About the Trumans
Why is there no period after "S" in Truman's middle name?
In Truman's autobiography, he stated, "My Grandfather Truman's name was Anderson Shipp Truman and my Grandfather Young's name was Solomon Young, so I received the S for both of them." He once joked that the S was a name, not an initial, and it should not have a period. The park service does not use a period. However many official documents and his presidential library all use a period. Both are correct.
When was the Truman Home built?
What is now known as the Truman Home was built by Bess' grandfather, George Porterfield Gates, in 1867. Gates made his money as an owner in the prosperous flour mill in town. He enlarged the house, then known as the Gates Mansion, in 1885 at a cost of $8,000.
How could Truman be a "judge" if he did not graduate from Law School?
The position of Jackson County Judge held by Harry S Truman was an administrative position, rather than a judicial position, consequently there was no requirement that a Jackson County Judge have a law degree. The Jackson County Court exercised the corporate powers of the county.
Did the Trumans have any pets?
Yes, although only for short periods of time. In 1945, Postmaster General Robert Hannegan gave Margaret an Irish Setter puppy whom she named Mike. Mike spent the summer of 1945 in Independence. Margaret gave him away after a short period of time, saying that Mike often became sick because of the scraps staff members threw out for him. In 1947, the Truman family received a crate with a gift inside--a Cocker Spaniel puppy named Feller. The family gave Feller away to their personal physician.
About Visiting the Park
Why is the second floor closed to the public?
The second floor was closed to the public during the lifetime of Margaret Truman per wishes of the family. Today, the second floor remains closed to the public for preservation and accessibility issues, and as of this time there are no current plans to open the second floor to the public.
Why can't we just take a self guided tour?
To ensure the protection and preservation of the Truman Home, it is accessible to the public by guided tour only. These tours are limited to 8 people tour due to the size of the rooms in the Truman Home. The guided tours allow for a more personal experience while visiting the Truman Home.
Why can't we take photographs in the home?
Photographs are not allowed in the Truman Home in order to protect and preserve the artifacts in the home. The flash is potentially damaging to these artifacts due to the cumulative effect of the light exposure. Additionally, with limited space available along the tour route, the potential for bumping into the artifacts and damaging them is great, so preventing video and photography in the Truman Home altogether will help us protect the artifacts.
How can I conduct research using the Truman Home collection?
We welcome research requests about the collection housed at Harry S Truman NHS. The museum collection includes furnishings and personal possessions of Harry S Truman (1884-1972), 33rd President of the United States, and his wife Bess Wallace Truman (1885-1982). Much of the collection remains inside in the Truman Home, a 14-room Victorian style house built in 1867 and enlarged in 1885 by Bess Truman's maternal grandfather, and known as the "Summer White House" from 1945-1952. Please contact the Curator for more information at (816) 254-2720.