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The Sixth Floor Museum Adds Iconic Artifacts, Enhances Core Exhibit in Preparation for 50th Anniversary of JFK Assassination
As Dallas and the world prepare to observe the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 2013, the Dallas museum dedicated to examining President Kennedy’s life, death and legacy has enhanced its core exhibit to tell the story as never before. Dallas homicide detective Jim Leavelle’s iconic tan-colored suit, the handcuffs used to restrain Lee Harvey Oswald, and Jack Ruby’s distinctive gray fedora – familiar images from Bob Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of Oswald’s shooting less than 48 hours after the president’s death – are just a few of the new artifacts now on display at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.
Nicola Longford, The Sixth Floor Museum’s executive director, says the additions represent some of the Museum’s most significant changes since 1989. “The Sixth Floor has changed little since opening its doors almost 25 years ago,” she noted. “The new artifacts provide a more tangible link to the past, speak to a younger evolving audience, and provide new details about the events of that weekend and the cultural legacy of the Kennedy assassination.”
The Museum’s permanent exhibit, John F. Kennedy and the Memory of a Nation, is located on the sixth floor of the former Texas School Book Depository Building where evidence of a sniper was discovered following the assassination. Other enhancements to the exhibit include:
• Expanded information about the Oswald shooting and the confusion that followed, including actual reporters’ notes from Ike Pappas, the Nikon camera Bob Jackson used to capture the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph, and a note Ruby scribbled to his lawyer during his trial;
• An Italian-made 6.5mm Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, identical to the one discovered near a stairwell on the sixth floor of the former Texas School Book Depository following the assassination on November 22, 1963;
• A dramatic photographic panel showing President Kennedy’s casket being loaded onto Air Force One at Dallas Love Field;
• A new display case for the 1964 FBI model of Dealey Plaza, on loan from the National Archives, which provides enhanced lighting and long-term preservation for the artifact;
• A “Sites of Tragedy” panel that explores how sites such as Dealey Plaza, the Murrah building in Oklahoma City, the World Trade Center site and Pearl Harbor have been transformed into places of commemoration and reflection;
• A new “Kennedy Culture” panel that presents comic books, photos and other commemorative artifacts reflecting the cultural legacy of President Kennedy;
• Interpretive text for the Depository’s original freight elevators;
• An updated “Legacy” film, produced by Allen and Cynthia Mondell, that offers a contemporary look at President Kennedy’s influence on civil rights, space and technology, the arts and community service;
• New theater seating crafted from loblolly pine recovered from the Bastrop, Texas, wildfire of September 2011.
The enhancements continue the Museum’s efforts to provide visitors with a richer experience through its growing collection. Late last year, a new multimedia audio guide was introduced that incorporates additional commentary from the Museum’s oral history collection along with historic images and footage. The Museum’s Visitors Center has been completely refurbished to accommodate anticipated crowds and better introduce the Museum experience. And in early 2014, interactive screens that detail the presidential motorcade’s movements in Dealey Plaza are slated to be installed near the sniper’s window. “These changes will enable us to better present the ongoing narrative about the assassination and legacy of President Kennedy for the 50th anniversary and long into the future,” Longford said.
The Sixth Floor Museum is open daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Admission is $16 for adults; $14 for seniors; $13 for students and $5 for children under 5. The Museum is located at 411 Elm Street in Dallas’ Historic West End. For more information, go to www.jfk.org or call 214.747.6660.
Director of Institutional Advancement
214-747-6660 Ext. 5588