December 12, 2017

Gift Shopping Guide: Museum Store + Café

If you’re looking for interesting, unique gifts this holiday season, stop by the Museum Store + Café, located adjacent to The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza on the corner of Elm and Houston St. in downtown Dallas. You’ll find just the right gift for anyone who made your nice list this year, with items you won’t find elsewhere. Plus, you can feel good about your purchases knowing they directly support Museum exhibits and programs.

If you’re looking for interesting, unique gifts this holiday season, stop by the Museum Store + Café, located adjacent to The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza on the corner of Elm and Houston St. in downtown Dallas. You’ll find just the right gift for anyone who made your nice list this year, with items you won’t find elsewhere. Plus, you can feel good about your purchases knowing they directly support Museum exhibits and programs.

 

President Kennedy’s Favorite Fragrance


Eight & Bob Cologne gift set

The Museum Store + Café offers two of President Kennedy’s favorite fragrances. Eight & Bob was introduced onto the market after a young John F. Kennedy met Albert Fouquet, the son of a Parisian socialite, while on a trip to France. Kennedy liked Fouquet’s cologne so much that upon his return to the United States, he asked Fouquet to send eight samples of the fragrance to him, and “if your production allows, one for Bob.” Hence the name “Eight & Bob.” The fragrance comes in a beautiful book display that explains the fragrance’s origin story and makes an excellent gift. It is priced at $175.

 

 Ornaments


Christmas ornaments featuring Dealey Plaza and the JFK Centennial (1917-2017)

The Museum Store + Café has a wide variety of ornaments, including White House ornaments and Texas ornaments made by local artisans. Buy an ornament that reminds you of your trip to the Museum to hang on your own tree, or gift one to a friend!  Whether you would like to remember Dealey Plaza or the John F. Kennedy Centennial, both are available at the Museum Store + Café and come in beautiful boxes perfect for holiday gifting. These ornaments are priced at $24 and $22, respectively.

 

Louis Sherry Chocolates


Louis Sherry Chocolates, shown here in Orchid and Nile Blue tins

When in the White House, John F. Kennedy’s favorite lunch was known to be grilled cheese and tomato soup with Louis Sherry vanilla ice cream for dessert. President Kennedy is said to have gifted a beautiful orchid tin of Louis Sherry’s chocolates to Jackie, but she was also fond of the Nile Blue colored tin herself. Both colors are available in two-piece and twelve-piece tins. The smaller tin costs $8.50 and would make a lovely stocking stuffer, while the twelve-piece tin, priced at $35, is a beautiful gift by itself. The Museum Store + Café also stocks the Diana Vreeland red tin if you desire a more festive color.

 

Caroline Kennedy’s Christmas Book


“A Family Christmas” by Caroline Kennedy

Caroline Kennedy provides an exclusive look into Christmas with the Kennedy family in her book: “A Family Christmas.” The book would make a beautiful gift, and it is filled to the brim with Kennedy holiday favorites, including poems, songs and traditions that the Kennedy family celebrated together during this season. “A Family Christmas” is priced at $26.95.

 

Toiletries fit for a President


Caswell-Massey Jockey Club Aftershave and Presidential Bath Soap

The Museum Store also carries Caswell-Massey, a brand that has been crafting fine toiletries since 1752, and supplying them to U.S. Presidents since George Washington. Two box sets including three bar soaps of President Kennedy’s favorite fragrance, Jockey Club, or a mix of the three scents preferred by Kennedy, Washington, and Eisenhower are available for $30.  The store also carries aftershave and cologne in President Kennedy’s favorite scent, priced at $38 and $44, respectively.

 

Jackie’s Favorite Candles


Rigaud candles in Jackie’s favorite scent, Cypres

Jackie was renowned for her exquisite taste and impeccable style. Jackie studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, spoke fluent French, and was known to enjoy luxury French items, like the classic she is credited with bringing to the White House, the Rigaud Candle. Jackie’s favorite candle, Cypres, a luscious Mediterranean scent, is perfect for burning during the holidays. Known for their beautiful and strong fragrances, Rigaud candles will delight anyone who receives them, especially those with a taste for the finer things. Priced at $70-$99, depending upon size.

*Prices and availability of above items subject to change.

November 22, 2017

Six Things You Didn’t Know about November 22, 1963

The world was shocked by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. Reported across the globe, the news of President Kennedy’s death eclipsed all other events that took place that day. Here are some things you may not know about that day:

 

1. Prior to President Kennedy’s assassination, top news stories for November 22 included the Coast Guard recovering wreckage from a U2 plane near Key West, the AFL-CIO calling for a strike in favor of a proposed 35-hour workweek, and the reporting of the November 21 death of Robert Stroud, the “Birdman of Alcatraz.

2. The number one New York Times bestseller for fiction that week was The Group by Mary McCarthy. The number one non-fiction bestseller was JFK: The Man and the Myth by Victor Lasky.

3. Flying over central Florida on November 22, Walt Disney selected the site for what would later become the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando.

4. The Beatles’ second studio album, With the Beatles, was released in the United Kingdom on November 22.

5. More than 30 college and professional weekend football games throughout the United States were canceled or postponed on November 22, as were most high school games.

6. Almost 66% of American homes with televisions tuned in at 6:15 p.m. EST on November 22 as the new president, Lyndon B. Johnson, addressed the nation following his return to Washington.

