Sixth Floor Museum at Downtown, Dallas

6th Floor Museum

6th Floor Museum

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About the Museum (source – http://www.jfk.org/go/about ): The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is located on the sixth and seventh floors of an early 20th-century warehouse known in 1963 as the Texas School Book Depository. Opened on Presidents Day 1989, the Museum has since welcomed more than 6 million visitors from around the world—people of all ages seeking information and understanding about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Museum tours are self-guided.

I’ve been to several kinds of museums – art, painting, sculpture, folk, religious, archaeological, celebrity, popular figure, city glory etc. This  one stands apart beacause of its theme. Mind you, it isn’t JFK museum, but a Kennedy Presidency museum. Or more specifically, Kennedy assasination museum. This isn’t your run of the mill welcome-and-see-my-artifacts kind of museum you would usually find for famous people. 6th Floor musuem doesn’t try to show you too many things, it just sticks to its theme and that’s what makes it message delivery effective.

A little data now. Very young and Catholic, both factors went against him. With odds against his favor, JFK won in the presidential elections, albiet marginally. His children were first in last 50 years to live in White House. A fiery and sensible orator, Kennedy had huge approval ratings. Consequenty, he vowed to improve the conditions in US in 1960s – putting man on moon, taking unilateral peace decisions etc. In the 3rd year of his presidency, he started contemplating second term. To network and raise funds, he came to ‘Tour of Texas’ in 1963. His tour was to visit 5 places in texas – Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Fort Worth and Houston. Since he supported the Civil Rights movement, there was severe dissidence among several people. .

JFK

JFK

While Kennedy’s convoy was taking a hairpin turn, someone shot him from the 6th floor of this building. And the spot became the museum. The alleged assasin Lee Harvey Oswald, was nabbed soon. However, Lee was shot dead by a local businessman and Kennedy supporter. The murder pictures – both JFK’s and Lee’s and videos are exhibited. The exhibits relate to his presidency, murder, mourning and repercussions. There are well documented and presented material on memorable events of his presidency – Cuban Missile crisis, famous Ich bin ein Berliner speech at Berlin, Vietnam War, his efforts to end racial discrimination among the major ones.

Entrance fee is 14 USD, plus parking is 5 USD for a full day. There is an audio guide, in 7 languages, which will guide you to get maximum value out of this visit. You won’t need a human tour guide. I suggest take at least 2 and a half hours to read and watch everything the place has to offer.

At your exit, you would find a Memory Book where you can comment. At good museums, a visitors’ book is a common sight. You wouldn’t find it everywhere. The Memory Book asks you to write your memory of president Kennedy, his presidency, life, assasination or its aftermath. I read few comments and then penned mine – This well explains America’s, and world’s, fascination with JFK. And justifiably so. If the Museum authorities like your comment, they would publish them at their website. Let me see whether my comment appears there.

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