August 31, 2016

The Educator’s Guide to Back to School at the Museum

Back to School blog header

by Ani Simmons, Education Program Coordinator, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

Teachers! Congrats on surviving the first week back to school with students! As a former teacher, I know this is always a great week of meeting new students and an exhausting week as you look ahead to the next 180 days of instruction.

Here at The Sixth Floor Museum, we have lots of resources to enhance your school year and hopefully, you’ll be able to take advantage of some of them.

Exhibits

In addition to our permanent exhibit, which tells the story of President Kennedy’s assassination and its impact, we have 2 special temporary exhibits this year that are certain to fit into your curriculum. Of course, you can book a school visit to the Museum at anytime.

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A Time For Greatness: The 1960 Kennedy Campaign, through November 13, 2016

It’s the final few months of our special election year exhibit about one of the closest elections in U.S. history, Kennedy’s victory over Richard Nixon in 1960. Don’t miss this in-depth look at what is often considered to be the first modern day presidential campaign—noted for being the first election to feature a televised debate, the first to include all 50 states and the first to elect a president born in the 20th century.

Check out our TEK-aligned education program and lesson plans available at JFK.org/ATimeForGreatness, and don’t forget to book your trip to visit the exhibit before it closes after Election Day!

Amending America: The Bill of Rights, A National Archives and Records Administration Traveling Exhibit, January 24 – March 16, 2017

This special spring exhibit marks the 225th Anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights. Students will learn about how the first 10 amendments came to be and how each amendment protects our citizens.

Amending America: The Bill of Rights was created by the National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. The national tour is presented in part by AT&T, History®, Seedlings Foundation, and the National Archives Foundation.

Stay tuned for public and education programs and pre/post-visit lesson information!

Core Education Programs

Did you know you can get more out of your visit to the Museum by adding a 50-minute in-depth program presented by the Museum‘s Educator and Curatorial staff? Programs are primary-source based and cover Texas standards related to critical thinking, primary sources and general social studies skills in grades 5-12. (National Standards can be found here.) Our Core Education Programs cover topics such as:

  • Civil rights
  • Elections and politics
  • The Space Race and the Cold War
  • Crime scene investigation and law enforcement
  • Oral histories

Most programs are available 3 ways: at the Museum, at your school or via distance learning (DL) and range in price from $50 to $125. Visit JFK.org/education to see detailed program information and book today!

Primary Source Research Opportunities

urlDo you have a student (or several) interested in being part of the National History Day competition in 2017? The theme, Taking a Stand in History, has lots of connection possibilities to The Sixth Floor Museum! Find out more by checking out our FREE research library, the Reading Room, and the topical resource guides that our librarian has created just for you and your students who are interested in several popular topics, including: Civil Rights, Cuba, Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, reporters, investigators and eyewitnesses to the Kennedy assassination and many more!

We offer teacher workshops mainly in the summer months; however, with special temporary exhibits we often offer teacher previews and workshops on the day before of the first day of the exhibit opening! Join our teacher email list and be the first to know about these special workshops and other special events throughout the year. Email education@jfk.org and ask to be put on the educator email list!

Teacher Exclusives

Did you know, as an educator, you can get discounted admission to the Museum with a valid educator ID? See President Kennedy’s story for just $8.50 year-round!

As a bonus, educators also get a 10% discount at the Museum Store+Café!

 

It is my pleasure to do what I can to make your job easier! Let me know how I can help! Please feel free to contact me at education@jfk.org or visit JFK.org/education anytime for more information about all we have to offer!

Have a great year and we’ll see you at the museum!

August 27, 2016

LBJ Day: A President Responds to Tragedy

by Krishna Shenoy, Librarian/Archivist, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

In the immediate aftermath of a national tragedy, the reaction of a president can set the tone for how a nation will heal and the magnitude of the scars that will remain. In the hours after the assassination of President Kennedy, that task was given to Lyndon B. Johnson.

Only two hours after the fatal shot, on Air Force One, Johnson took the oath of office with Mrs. Kennedy by his side. When the plane landed in Washington, D.C., his statement to the American people was brief: “This is a sad time for all people. We have suffered a loss that cannot be weighed. For me, it is a deep, personal tragedy. I know the world shares the sorrow that Mrs. Kennedy and her family bear. I will do my best; that is all I can do. I ask for your help…and God’s.” In his book Flawed Giant, historian Robert Dallek called Johnson a “master therapist, soothing the nation with sincerity and wisdom.”