October 27, 2017

The FBI Model: Behind the Scenes

Many visitors express curiosity about what goes on behind the scenes at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, and this new series, “The Sixth Floor Museum: Behind the Scenes,” was created to answer those questions. It takes a lot of hard work and daily attention to every detail to protect and preserve the 50,000+ objects in our collection. From a multitude newspaper clippings to the recognizable Hertz sign formerly atop the Texas School Book Depository, there’s a myriad of exciting, interesting and unique items. The care of these objects is varied as well, and our Collections staff is up for the challenge of looking after a large array of objects. A number of items are on loan to the Museum, and the staff cares for these objects just as if they were our own. One such object is the FBI model, on display on the sixth floor.

Owned by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the FBI Model is on long-term loan to The Sixth Floor Museum, where it has been on display since 1995. The model was built by the FBI in 1964 to help investigate the Kennedy assassination and was also later used by the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations when they conducted their investigations. There are very strict conditions, especially regarding lighting, for this special object and the Museum is diligent about ensuring these conditions are met.

Abigail Aldrich, Exhibits Conservator at NARA, stands in front of the FBI Model at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.

Recently, Abigail Aldrich, Exhibits Conservator at NARA, stopped by to assess the condition of the model.  Aldrich says that one of the most interesting things about the FBI Model is that because it was developed specifically to assist with a criminal investigation, it was not built to last forever. For example, the shrubs and trees in the model are made with natural sponge, which is very fragile. Over time, tiny pieces might start to come off. Aldrich says this can’t be totally avoided, but meticulous care can help slow the aging process.

Aldrich uses an environmental monitor to check light and humidity levels in the FBI Model’s display case.

As a part of her assessment, Aldrich performed what is known as a “condition check” on the FBI Model. To do this, she compared the model’s current state to what was previously noted by NARA, checked for areas of concern and ran numerous tests. Light levels, temperature and humidity are monitored to make sure that those levels meet the exacting standards NARA sets in place for all objects on loan. Aldrich says that though she expected there to be significant change since the last time NARA checked the object, she was impressed by its overall condition.

The FBI Model is encased in special UV-filtered glass that keeps as much light as possible out of its case without obstructing one’s view of the model. To help prevent damage from light, the Collections department monitors surrounding light levels with both an environmental monitor and a light reader installed inside the FBI model case. If testing reveals that levels are incorrect, staff adjusts the model’s exposure to light sources. Sometimes, this means removing or rearranging light around the case.

Very little about the model’s condition has changed since the last time it was inspected by NARA. That’s a testament to The Sixth Floor Museum’s commitment to preservation and to the strong working relationship between NARA and our Collections staff.

September 15, 2017

The Last Years of Jack Ruby

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

Jack Ruby in jail, visiting with attorney Phil Burleson in 1964.  Credit: Robert L. White Collection/The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

Whatever happened to Jack Ruby?” It remains one of the most frequently asked questions we receive from Museum visitors and students. Most are surprised to hear that Ruby spent the remainder of his life incarcerated in a building adjacent to Dealey Plaza. After being found guilty of murder with malice on March 14, 1964, Ruby remained in a cell on the sixth floor of the Dallas County Criminal Courts building while his attorneys appealed the verdict, which was ultimately overturned by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Had he not passed away on January 3, 1967, Ruby would have received a new trial in Wichita Falls, Texas later that year.

Deputy sheriff Benny Bob Barrett (1940-2015) spent a lot of “babysitting” Jack Ruby. His Oral History was recorded in 2009. Credit: Oral History Collection/The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

Jack Ruby was a unique prisoner. In addition to regular jail personnel, Sheriff Bill Decker assigned deputy sheriffs to “babysit” the high-profile prisoner to make sure he stayed safe. “You just had to sit there and hopefully get along with him,” recalled deputy sheriff Benny Bob Barrett in his oral history, “and most of us did.” Ruby’s well known respect for law enforcement continued during his incarceration as he engaged his “babysitters” in conversation, sometimes planning future business opportunities.  “Ruby [had] the idea that he could manufacture this stuff to keep people’s hair from coming out, and wanting me to go into business with him,” explained Barrett. [He] never gave up his desire to make money.”

Ruby made this drawing for the children of deputy sheriff Archie Barnes. Credit: Archie and James Barnes Collection/The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

Deputy sheriff Archie Barnes played dominos and other games with Ruby. Ruby once presented Barnes with a geometric drawing—one of countless intricate doodles he made in jail—for the deputy’s children. Barnes also recalled, “We both read a lot during this time… and especially on deep nights when the lights wasn’t as bright… I got to where I couldn’t see good.” Ruby loaned Barnes his eyeglasses and later insisted that the deputy keep them.

According to Ruby’s optometrist Dr. Thurman Ray, Ruby went through several pairs of glasses while at the Dallas County Jail. Ruby kept “breaking them, flushing them down the commode,” said Ray in his oral history. “I always said… ‘Only a crazy man would do this.’” Researchers continue to speculate on Jack Ruby’s mental state during the final years of his life. Deputies were aware that Ruby was suicidal at times, and Benny Bob Barrett heard that Ruby once “jumped up and stuck his finger in that socket of the light bulb supposedly.”

In an oral history recorded less than two months before his death in 1995, Ruby’s longtime attorney Phil Burleson bluntly stated that during this period Ruby “was totally out of it” and often made bizarre allegations. Ruby shared with deputy sheriff Al Maddox his fears that he was being injected with cancer cells. While this has persisted as a conspiracy theory for many years, it is medically impossible to contract cancer via injection.

However, as with most aspects of the Kennedy assassination story, there are still lingering questions associated with Jack Ruby, his colorful past which included low-level mafia connections, and the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald. Following a court appearance during his appeal process, Ruby famously told reporters, “The world will never know the true facts of what occurred, my motives.” He further suggested that people in high positions “had so much to gain.” This statement, among others made in these final years, continue to interest (and perplex) researchers who believe that there is more to the story of Jack Ruby.