White House Decision Center Community Session – “Ending the War in Japan”
Saturday, October 20 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
World War II themed museum tour at 10 a.m.
White House Decision Center simulation from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Picture this: It is May 1945. The United States and its allies defeated Hitler and Mussolini in Europe, but the war in the Pacific rages on. President Truman, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other key advisors are vigorously debating how to end the war with Japan quickly and with as few casualties as possible. Should the U.S. remove or maintain the unconditional surrender term? Is the blockade, a land invasion, or a combination of the two the best way to end the war? Should atomic weapons, a new tool in the U.S. military arsenal, be used? Gather your advisors and review the most recent intelligence.
The decision is yours.
Welcome to the White House Decision Center. Usually reserved for student groups and corporate teambuilding retreats, this nationally-acclaimed “ropes course for the mind” is opening for members of the community to test their presidential mettle on Saturday, October 20. Set in a recreated West Wing, participants step into the roles of President Truman and his advisors to tackle some of the greatest challenges faced by any world leader. Nearly 90,000 students and adults have engaged in this intellectual exercise and left saying things like, “The program is unbelievable!” and “The history is truly ‘hands on.’”
Join us for a brief museum tour focused on World War II followed by a special community session of the White House Decision Center simulation. Ages 15 and up are invited to this program that is free for Truman Library Institute members or included with museum admission for non-members. Snacks and beverages are included, but limited space is available so secure your spot on President Truman’s cabinet today.
Arthur Vandenberg: The Man in the Middle of the American Century
6:00 p.m. Reception, 6:30 p.m. Program
Harry S. Truman Library and Museum
Senator Arthur Vandenberg was a key force who led the Republican Party from a foreign policy of isolationism to one of internationalism in support of the Cold War, the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan and NATO — yet many are not aware of this senator’s legacy. Senator Vandenberg evolved from a young politician drawn toward isolationism to become an important proponent of internationalism and many of the foreign policies that defined Truman’s administration.
To learn more about this important leader and his interesting relationship with President Truman, join the Truman Library for a free public program featuring Hendrik Meijer, author of Arthur Vandenberg: The Man in the Middle of the American Century. Meijer is executive chairman of Meijer, Inc., and formerly worked as a reporter and editor. He is author of a biography of his grandfather, Thrifty Years: The Life of Hendrik Meijer and the executive producer of the documentary America’s Senator: The Unexpected Odyssey of Arthur Vandenberg. In his latest book, Meijer tells the captivating story of how Senator Vandenberg rose out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, to become the model of a consensus builder.
Join us on United Nations Day — October 24 — as we learn more about a senator who was a key early proponent of the United Nations. The program will be preceded by a reception and followed by a book signing, with copies of Arthur Vandenberg available in the museum gift store. This program is free to attend but RSVPs are requested.
The 2018 Bennett Forum on the Presidency
6 p.m., Unity Temple on the Plaza, Kansas City, Mo.
Our nation has weathered crises since its inception, and presidents have successfully utilized a variety of different leadership styles and decision-making strategies to successfully navigate through times of war, domestic turbulence and conflict for nearly 250 years. Presidential power has ebbed and flowed through each of these conflicts and continues to evolve today, especially in what many consider to be an unprecedented time.
Please join us for a captivating discussion focused on presidential power in times of crisis featuring presidential historian Michael Beschloss, The New Yorker‘s Jane Mayer and The Washington Post‘s David Von Drehle at the 12th Annual Bennett Forum on the Presidency.
Tickets for Truman Library Institute members gain access to up to four tickets each thanks to their membership. General admission tickets for the Bennett Forum cost $10. Tickets to this popular event have sold out frequently in recent years, so plan to buy your ticket well in advance.
BECOME A MEMBER today to gain access to free tickets.
A Nation Forged by Crisis
6 p.m. Reception, 6:30 p.m. Program
Harry S. Truman Library and Museum
From the American Revolution to the Civil War, to the Great Depression and two world wars, crisis after crisis has shaped and defined our nation. Looking back on these conflicts and studying this history is the only way to understand our past and prepare for our unpredictable future, argues author Jay Sexton in his latest book, A Nation Forged by Crisis: A New American History.
Sexton is the Kinder Institute Chair in Constitutional Democracy at the University of Missouri and emeritus fellow at Corpus Christi College, Oxford University. Early in his career, Sexton served as an intern at the Truman Library, and some two decades later he is back as a featured guest speaker. Sexton is also the author of Debtor Diplomacy: Finance and American Foreign Relations in the Civil War Era, 1837-1873 and The Monroe Doctrine: Empire and Nation in Nineteenth-Century America.
Sexton’s program will analyze our nation’s story through global conflicts and crises, with a special emphasis on the tumultuous period during Harry Truman’s presidency. Sexton will also provide a non-partisan analysis of how changes in power relations and the international economy have affected the United States in recent years and how it will impact our nation’s trajectory going forward.
The program will be preceded by a free wine reception and followed by a book-signing, with copies of A Nation Forged by Crisis available in the Museum Store. This public program is free, but RSVPs are requested.
This program is presented in partnership with the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, the Truman Library Institute and the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy.
7th Annual Ike Skelton Veterans Day Salute
Harry S. Truman Library and Museum
11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, World War I ended. On the 100th anniversary of this landmark event in our history, the National Park Service, City of Independence, Truman Library Institute, and the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum will host a moving tribute to America’s veterans at the 7th Annual Ike Skelton Salute to Veterans.
The Museum is open free of charge to everyone in honor of our veterans from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., and the day will be filled with patriotic activities including a ceremony featuring Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Tim White followed immediately by a presidential salute and wreath-laying at the Truman gravesite in the courtyard.
The afternoon will be filled with fun activities for the community: The Spirit of Independence Band will play a slate of patriotic songs, craft activity tables will be set up to write letters to members of the military currently serving abroad, and The Grateful Americans Entertainment Troupe will perform for museum visitors. At 2 p.m. the Library will host a panel discussion titled, “Boots on the Ground: The Evolving Role of the American Military,” moderated by Rob Hughes, KMBC Anchor who also serves as an infantry battalion staff officer in the Army National Guard, and featuring veterans and active duty soldiers from recent deployments. Finally, Part Three of the film “The Great War” will be shown in the Theater at 5 p.m.
This event is free, and RSVPs are not required.
Ongoing Programs & Exhibits
Feature Film: Harry S. Truman: 1884-1972
Narrated by David McCullough, this 45-minute film by Academy Award winner Charles Guggenheim examines Truman's life, from his humble birth in Lamar, Missouri, to the courtship of his wife, Bess Wallace, his service in World War I, his entry into local politics under "Boss" Tom Pendergast, his election to the U.S. Senate, and his rise to the Presidency.
Daily Show Times: Hourly from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
White Glove Wednesdays
Harry S. Truman Library and Museum | Museum Lobby
Get up close and personal with rarely viewed artifacts from the Truman Collection every Wednesday at 11 a.m., May through September.
The new temporary exhibit will open in March 2018.Learn More
Permanent Exhibitions and Attractions:
Harry S. Truman: The Presidential Years
Harry S. Truman: Life and Times
Truman's Working Office
Oval Office Replica
Truman Grave Site
Museum Store (no admission charged)
Liberty Bell Replica
The White House Decision Center
Set in a recreated West Wing, The WHDC offers stellar corporate team building events and hands-on history sessions for student groups.Learn More