The swearing in of Johnson on Air Force One on November 22, 1963. L-R: Judge Sarah T. Hughes, Jack Valenti, Congressman Albert Thomas (behind Mrs. Johnson), Lady Bird Johnson, President Lyndon B. Johnson, Jacqueline Kennedy, Lem Johns, Congressman Jack Brooks, Bill Moyers (in the back), Dr. Burkley Credit: Cecil Stoughton
The swearing in of Johnson on Air Force One on November 22, 1963. L-R: Judge Sarah T. Hughes, Jack Valenti, Congressman Albert Thomas (behind Mrs. Johnson), Lady Bird Johnson, President Lyndon B. Johnson, Jacqueline Kennedy, Lem Johns, Congressman Jack Brooks, Bill Moyers (in the back), Dr. Burkley
Credit: Cecil Stoughton

In Washington, Johnson found himself with the burden of moving a grieving nation forward. On November 23, 1963, (the day after the assassination) after viewing the fallen President’s body with other Congressional leaders, Johnson issued a proclamation declaring November 25, 1963, as a National Day of Mourning for President Kennedy. On that day, schools, businesses and government offices closed in observance. Many watched the funeral on television, while others followed Johnson’s call to attend memorial services. Johnson’s actions and words promoted feelings of continuity and unity.

President Lyndon B. Johnson speaks with Jacqueline Kennedy as Lady Bird Johnson, Rufus Youngblood, Robert Kennedy, and others look on. Credit: Abbie Rowe, National Park Service
President Lyndon B. Johnson speaks with Jacqueline Kennedy as Lady Bird Johnson, Rufus Youngblood, Robert Kennedy, and others look on.
Credit: Abbie Rowe, National Park Service

One week after the assassination, on November 29, Johnson issued an executive order appointing a commission (Warren Commission) to “evaluate all the facts and circumstances surrounding such assassination, including the subsequent violent death of the man charged with the assassination, and to report to me its findings and conclusions.” Johnson believed it essential to provide the nation with a convincing explanation of why and how Kennedy was killed. “A troubled, puzzled and outraged nation wanted to know the facts,” he wrote in his memoirs.

Members of the Warren Commission standing in Dealey Plaza at the corner of Elm and Houston streets, looking up at the sixth floor southeast corner window of the Texas School Book Depository building. Warren Commission members and staff include (left to right): Allen Dulles, unidentified, John Sherman Cooper, John McCloy, assistant counsel David Belin, Texas attorney general Waggoner Carr, and unidentified. Credit: Bill Winfrey Collection, The Dallas Morning News/The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
Members of the Warren Commission standing in Dealey Plaza at the corner of Elm and Houston streets, looking up at the sixth floor southeast corner window of the Texas School Book Depository building. 
Credit: Bill Winfrey Collection, The Dallas Morning News/The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

Ten months later in 1964, the Warren Commission submitted a report concluding that Oswald had acted alone and there was no evidence of a conspiracy. Johnson could not have predicted that despite his attempt to assuage the public with this investigation, the findings would ultimately exacerbate the nation’s wound and leave scars of suspicion and doubt in the minds of people for decades to come.

Written by American lawyer Mark Lane and published in 1996, this was the first mass-market publication to challenge the Warren Commission investigation.
Written by American lawyer Mark Lane and published in 1996, this was the first mass-market publication to challenge the Warren Commission investigation.

Visit the Museum’s Reading Room to learn more about the days following the assassination, Lyndon B. Johnson or any of the books mentioned.

August 19, 2016

New Acquisition: The Andy Hanson Collection

by Stephen Fagin, Curator, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

Hanson - Love Field 11-22
Andy Hanson Collection/The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

Dallas news and society photographer Andy Hanson was nothing short of a local legend. When he passed away in 2008, almost half a century into his local photographic career, Hanson was called “a beloved institution,” while The Dallas Morning News called his images “not just stills of moments in time, but rather…well-composed works of art.” As a longtime photographer with the Dallas Times Herald, Hanson covered perhaps the most important stories of his career, the Kennedy assassination and aftermath in Dallas.

Now, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is pleased to add the Kennedy-related images of Andy Hanson to its ever-growing Collection of photographs, films, and artifacts.

The Museum’s Andy Hanson Collection includes more than 450 original images covering the 1960 presidential campaign, the assassination weekend, and the Jack Ruby trial in 1964. These photos, including a number of rarely seen images, chronicle the local story with a poignancy rarely found in news photography. They also complement and enhance the Museum’s existing collections of Dallas Times Herald photography by providing exciting new perspectives from the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth, Dallas Love Field, the Times Herald newsroom, and other important locations that fateful weekend.

Andy Hanson (1932-2008) started his photojournalism career in the 1950s at the Houston Post before moving to the Dallas Times Herald in 1960. Although occasionally assigned feature, sports, and news photography, he was widely known as the paper’s primary society and party photographer. For the Kennedy visit in November 1963, Hanson was assigned to the Hotel Texas on the night of Thursday, November 21, to photograph the Kennedys’ arrival. Since he did not finish processing his Fort Worth images until the early hours of November 22, instead of a Dallas photo assignment, he managed the paper’s darkroom that day.

