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The Exhibit

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On Display March 10 - December 31, 2017

When the Trumans moved into the White House, they became aware of many flaws within the house. The shabby conditions were apparent, but soon the structural issues became undeniable: chandeliers shook, floors creaked, and Harry Truman joked that ghosts roamed the halls. After Margaret’s piano leg fell through the floor, the Trumans knew they had to take a closer look. Eventually it was determined that the White House was in serious danger of collapsing in on itself and something had to be done. In response, the president worked closely with Congress to create a group, the Commission on the Renovation of the Executive Mansion, which was responsible for the most noteworthy and politically complex home-improvement job in America.


The Truman Library is now presenting a 3,000-sq ft temporary exhibit to share the complex story of the White House renovation. In the exhibit, the 1,222-day, $5.7 million renovation, controversial project is displayed through many different sources such as quotes and artifacts. In addition, the exhibit features the photographs of Abbie Rowe, a National Park Service photographer assigned to the White House. Rowe’s exclusive access to the White House and the resulting photographs have provided an invaluable record of the time. Visitors to the museum will be able to view artifacts such as mantel pieces, souvenirs, and never-before-seen film footage.