JFK Was Here | 60th Anniversary Banners
In commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza wanted to create an installation utilizing historic photographs from the Museum’s collections. The intent of the placement along the Dallas motorcade route was to make passersby aware of the historical significance of these streets. Although the city is forever recognized as the site of the President’s assassination, these banners seek to connect the past to the present. It was also important to the Museum that the banners illustrated not just the Kennedys on the motorcade route but also the enthusiastic crowd of approximately 200,000 that welcomed them on November 22, 1963. Take an interactive journey through the route.
The banners begin outside of Dallas Love Field Airport and follow the route of the presidential motorcade on its way to the Dallas Trade Mart for a bipartisan luncheon co-sponsored by the Dallas Citizens Council. Along Mockingbird Lane the banners depict President Kennedy and First Lady Jacquelyn Kennedy disembarking Air Force One, as well as photos of the crowd gathered at the airport to welcome them to Dallas.
The next stretch of the motorcade route, and the longest, is Lemmon Avenue. There are only a few photos in the Museum’s holdings from that stretch of the route; four images mark this section.
As the route turns on Turtle Creek Boulevard, the images pivot as well. And as Turtle Creek turns into Cedar Springs Road, viewers see progressive images taken of the President’s limousine as it approached the photographer.
On Harwood Street, the banners scale smaller and the images show other aspects of the motorcade route. The banner showing the back of the car was strategically placed on a pole that offers a similar perspective to the image. Since the top right of that photograph included signage for the Majestic Theatre, it became a priority to ensure the pole where it was placed would be close to where the photographer was standing in 1963.
24 distinct images depict the motorcade on Main Street. Each was placed as close as possible to where the photo was taken, based on available pole locations and visibility.
As the motorcade route turns onto Houston Street, the banners deploy a graphic inspired by the floral arrangements that were left in Dealey Plaza in the days following the assassination. The roses specifically represent the six decades that have passed, as well as the roses given to Mrs. Kennedy at Dallas Love Field. Alongside the wreath is the quote: “A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on,” from President Kennedy’s remarks at the opening of a USIA Transmitter in Greenville, North Carolina in February 1963. This banner design can be found throughout the route.
Images were selected for the banners and the Museum dove into research to identify exact locations of as many images as possible using visible “landmarks” in the photographs. When all identifiable locations were determined, the team then created a miniature (not to scale) model of the motorcade route to hand position the banners to check pole locations and ensure the photos with identified locations were placed as closely to the area as possible. All of this information was then compiled and shared with the printing and installation company, who then took over the placement of all 138 poles.