John F. Kennedy Library

The John F. Kennedy Library, or the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, as it is officially known, offers wonderful insight into the life and times of the 35th US President. Helping convey Kennedy’s story are an assortment of photos, videos, sound recordings, and memorabilia. Housing all of the various exhibits is a building that was designed by the renowned architect, I.M. Pei. This building enjoys a waterfront location on Columbia Point in Boston. After visitors finish taking in all the various exhibits, they can admire wonderful views of the water and the Boston skyline from the museum’s spacious glass-enclosed pavilion.


History  Image: *clairity* (flickr)

The history of the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum begins in the early 1960s. In 1961, to be more exact, President John F. Kennedy contacted the Archivist of the United States and asked that he consult with White House staff and Harvard University representatives concerning the establishment of a Presidential library in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Subsequent to this, President Kennedy made the announcement that he would give his papers and memorabilia to the National Archives for a Presidential Library. This followed the precedent set by previous US Presidents beginning with Franklin D. Roosevelt. In October 1963, President Kennedy visited several locations that were offered by Harvard University as possible locations for the library and museum. He eventually settled on a plot of land next to the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. Just one month later, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. A month after this dark event, plans for the Kennedy Library started to take shape. It was decided that the center would become the only official national monument to JFK. Due to various setbacks, construction of the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum didn’t actually begin until 1977. Among the things that were cause for delay was the change of location. Instead of being built in Cambridge, the memorial would occupy a plot of land in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood. The library was completed and dedicated on October 20, 1979. The official address is 220 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston MA.

Exhibits & Collections

Exhibits & Collections
Exhibits & Collections  Image: basykes (flickr)

The John F. Kennedy Library and Museum houses more than just original papers and correspondence of the Kennedy Administration. Videos, including one that is narrated by JFK himself, figure among the various exhibits, as do a fascinating array of photos and an interesting collection of memorabilia. Seven permanent exhibits cover such things as JFK’s presidential campaign, the Space Race, and the Kennedy Family. Complementing the permanent exhibits are temporary shows and exhibits that help to keep things fresh for repeat visitors. As a side note, the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum is home to more than just archives and artifacts that relate to JFK and the Kennedy Family. Among other things, it also houses a collection of documents and belongings from the famous American writer, Ernest Hemingway. Included among the documents in this collection are hand-written drafts of "The Sun Also Rises." Of course, the main focus is on JFK and the larger than life persona that he embodied. Another John F. Kennedy Museum can be found on Cape Cod in what was the "Summer White House," the Kennedy compound in Hyannis.

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