Filming Kennedy: Home Movies from Dallas

All Exhibits

Robert Hughes

Robert Hughes
Robert Hughes Collection

"That day, he, of course, had his movie camera and went out to take a picture of the parade. And lo and behold, it led to a great deal of interest, and it hasn’t ended yet."

Maureen Hughes-Thompson, widow of Robert Hughes
April 27, 2002
Oral History Collection/The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

An appraiser for U.S. Customs, Robert Hughes worked in the Terminal Annex building on the south side of Dealey Plaza. He maintained an avid interest in amateur photography and decided to bring his Bell & Howell home movie camera to work on November 22, 1963.

“We just always took pictures,” recalled his widow, Maureen Hughes-Thompson, in her 2002 oral history. He was always looking through the camera’s eye.” Hughes walked a short distance from the Terminal Annex building to the intersection of Main and Houston streets. From that vantage, he captured the motorcade’s turn from Main onto Houston and continued filming as it made its way up Houston toward the Texas School Book Depository building, with the sixth-floor corner window visible at the top of the frame. “About five seconds after I quit taking pictures,” Hughes wrote in a letter to his parents that night, “we heard the shots.”

Immediately after the shooting, Hughes again raised his camera and captured the chaos in Dealey Plaza as it unfolded. Following other eyewitnesses who made their way up the grassy knoll, Hughes recorded a brief panoramic view of the plaza and filmed sequences in the railroad parking lot behind the grassy knoll before making his way to the Texas School Book Depository.