KEY WEST, Fla. — Behind-the-scenes tours of Florida’s only presidential museum, discussions of former President Harry S. Truman’s efforts to promote fire safety and historic preservation, and presentations by experts await attendees at the 17th annual Truman Legacy Symposium in Key West.
Set for Sunday and Monday, May 5-6, events are headquartered at the Little White House, 111 Front St., where Truman spent 11 working vacations during his 1945-1953 presidency. Now a museum noted for its historical authenticity, the Little White House has been meticulously restored to its Truman-era appearance and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The symposium begins at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 5, with a reception on the museum’s grounds. The evening’s keynote speaker is fire safety expert Jim Dalton, discussing Truman’s 1947 report on fire prevention as well as subsequent efforts.
Much of Monday’s session focuses on topics brought to light at Truman’s pivotal 1947 National Conference on Fire Prevention, organized in response to fires’ growing toll in lives, property and forest resources. The conclave’s goals included determining ways to intensify the work of fire prevention throughout the United States and encouraging individual states to take leadership in implementing prevention and protection measures.
The symposium is to start at 8:30 a.m. at Key West’s Old City Hall, 510 Greene St., with initial remarks from Chief Dennis Compton, chairman of the board of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, and Little White House executive director emeritus Robert Wolz.
Subsequent presentations explore topics including laws and law enforcement, organized public support, building construction and fire prevention education. Among the scheduled presenters are Chief Keith Bryant, U.S. Fire Administrator, in a panel on firefighting services; and author Clifton Truman Daniel, grandson of the former president, discussing White House preservation and fires.
Following a question-and-answer period with the featured presenters, the symposium is to conclude at 4 p.m.
Event information, prices and ticketing: trumanlittlewhitehouse.com or 305-294-9911
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
Author Clifton Truman Daniel, grandson of the former president, pictured in 2019 with President Gerald Ford's daughter, Susan Ford Bales.
President Truman relaxing on the Little White House lawns on December 15, 1949, with Clark Clifford, special counsel to the president. ( U.S. Navy/Harry S. Truman Library)