About This Lesson
The lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration files for the Harry S Truman National Historic Site (with photographs), materials from the Harry S Truman Presidential Library, and information from leading biographers. Randy Harmon, former Park Ranger at Harry S Truman National Historic Site, wrote Harry Truman and Independence, Missouri: "This is Where I Belong." Jean West, education consultant, and the Teaching with Historic Places staff edited the lesson. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into classrooms across the country.
Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: This lesson could be used in American history, social studies, or geography courses in a unit on Truman's presidency. It also could be incorporated in a study of the role of small towns in American society and how notable Americans are shaped by their early years.
Time period: 20th century
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12
Objectives for students
1) To examine Harry Truman's early years and determine how his upbringing influenced his character.
2) To explore Harry Truman's relationship with his family and neighbors in Independence before, during, and after the Presidency.
3) To trace Truman's political career from county judge to President and evaluate some of the decisions he made as a politician.
4) To consider the value of preserving buildings important to the history of our nation.
5) To locate and analyze historic buildings in their own community.
Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a smaller, low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger version.
1) two maps of Independence, Missouri and surrounding region;
2) four readings on Harry S Truman's life and career;
3) three photographs of the Truman house and historic district;
4) one drawing of Truman's neighborhood in Independence.
Visiting the site
The Harry S Truman National Historic Site is made up of two units--one located in Independence and the other in Grandview, Missouri. The Independence home is located at 219 North Delaware Street. Tickets can be purchased at the park visitor center at the corner of Truman Road and Main Street. The visitor center is open 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. except New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day. The Truman farm is located 1/2 mile west of Highway 71 on Blue Ridge Blvd. in Grandview. The farm home is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from the first Friday in May through the last Sunday in August. The grounds are open for visiting, using a self-guided brochure available onsite, seven days a week all year during daylight hours. For more information, contact the Superintendent, Harry S Truman National Historic Site, 223 North Main Street, Independence, MO 64050, or visit the park's Web site.