on August 22, 2006
What a special treat! Tonight we were the guests of a coalition of several convention and visitors’ bureaus hosting key client groups. Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, and Portland (Oregon) really rolled out the red carpet for nearly 200 association executive directors and meeting planners. With the museum closed to the public, it was very nice to explore and learn at our own pace.
Dedicated in 1979, this is one of the few Presidential Libraries in the USA administered by the US National Archives and Records Administration. Telling the story of the life and impact of our 35th President of the United States of America, this is probably one of the most visited sites in Boston and perhaps all of New England.
Your tour starts with a short film (approximately 20 minutes) that highlights John F. Kennedy’s childhood, US Navy service, and congressional and senate years. The film was very well done, using old family footage with Kennedy himself telling his story.
The self-guided walking tour takes you back to the beginning of JFK’s rise to the White House. There are many rooms and corridors that tell stories through actual documents, photos, and artifacts of an era long gone. There are several exhibits that include the clothing and jewelry of Jackie Kennedy. Visitors are also treated to an excerpt of Mrs. Kennedy’s televised 1962 White House Tour.
I really enjoyed watching the famous 1960 Nixon-Kennedy debate in an exhibit area that also included the actual CBS television studio set from Chicago where the debate took place. Nixon really did look old and tired as compared to the attractive and youthful JFK. Almost made you feel sorry for the guy sweating under the heat of the bright lights.
There are a couple of areas that include old TV footage of Walter Cronkite, including his call of the 1960s Presidential election and the announcement of Kennedy’s death on November 22, 1963. As a baby boomer who relates to that as the defining historical moment of my childhood, I was taken back to being that 6-year-old glued to the television in my family’s living room.
Additional exhibits areas include the Attorney General office of Robert Kennedy and stories of how John F. Kennedy’s legacy lives on through programs such as the exploration of space, Profiles in Courage, and the US Peace Corps. There is also a room highlighting the work of current Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts).
Perhaps one of the most human interest exhibit areas in the museum is the special exhibit on Kennedy’s 3-day trip to Ireland in spring of 1963. The letters, photographs, and newspaper articles tell a story of an American enjoying the exploration of his family heritage in a country far away from Massachusetts.
Open Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm. Admission is $10 for adults, with discounts for students and seniors. Additional information is available at www.jfklibrary.org.
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