Opening March 10 at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri:

Heroes or Corpses: Captain Truman in World War I

Harry Truman was the only American President to serve in combat in World War I. As the captain of an artillery battery of about 200 men, he took fire from German forces in eastern France during the closing months of the war. This exhibition follows Truman’s personal journey through months of training and combat. The story is told largely in his own words penned in letters to his fiancee Bess Wallace, in diary entries, and in later recollections.

In addition to original letters and documents, the exhibition will feature nearly three dozen items from Truman’s own combat gear, as well as materials from other men who served with Truman during the war and went on to play significant roles in his personal life and political career. While focusing on Truman’s own journey, the exhibition is set against the background of the war itself and will feature a number of important original items from the war, including a ship’s manifest from the RMS Lusitania, the Zimmermann telegram, and a ceremonial copy of the Versailles Treaty.

This exhibition, which runs March 10 – December 31, 2018, is included in the museum admission price.

Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.