The Harry S Truman National Historic Site is the Truman home located in Independence, Missouri. There are two locations for this national site: the house and a Visitor Center. You will want to visit both. It is free to visit the museum and to tour the home.
Did you know that after serving as President of the United States, Harry S. Truman left Washington and returned home, set to retire and forget life as a political figure? He actually thought that no one would be interested in him, and he could live a quiet life in the home he had grown up in. Of course, Harry and Bess Truman couldn’t quite disappear like that, but they did return to their beloved home in Independence, Missouri. That home is now a national historic site. It has been perfectly preserved just as Bess Truman left it when she died. You can visit the Truman home in Independence. Plan about an hour.
In order to get tickets to tour the home, start at the Visitor Center located at the intersection of Truman Road and Main Street, in Historic Fire Station No.1. There is a small museum there, including artifacts, a timeline of Truman’s life, and a short video. This is also where you can buy souvenirs in the small gift shop. And make sure to stop in the bathrooms because there are potty stories from Truman’s diaries posted in each loo that will give you a chuckle. We spent a little time doing the Junior Ranger program, and then headed up the hill for our tour. You can print the Junior Ranger at home if you’d like to get a head start before arriving.
There are actually two homes to visit. The smaller of the two belonged to Harry’s aunt, and you are allowed to take photos in the Noland home. This walk takes only about 15-30 minutes. There is information about Truman and Bess and the time they spent in Independence inside this home. After you’ve spent some time exploring the Noland house, you can start your tour at President Truman’s home.
On this tour, you’ll be in a very small group. We had just the five of us, and we followed the ranger through the house. This is because there are no ropes or rails, just the home, exactly as Mrs. Truman left it. You can see her 1982 calendar on the wall, which is the year she died. The only change made is the rugs laid down on top of the carpet to protect the original. No photos are allowed inside the home to help preserve it.
Our boys enjoyed the Truman home. It is a unique piece of history, and it is presented in a way that makes you feel as if you get to know the Trumans. If you find yourself in Independence, take a few hours and visit the Harry S Truman National Historic Site. Check the national park website for current hours and ticket times.