Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ending the War Against Japan - new White House Decision Center scenario at the Truman Library

Today I'm passing along an excellent experience for you and your students if you are able to visit Independence, Missouri and the Truman Library.

Truman Library educators have developed a new historical decision for students in 8th grade and up. They take on the role of President Truman or one of his advisors in the summer of 1945 as they explore the options available for ending the war with Japan. In this open-ended experience, students practice historical thinking as they read once top-secret documents which include the MAGIC/Ultra intercepted Japanese messages. They give President Truman advice on a course of action to take and several briefing speeches are delivered. Several hundred students have gone through this latest decision this semester and it has received high evaluations from teachers. Teachers may also choose from three other decisions for their students: the Berlin Airlift, opening days of the Korean War, or Truman's order to desegregate the military. The WHDC experience takes place in a specially built West Wing environment with eight advisory rooms and a press room.

To view a 7 minute video of a typical high school group going through a WHDC session go to the education page of our website, The WHDC minicurriculum contains 4 previsit modules, a 4 hour on-site experience and one postvisit module. The cost is $12.00 per student with a minimum group rate of $360.00 if the group is under 30 students. The WHDC can accommodate up to 64 students per day. Since its opening in the Fall of 2001 over 40,000 students and thousands of adults have taken part in this experiential activity.

While many days are already reserved for the 2009-2010 school year, below is a list of remaining open dates. Teachers would need to come to a training session to be introduced to the materials and activities. Contact me if you are interested and I will mail out a reservation form.

The White House Decision Center is also available for adult groups as a problem solving/team building experience. Civic groups, churches, the military, corporations, hospitals, university staffs, Elderhostels, etc. have attended sessions.

Open 2008 - 2009 dates:

September - all days open except for Sept 18th
October - 16, 21, 26, 29
November - 2, 5, 9
December. - 8, 9, 14, 17, 18-22
January - 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 19, 20, 22
February - 1, 2, 3, 5, 11, 12
March - all taken
April - 22
May - 10, 13, 14, and 27 onward

Tell me, I forgetShow me, I rememberInvolve me, I understand

Tom Heuertz
Associate Education Coordinator
Harry S. Truman Library and Museum
500 West US Highway 24
Independence, MO 64050-1798
Tel: 816-268-8241
1-800-833-1225 x88241
Fax: 816-268-8297

1 comment:

  1. It was so cool to read this post! We are actually going to be going through this town on our way to Seattle and like to stop at Presidential Libraries. Thanks for writing about this.