Andy Hanson Collection/The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
Andy Hanson Collection/The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

Upon learning of the assassination, Hanson rushed to Dallas Love Field in the hopes of photographing Air Force One. Unable to get close enough, he took a series of powerful images inside the terminal as shocked and saddened individuals purchased the first wave of newspapers. Back at the Herald, Hanson was the only photographer to capture the scene inside the newsroom as reporters and editors hurriedly went about their responsibilities. That night, at a Catholic Mass in Oak Cliff, he photographed nuns in prayer.  Few in Dallas captured the emotional impact of the assassination on film better than Andy Hanson.

Beyond November 22, 1963, Hanson photographed the Connally family at Parkland Hospital and physicians speaking to the press following the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald. He later photographed the gravesite of slain Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippit and covered part of the Jack Ruby trial. Some of his Ruby trial images appeared in the Saturday Evening Post.

Although he was capturing breaking news, largely for immediate publication in the Dallas Times Herald, Andy Hanson always photographed with an eye towards history. Today these unique images provide a timely and meaningful window into the past—exploring tragedy, its impact, and the painful aftermath in the local community.

The majority of the Museum’s collections are donated by generous supporters who want materials preserved for future generations. If you have films, photographs, documents or artifacts related to the story of President Kennedy’s assassination and its ongoing impact, email collections@jfk.org for more information.

August 4, 2016

Jackie Kennedy and Pat Nixon: The 1960 Campaign Wives’ Different Trails to the White House

by Lindsey Richardson, Curator of Collections, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

jackieandjack
Courtesy John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
patandrichard
Courtesy The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum (National Archives and Records Administration)

Jacqueline Kennedy and Pat Nixon both supported their husband’s campaigns to become President of the United States, but they did so in very different ways.

In early 1960, Jackie Kennedy discovered that she was pregnant. She had had difficulties in the past and her doctor recommended that she take it easy. Because of this, Jackie did not take to the campaign trail at her husband’s side very often, in fact less so as the year progressed.  Kennedy’s sisters accompanied him on the campaign trail in her stead.

Although she did not accompany him on campaign stops around the country, Jackie supported her husband’s campaign in other ways. She did cover stories for magazines such as Look or Life in the months leading up to the election, and in October 1960 she sat down for a number of television spots and commercials including an interview with leading pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock. Jackie also recorded the first American presidential campaign commercial in the Spanish language. It’s included in the video that accompanies our exhibit A Time for Greatness.

Perhaps Jackie’s greatest contribution and success as a partner to her husband during his presidential campaign was through her syndicated column “Campaign Wife” that ran weekly in newspapers across the country from September 17 to November 1, 1960. Using personal stories and her own perspective on campaign issues, Jackie wrote primarily for the audience of women who were interested in her role as the candidate’s wife. She addressed a wide variety of topics, including writing about her interest in education as a campaign issue, responding to remarks about her appearance, and encouraging voters to “Call for Kennedy” and to arrange debate-watching parties.

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza Collection
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza Collection

Pat Nixon was in many ways a younger version of the then-current First Lady, Mamie Eisenhower. She had a great deal of enthusiastic support from many women and girls, as demonstrated by the many versions of the pin to the right that proliferated during the campaign, and the vocal supporters who greeted her during campaign stops.

At the Republican National Convention in July, Richard Nixon promised that he would visit all 50 states before Election Day. This was the first federal election in which 50 states would vote – Alaska and Hawaii had both joined the union in 1959 – so this was a big promise for a candidate to make. He did visit all 50 states and Pat accompanied him.

Although Pat was accustomed to traveling with her husband – she had made many trips with Nixon during his Vice Presidential trips from 1952 to 1960 – she had already made her strategy of political campaigning clear to members of the press: “I don’t answer political questions.” She told an Associated Press reporter in 1960 that she liked to keep her role “strictly to handshaking and small talk.” She said she didn’t want to know any secrets of state: “I wouldn’t want the responsibility of knowing.”

Courtesy the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston
Courtesy the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

In the end, Kennedy very narrowly defeated Nixon, and Jackie Kennedy became First Lady. Eventually Pat Nixon also became First Lady and both women influenced public perception of the White House, their husbands’ presidencies, and popular opinions both of themselves and of their husbands.

Don’t forget to check out our full 1960 election exhibit, A Time For Greatness, on display until November 13 in our Seventh Floor Gallery. If you’re at the Museum this Friday, stick around for our Gallery Talk on the 1960s Campaign Wives at noon! It’s free with Museum admission or $5 for the talk and exhibit admission.

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