American Presidents

Harry S. Truman

The Truman Trunk Experience

The Truman Footlocker Project is a part of the Truman Presidential Library's educational program. The trunk contains reprints of several newspapers (1945-1948), campaign buttons, sheet music, tapes, photos, cartoons, hats, and other artifacts.

Each item in the trunk tells a story about some aspect of Truman's life. The trunk is a replica of the footlocker the president issued to Capt. Harry S. Truman during World War I.

This Lesson Plan was developed and implemented by Francis Bailey Wood, a teacher at St. Paul's Episcopal Day School in Kansas City, MO.

Grade Level: 7th Grade


  • To learn about the significance of artifacts in the Truman trunk.

  • To analyze and synthesize information from primary and secondary sources while researching an item from the Truman trunk.

  • To develop the use of the World Wide Web as a research tool.

  • To learn how to import images into a document using a digital camera, the Internet, and/or scanner.

  • To use creativity, imagination, and facts to write a speech taking on the character of a person who knew President Truman.

  • To demonstrate ability to use Standard Written English in a written speech.

  • To use expression and enthusiasm in an oral presentation to make a character "come alive."

    Students will research an artifact from the Truman trunk using the World Wide Web and other sources.

    Students will write and memorize a speech about the item, dress in costume, and present the speech to parents and other students.

    Students will type their speeches in computer class and add pictures of themselves with their articles using the digital camera. Students' work will become part of a "Truman Trunk Scrapbook" for the school library.

    Directions to Students:
    1. Research information on the article you have been assigned from the Truman Trunk using the World Wide Web and other sources. Become someone who knew Harry S. Truman. Are you his piano teacher, or Bess, or his brother Vivian? Write a speech from that person's point of view presenting interesting things about your article. Be sure to tell why your object was an important part of President Truman's life.

    2. The written speech should be 150-200 words and should take about one to two minutes to present. Be sure to proofread for grammar, mechanics, and content.

    3. In computer class, type your speech and create a picture of you and your object using the digital camera. Be sure to run spell check and proofread for other errors. You might want to scan in additional graphics that add information about your article.

    4. Dress in costume and present your speech to parents and another group of students. Be creative and dramatic! Make your speech exciting! You have one or two minutes to tell the audience about your article from the Truman Trunk.

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