Truman Library temporarily closed due to COVID-19 case increase

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Echoes of last year’s lockdowns are already happening in the Kansas City metro.

The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum will close its doors once again due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in the area.

Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in Jackson County, Mo., the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum will close until further notice, effective today, July 26.

Truman Library Press Release

The library said that the current seven-day average for positive COVID-19 cases in the area exceed the CDC’s definition of “high transmission.”

The library, which just went through a $29 million renovation, had opened for the first time in two years on July 2. It had COVID protocols in place and required pre-purchased timed tickets to view the revamped space.

But now, instead of giving tours, they’re giving refunds because the National Archives and Records Administration said the new COVID-19 case count is too high locally.

NARA rules say if there are more than 99 cases per 10,000 people and a positivity rate more than 9.9% then facilities close.

“We’re seeing extremely high positivity rates for our area. We’re seeing increasing case numbers. We’re seeing increasing hospitalizations,” said Christina Heinen, the health and animal services director for Independence.

Heinen said Monday that the vaccination rate in Independence is near 40%. You can find more information on vaccination events in Independence here.

“We have been begging people to be vaccinated and return to wearing masks for a few weeks now,” Heinen said.

Now, the Truman statue’s golden smile doesn’t match the disappointment of the museum’s closure.

“It is very disappointing to close our doors so soon after our reopening, but this is an unfortunate precaution based on public safety,” Truman Library Director Kurt Graham said. “We’re hopeful that this setback is temporary.”

“We’re not surprised. We’re disappointed. We enjoyed visiting the Truman Library and we were all hoping to have that opportunity again but with the rising case numbers, it was a good call,” Heinen said.

For some people living in Independence, the news at the library is giving some people gut feelings.

“I think it was, me personally, I think it was too soon to start everything back opened up anyways. This was to be expected. The numbers weren’t quite down,” said Kim Fennix, who lives in Independence.

The library said they will re-open their doors once public health conditions improve. They will also be providing refunds for guests who have purchased tickets through Aug. 15.

“I don’t think it’s going to get any better. I think it’s going to get worse,” Fennix added. “It’s the vaccinated versus the unvaccinated. And kids are going back to school. And whatever they picked up from not being in school they’re bringing it back around to each other. So I just think it’s going to get worse.”

The decision from the NARA also will affect two other federal facilities: the Kansas City Archives and the Federal Records Center in Lee’s Summit.

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