A crucial piece of Eastern Jackson County’s history – “Order No. 11,” one of the most famous paintings by George Caleb Bingham – will be on display for two more weeks at the Truman Library in Independence.
1 A crucial piece of Eastern Jackson County’s history – “Order No. 11,” one of the most famous paintings by George Caleb Bingham – will be on display for two more weeks at the Truman Library in Independence. It depicts a Union general’s order on Aug. 25, 1863, at the height of the Civil War, that most rural residents in Jackson, Cass and Bates counties, and parts of Vernon County, leave their land. It disrupted lives, devastated the region’s economy for years and left a legacy of hard feelings.
2 The Truman Library had 34,660 general admission visitors and 7,000 students between early March, when the exhibit opened, and July 31. “It’s been a very, very successful exhibit. We’ve been very happy with it,” said Amy Williams, the library’s deputy director. She said library staff has noted in particular a lot of interest in the exhibit from metro-area visitors. This year is the bicentennial of Bingham’s birth, and there have been events in Independence and elsewhere in the state to commemorate that.
3 The exhibit, “Steamboats to Steam Engines: George Caleb Bingham’s Missouri, 1819-1879,” runs through Sept. 8. Library hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday (and through 9 p.m. Thursday), and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors 65 and older, $3 for children ages 6 to 15, free for children 5 years and under. The exhibit is free with admission. The library is at 500 U.S. 24 (U.S. 24 and Bess Truman Parkway).
4 The exhibit also includes other Bingham paintings as well as papers that describe the atmosphere – chiefly Confederate guerrilla William Quantrill’s infamous raid on Lawrence, Kan., killing almost 200 people – that led to “Order No. 11.” There’s even a brief video of Harry Truman talking about the Civil War. The original of “Order No. 11” is owned by the State Historical Society of Missouri, and this is the first time it’s left that group’s museum in Columbia, Mo., in more than 50 years.
5 Coming next: “The President’s Photographer,” a National Geographic exhibit from Oct. 21 to Jan. 22. This traveling exhibit includes 50 photographs of every president since Kennedy. The major exhibit in 2012 is of particular local interest: “The Truman & Wallace Families of Independence.” It will draw on the library’s memorabilia and correspondence from those families and will for the first time display newly released materials from Bess Truman and Margaret Truman Daniel. It opens March 9 and runs the rest of 2012.