Frequently Asked Questions

About the Museum

These are the questions most commonly asked of The Sixth Floor Museum. Don't see your question here? E-mail us at jfk@jfk.org.


General

Q: Are the tour guides, salespeople and other vendors in Dealey Plaza employed by the Museum?
Dealey Plaza is a city property, owned and maintained by the City of Dallas. Sixth Floor Museum Staff are not present in the plaza or adjacent properties, and the Museum is not associated with vendors present in or around Dealey Plaza. The Museum does offer a self-guided cell phone tour of Dealey Plaza and related surrounding historical sites, including the nearby John F. Kennedy Memorial. The tour can be purchased in the Museum Store + Café or Visitors Center.
Q: Who owns the Museum?
The Museum is owned and operated by the Dallas County Historical Foundation, a private, nonprofit organization.
Q: How do I obtain permission to reproduce and use text, images, audio or video clips, or other content on this Web site or from the collections of the Museum?
Permission to reproduce content from this Web site or from the Museum’s collection must be obtained in writing from the Museum. Requests to reproduce material may be submitted online using the Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Please refer to the Web site Terms of Use for more information on linking and other uses allowed under fair use.
Q: Has the content of the exhibition changed as new information on the assassination is disclosed?
The exhibitions are regularly reviewed and updated, and new information and artifacts are added.
Q: What is the Museum’s annual attendance?
More than 325,000 people visit The Sixth Floor Museum on average every year.
Q: Why is photography prohibited?
Photography is not permitted in the exhibit galleries because it can be distracting to other visitors and because most of the images on exhibit are copyrighted. Visitors are welcome to take photographs from the seventh floor window, outside and in the Visitors Center.
Q: Does the Museum attempt to answer some of the lingering questions surrounding the assassination?
The goal of the Museum is to recount, as accurately as possible, the history of the assassination, and to identify the major areas of controversy as well as recent developments.
Q: Was the Kennedy family involved with the creation of the Museum?
No.  However, much care has been given to creating a museum that is respectful of the subject matter.
Q: Why does the Museum charge admission?
The Museum is a nonprofit organization and operates almost entirely on revenue received through admission sales.
Q: Why is it called The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza?
A sniper’s nest and rifle were found on the sixth floor of this building after the assassination of President Kennedy. The Museum’s permanent exhibition is currently housed on the sixth floor.
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Texas School Book Depository

Q: How is the National Historic Landmark designation marked?
The designation is marked by a bronze plaque provided by the National Park Service. The plaque is mounted on a slab of Texas pink granite set flat in the ground on the north side of Elm Street, east of the garden steps and near the sidewalk. The plaque says:

Dealey Plaza Has Been Designated a National Historic Landmark; This Site Possesses National Significance in Commemorating the History of the United States of America; 1993 National Park Service United States Department of the Interior
Q: What are the boundaries of the National Historic Landmark district?
The 3.07-acre Dealey Plaza Park is only part of the district, which includes all surrounding buildings facing the park, the triple underpass and its bridge, and a part of the rail yards north of Elm Street, including the railroad-switching tower.
Q: What does the National Historic Landmark designation mean?
Dealey Plaza’s National Historic Landmark designation by the federal government recognizes that the site has outstanding significance to the history of the United States of America. The site was designated because President John F. Kennedy was assassinated there on November 22, 1963. The designation recognizes that the course of American history changed as a result of that tragic event. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt signed the official designation of the site on October 12, 1993. Formal dedication ceremonies were held in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1993.

The Texas School Book Depository Building was recognized in 1980 by the Texas Historical Commission as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark.
Q: Are any of the windows on the sixth and seventh floors original?
It is unclear if any of the windows date from 1901, but some of them may have been in place in 1963.
Q: What is on the other floors?
Dallas County owns the building and occupies the first five floors.  The Museum operates on the sixth and seventh floors through a lease with Dallas County.
Q: How old is the building?
The original building on the site was built in 1898.  It was completely rebuilt in 1901 after a fire destroyed the original.
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Assassination

