid-October, eight presidential libraries have reopened even as their counties were at that time designated by the CDC as areas of high or substantial transmission. That includes the Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kansas – the most recent reopening, Oct. 27. 

A couple of presidential libraries that first reopened before the Truman Library remained open while others had closed again. The Lincoln Museum & Library in Springfield, Illinois – not part of the NARA system – has remained open.