The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is the nation’s official memorial to John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States. The library was designed by the architect I. M. Pei and built with the private donations of 36 million people from around the world. Dedicated on October 20, 1979, the Kennedy Presidential Library is one of the Presidential Libraries in the United States administered by the National Archives and Records Administration and the only one located in New England. The exhibits you see today are designed to tell the story of John F. Kennedy as much as possible in his own words, offering visitors a “you are there” experience in the world of the early 1960’s and the Kennedy White House. The Library’s museum exhibits change periodically to provide visitors with a wider understanding of the life and times of John F. Kennedy.
This library and museum is dedicated to the 35th President
of the United States, John F. Kennedy. It is located in Boston, MA on a ten
acre park that overlooks a magnificent body of water. The library and museum
not only commemorates Kennedy's presidency, but also work by Ernest Hemingway
as well as notes and documents from all aspects Kennedy's administration.
Originally conceived by President Kennedy himself, along with architect John
Carl Wernecke, they surveyed different locations around Boston offered by
Harvard University. Kennedy felt that other presidential libraries were
inappropriately placed, being too far away from scholarly
resources. He wanted the building to be placed by the Harvard Business
Graduate School so it would face the Charles River. After his assassination
November 1963, the location changed as his family figured out how to make a
great memorial library to honor the late president's memory. Many donations poured in to fund the library
and museum, but it would not be dedicated until 1979, because there were many
obstacles in bringing the concept to fruition.
On December 13, 1964, I.M. Pei, was chosen as architect of
the building unanimously by the Kennedy Family.
His design involved a large glass pavilion encased by the simple
geometric structure. The concrete tower at 125 feet tall, contains many offices
and archives, while the circular section of the building contains two theaters.
One of the obstacles that I.M. Pei had to overcome was the budget, which was
one of the many reasons why construction was delayed. Pei wanted to construct
the exterior with a more expensive stone, but had to switch to concrete. Ground
was broken on 1978 and it was finished just in time for President Carter's
dedication in 1979.
The JFK Presidential Library and Museum contains an eclectic
array of exhibits and artifacts. Some of the seven Permanent exhibits are:
The Campaign Trail, an exhibit on the 1960 Presidential Campaign that
includes Kennedy's campaign office and other memorabilia. An exhibit dedicated
to the life of the First Lady, which includes artifacts such as pieces of her
clothing, and The Briefing Room exhibit, which discusses the impact
that television had on the Kennedy Presidency. There are also many temporary
exhibits, too. The first floor of the library is occupied by Kennedy family
portraits, videos, and presidential memorabilia. There are also plenty of books
and research materials for visitors, students, and/or researchers to browse
through. One of the most interesting aspects of this library and museum, is the
art collection. Just a few of unique pieces are a finger painting by little
Caroline or a professional bust of President John F. Kennedy by sculptor, Felix
de Weldon. Another fixture of the library is the massive 400,000 artifacts of
still photography amassed within the audiovisual archive that ranges from
1864-1984. These are just some of the things a visitor can experience at the
JFK Presidential Library and Museum.