The museum is small, human sized, and can be fully enjoyed in an afternoon or morning. Don't cut yourself too short on time - there is a lot to see here.
At the entrance to the museum, pick up a booklet titled "A Great Big Treasure Chest?". This pamphlet is decorated with drawings made by Jackie Kennedy, then Jackie Bouvier, with her sister Lee. The drawings were made in 1951, as a thank you present to their parents after a trip to Europe.
This booklet points out 12 items for you to find as you go through the museum. This treasure hunt gives shape to your exploration, and helps to point out some items you might miss otherwise. One of these treasures is a letter that a 10 year old JFK wrote to his father asking for a raise in his allowance.
There is a short film prior to entrance to the museum, and it is worth watching. Once inside the museum proper, there is a real attempt to recreate the atmosphere of the '50's and '60's - the time when Kennedy was most politically active.
Video plays an important part in this experience. One exhibit has the TV studio set from the famous Nixon-Kennedy debate. A video tape of the debate runs as well, so you can see what all the fuss was about. There is a special theatre dedicated to showing a film about the Cuban missile crisis.
Jackie Kennedy rates several exhibits of her own, and there is a recreation of Robert Kennedy's office, down to replicas of his kids' drawings on the wall.
Some of the items in the Kennedy Museum are truly phenomenal, partly for their historical
significance, but also for their sheer uniqueness: a tea set from Nikita Krushchev, an elephant tusk from Nigeria, the Bible used in JFK's inauguration.
If you remember where you were when you heard that Kennedy was shot, you owe it to yourself to visit here. If you are too young to remember the assassination, come here to give yourself some perspective on why boomers are the way they are.
Warning: Boston is undergoing a major construction project called the Big Dig, and it is expected to last until 2004. (To find out more, go to bigdig.) Traffic tie ups are legendary, and streets are rerouted regularly. DO NOT DRIVE in Boston if you can avoid it. You can get to the Kennedy Library and Museum by taking public transit, called the T. The T is cheap, safe, and convenient. The Kennedy Library is on the Red Line - get off at the JFK Library - UMass stop.
To find out more about the Museum go to jfklibrary.org.)
Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
August 22, 2006
From journal Boston - A Great Convention City
by TRAVELPRO guide
May 29, 2003
We saw Jackie’s wedding dress being assembled into a new exhibit. Since her death, the Kennedy family has donated many personal items to the museum from her estate.
From journal Touring HISTORIC BOSTON
by Foxboro Marmot
July 8, 2002
Sorry. Been watching too much X-Files.
After the film, visitors pass through exhibits covering the campaign and the President's 1000 days in office. There's a lot of video, but the best is from the Kennedy-Nixon debates. While Kennedy comes across as a dynamic presence, notice how Nixon comes across as suspect, particularly in reaction shots as Kennedy is speaking. Nixon faces forward while his eyes slide over to steal sidelong glances of his competitor.
The world was a dangerous place in 1960. Laos, Viet Nam and Berlin were all hot spots, but the Soviet effort to place missiles in Cuba brought the superpowers to the brink of war in October 1962. At home, Kennedy mobilized federal resources to insure civil rights we take for granted today were available to all. Exhibits on the Peace Corps and the space program are included.
There's little on the former First Lady. One disappointed visitor was overhead to say ?They only have TWO of Jackie's dresses? and they're BOTH BEIGE!?
The museum comes across as Smithsonian-like, a sanitized view of Kennedy and his presidency. It studiously avoids any controversy that might reflect poorly on the family. The Kennedy assassination is addressed obliquely by a darkened corridor with television monitors playing scenes from news broadcasts and the funeral.
There's an odd feeling when you stroll through a museum and stop to look at a preserved Time magazine protected under glass... and realize you read it when it first came out. And that's my problem with the Kennedy Library and Museum. People of a certain age will walk through the exhibits, nodding sagely, thinking "Cuba, yep... Peace Corps, yep... Attorney General Bobby, yep...." Locals, who've been inundated with Kennedy political campaigns have their own checklist, "Aunt Gladys had one of those 'Kennedy for Senate' signs on her lawn...." Younger people, say those under 45, can get some insight into a truly turbulent time in American history.
From journal Boston Bests
March 31, 2002
From journal "Boston, My Boston"