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The Little White House Key West - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Travelling

When visiting Key West Harry Trumans Little White House ( not to be confused with Roosevelts Little White House in Georgia) is well worth a couple of hours of your time.

Situated on Front Street the museum is close to the centre of Key West and easily accessible.

The house was built in 1890 and was originally part of the US Naval submarine base, serving as quarters for the base commandant and the paymaster. The property benefitted from views over the ocean until land in front of the building was filled in and eventually another building blocked the original view.

President Truman' s affiliation to the building came, when, following an exhausting first eighteen months of office he was ordered by his doctor to take a warm vacation. President Truman arrived in Key West in November 1946 and this was the first of eleven bi annual trips to the Little White House, called so not only because of its colour but also because as communications became easier it became not only a vacation home but a place from where The President could continue his presidential business.

Over the years the Little White House has been visited by other US presidents, for both official business and for leisure.

The Key West Naval base closed in 1974 and in 1991 it opened as a historic state site and museum, although from time to time it is still used for official meetings and as recently as 2005 President Bill Clinton and his wife Hilary Spent a leisurely weekend at the house.

The museum is open 365 days a year and tours take place approximately every 20 - 30 minutes throughout the day and advance reservations are not required. Tickets can be purchased from the museum shop or online and at the time of writing this article the online cost is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and $4. 50 for children aged 5 - 12, tickets purchased at the venue are slightly more expensive, but not a lot!

The only way to view the inside of the property is on an official tour, the guides are passionate and knowledgeable about their subject and are full of anecdotes and interesting pieces of information. Tales of dinner parties and card games are relayed and a short film illustrates visits by The President and his guests to the property.

There are rooms with original furnishings to be viewed and President Trumans writing desk with the sign, ' The buck stops here' and other personal artifacts on display.

The museum shop sells souvenirs themed on The Little White House and other aspects of US presidential history, the shop is open 9-5pm daily.

The museum is surrounded by botanical gardens and it is possible to take a self guided tour of the gardens from 7am - 6pm.

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