Government Shutdown Closes Truman Library And Museum | KCUR

Government Shutdown Closes Truman Library And Museum

Oct 1, 2013

The Harry S. Truman Museum and Library is closed today.
Credit Edward Stojakovic /

There are an estimated 27,500 federal employees in the Kansas City metropolitan area. And Tuesday, with the shutdown of the federal government, some of those workers are furloughed.

Michael Devine, the director of the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence, Mo., was at work Tuesday morning with other staffers, shutting down the facility. This included changing outgoing email and voice messages.

"In some cases, we're notifying tour groups and school groups that had scheduled visits for the next few days that we're unlikely to be open, or reopen, that soon," says Devine. "We're also giving notices of furlough and related documents of unemployment compensation."

The 13 presidential libraries operated by the National Archives and Records Administration, including the Truman Library and Museum and the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kan., are closed.

Devine says about 80 people staff the building, but only one "essential" federal employee would remain during the government shutdown.

"In addition to federal employees, we have maintenance, grounds keeping, housekeeping, security. And they were all be affected in one way or the other. These are all contract employees," says Devine. "But we will have some security and maintenance, just keeping the building in shape for when we do reopen."

Devine says they've been bracing for the shutdown for the past week, working with the National Archives on a contingency plan. But he's concerned about employees getting reimbursed for the mandatory time off.

"Whether or not federal employees, contractors, contract employees, will be compensated, it's unknown," he says. "The economic impact on individuals and their families, as well as the Kansas City region, where we have quite a few federal employees, it could be pretty serious."