In the middle of our move, Amber and I took an hour to drop into Harry S Truman NHS, but we were stuck with the only time available - Sunday morning. Services were limited, and I inadvertently pulled the "I'm a ranger, what can you do for me," card to squeeze onto the tour that was just forming up a few blocks away.
We got to take a guided tour of Truman's house on Delaware Street, the only way you can see the inside of the house. As we entered the house and looked around, I got the feeling of an intense kind of intimacy with the family. There are no barriers, no ropes, just a refurbished carpet runway to adhere to, and it truly feels like one is being welcomed into their home. The kitchen is quaint and harks back to a time gone by, and the rest of the first floor of the house is elegant and refined without being pompous. The upstairs is not currently open to visitors.
There are some details that are monuments to Truman's frugality: ripped linoleum nailed back down, a super-long pull chain to turn on the light at the top of the stairs. Then there are hints of the man's greatness: gifts from royalty and huge portraits of the family. And there are reminders of his interests, a baby grand piano and mammoth bookshelves.
My favorite detail was Truman's hat and coat hanging from a hook in the alcove where he took the phone call telling him the Korean War was beginning. I went back for a second look.
Harry S Truman NHS is an interesting site and worth a look if you're in the Kansas City area. Find out more on www.nps.gov/hstr.