Q: Where is Dallas’ John F. Kennedy Memorial, and how long has it been there?
The John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza is located two blocks east of the Museum and it was dedicated in 1970.
Q: Where is President Kennedy buried?
President Kennedy is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
Q: Whatever happened to Jack Ruby?
Despite a defense argument that Jack Ruby was mentally ill when he shot Lee Harvey Oswald, a Dallas jury convicted Ruby of murder with malice on March 14, 1964, assigning him the death penalty. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed that verdict, agreeing with the appeal made by Ruby's attorneys that he could not have received a fair trial in Dallas. A new trial was scheduled to begin in February 1967 in Wichita Falls, Texas, but Ruby, having been admitted to Parkland Memorial Hospital in December 1966, died on January 3, 1967, of a pulmonary embolism brought on by his advanced lung cancer.
Q: Where is Lee Harvey Oswald buried?
Oswald was buried at Shannon Rose Hill Memorial Park in east Fort Worth, about 40 miles west of the Museum.
Q: Where was Lee Harvey Oswald shot?
Lee Harvey Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby in the basement of the Dallas police station during a routine prisoner transfer to the county jail on the morning of Sunday, November 24, 1963.
Q: Who was Officer J.D. Tippit?
J.D. Tippit was the Dallas police officer killed by Lee Harvey Oswald about 45 minutes after the assassination of President Kennedy.
Q: What happened to Kennedy’s presidential limousine?
The car was stripped to the frame, refurbished and returned to service under Presidents Johnson and Nixon. The car is now on exhibit at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
Q: How many shots were fired?
Most witnesses thought there were three shots, but some thought there were two or four or more.
Q: What is the grassy knoll?
Many eyewitnesses to the assassination thought at least one of the shots came from the right front of President Kennedy in an area now known as the grassy knoll. This area is a hill on the north side of Elm Street near some concrete steps and topped by a 5-foot wooden stockade fence. The term originated with United Press International reporter Merriman Smith, who rode in the motorcade five cars behind Kennedy.
Q: What was the motorcade route?
The presidential motorcade started north of the city at Dallas Love Field airport and proceeded southeast on major thoroughfares. Passing through downtown Dallas, the parade turned north off of Main Street onto Houston Street (which was two-way at the time) for one block. The motorcade then turned left onto Elm Street and headed toward the triple underpass and freeway en route to Kennedy’s luncheon speech at the Dallas Trade Mart. Shots were fired on Elm Street beginning as the president's limousine was near the large live oak tree on the north side and ending just before the limousine reached the steps leading up the hill.
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Oral History Project

Q: Where have the oral histories been seen or heard?
The Oral History Collection has been featured on C-SPAN Radio and Television, National Public Radio, and on local television networks, including WFAA-TV Dallas/Fort Worth. The collection has been included in several documentaries, including Image of an Assassination: A New Look at the Zapruder Film, JFK: The Dallas Tapes, JFK: The Torch Is Passed, and in The Dallas Morning News Belo Interactive 2002 CD-ROM JFK: The Story Behind the Story. The collection is featured in numerous publications, including "Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years" by David Talbot; the Newseum publication "The President Has Been Shot"; American History magazine (December 2003); the Dallas Morning News; Associated Press stories; and in several national and international newspapers.
Q: Does the Museum offer other firsthand accounts besides the Oral History Collection?
The Museum’s collection of newspapers, photographs, books and magazines, video and audiotapes, news film and other documentary materials offers many firsthand accounts of the events of November 22, 1963.
Q: Are oral histories available for licensing?
Most of the interviews in the Oral History Collection are available for licensing, though a few interviewees have placed restrictions on the use of their interviews.
Q: Are the oral histories for sale?
Interviews in the Oral History Collection are for research purposes only and are not for sale. They may be accessed by appointment in the Museum’s Research Center. To schedule an appointment, please e-mail oralhistory@jfk.org.
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The Zapruder Film

Q: Will computer enhancement bring out more details of the shooting?
Perhaps, but it is not likely. The amount of detail recorded on film depends on the type of film, whether the exposure and focus were set properly, and the technical quality of the lens. Abraham Zapruder’s camera was a good one for an amateur, but the lens was only average. Computers cannot sharpen what isn’t there.
Q: Is the Zapruder film the only film of the assassination?
Yes and no. It is the only film known to exist showing all of the shooting. Three other home movies show part of the assassination, and as many as five still photographers took at least one picture while shots were fired. Several others made pictures immediately before or after the assassination, while at least one froze and took no pictures. Two very close witnesses intended to bring their cameras but forgot. At least three photographers remain unidentified and their pictures, if any, are unseen.
Q: Did Kennedy’s limousine driver turn and fire the fatal shot?
No. The “driver did it” theory started with a poor-quality copy of the film in which the image was very unclear. What was thought to be a pistol was actually the top of a passenger’s head.
Q: Has the Zapruder film been altered to hide evidence of a conspiracy?
No. Most alteration theories originate with people who have little, or no, technical experience with motion picture special effects and who do not realize there are obvious, telltale signs of such work. Conspiracy-supporter and JFK director Oliver Stone dismissed the idea in 1992.
Q: Are some of the Zapruder frames “missing”?
Yes. Six frames, from two different parts of the original film, were accidentally damaged by Life magazine personnel while they were preparing pictures for publication. Fortunately, three duplicate copies were made of the original film before the damage occurred. Two of those films are stored at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and the third is in the Museum’s Zapruder Collection. The Museum’s copy was apparently subsequently damaged at Life and it, too, may be missing one or two of the “missing” frames.
Q: Why was the Zapruder film not shown on television right away?
When Abraham Zapruder sold his film to Life magazine the day after the assassination, it was with the understanding that the magazine not exploit the graphic details of the president’s death. Life executives agreed to withhold the film from public exhibition until emotions cooled down.
Q: Can you hear the shots on the Zapruder film?
No. Amateur 8mm home movie cameras in those days did not have sound capability.
Q: Does the Zapruder film prove there was a conspiracy?
By itself, the film cannot prove or disprove a conspiracy. It shows the fatal shot to the president’s head in graphic detail, but the timing and location of other shots is somewhat subjective because no specific effect of a bullet can be seen.
Q: What does the Abraham Zapruder film show?
The film shows President Kennedy and his motorcade in downtown Dallas as shots are being fired. The Texas School Book Depository, the building where investigators found empty shells and a rifle, was out of view to Zapruder’s left. A grassy knoll, from where some believe a second assassin fired, was out of view to his right.
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