JFK Library & Museum
Touring New England.org Visits The JFK Library & Museum
Exhibits and collection
The library’s first floor features a museum containing video monitors, family photographs, political memorabilia. Visitors to the museum begin their visit by watching a film narrated by President Kennedy in one of two cinemas that show an orientation film, and a third shows a documentary on the Cuban Missile Crisis.
There are seven permanent exhibits:
- Campaign Trail – Exhibit on the presidential campaign of 1960 and New Frontier, featuring 1960 Democratic National Convention memorabilia, and a replica of a Kennedy campaign office.
- The Briefing Room – Exhibit on Kennedy’s speeches and press conferences.
- The Space Race – Exhibit on the Space Race and the U.S. space program during Project Mercury; features the Mercury-Redstone 3 (Freedom 7) space capsule in which astronaut Alan B. Shepard became the first American in space. The capsule, which was displayed at the United States Naval Academy’s Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center from 1998 to 2012, came to the JFK Library in 2012, and will return to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
- Attorney General’s Office – Exhibit on Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, President Kennedy’s brother and closest political advisor. Features information on RFK’s role in fighting organized crime as chief counsel for the Senate McClellan Committee, and the Department of Justice’s role in the American Civil Rights Movement during RFK’s time as attorney general. The centerpiece of the exhibit are items that RFK had in his office at the Department of Justice Building. These include documents, personal items, and a bust of Winston Churchill by Leo Cherne.
- The Oval Office – Exhibit features information on the American Civil Rights Movement during the Kennedy presidency, items that Kennedy kept in the Oval Office, and a replica of the Resolute desk.
- First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy – Exhibit on the life of First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy; features footage of the First Lady and artifacts from her life, include several pieces of clothing.
- The Kennedy Family – This exhibit on the famous Kennedy family features a number of artifacts, including Kathleen Kennedy’s Red Cross uniform jacket, a commemorative cup, a blackthorn walking stick, and a replica of the Great Mace of Galway, Ireland.
Among the Library’s art collection is a 1962 portrait of Robert F. Kennedy by Lajos Markos, a watercolor sketch of John F. Kennedy by Jamie Wyeth, a watercolor painting of the White House painted by Jacqueline Kennedy and given as a gift to her husband, who had it hung in the Oval Office, a fingerpainting by Caroline Kennedy as a child, and a bust of John F. Kennedy sculpted by Felix de Weldon.
Kennedy’s 25-foot Wianno Senior sailboat Victura is on display on the grounds of the Library from May to October. Acquired by the family when Kennedy was 15, it played an important role in forging sibling bonds and, after the president’s death, continued being sailed by other members of the family, especially race-enthusiast brother Ted.
The Library has a variety of temporary and special exhibits.