It was the first presidential library to be created under the provisions of the 1955 Presidential Libraries Act and is administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. It was dedicated in July 1957 in a ceremony which included the Masonic Rites of Dedication; those attending included Herbert Hoover, Earl Warren, Eleanor Roosevelt, and William F. Knowland.
The president and his wife, Bess Truman, are buried in the courtyard of the Library. Their daughter, Margaret Truman, was on the board of directors, and upon her death in January 2008, Margaret Truman's ashes and those of her late husband, Clifton Daniel (who died in 2000), were interred there as well.
The museum includes an introductory film tribute to President Truman, which leads to the two floors of exhibits, including photos, film clips, news clippings, and memorabilia, covering Truman's life and career.
Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan gave his final speech as Secretary-General at the library, where he encouraged the United States to return to the multilateralist policies of Truman.