Prior to his death, John F. Kennedy explored potential sites for his presidential library in Boston around the campus of his alma mater, Harvard University. He had wanted a library to be built near an academic institution to increase scholarly use of the facility. However, following his death resident of Cambridge objected to the construction of the library because of the perceived negative impact on the community.
Eventually, a location on Columbia Point in the Dorchester neighborhood was chosen. Construction of the facility began in August 1977 and was completed two years later. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum was dedicated on Oct. 20, 1979. In 1993, a new museum opened as part of the facility that overlooks Boston, Dorchester Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean.
Library and museum as seen from along the walkway.
Main entrance to the library and museum.
A special exhibit titled “Young Jack” was on display during my visit in April 2017.
“Young Jack” special exhibit detailed the president’s life before his run for office.
Portion of “Young Jack” special exhibit detailing the president’s collegiate years.
Portion of “Young Jack” special exhibit detailing the president’s years in the Navy during World War II.
The coconut the president used to write a message that led to his rescue following the sinking of PT 109 in the Pacific Ocean.
The first permanent exhibit is “1960 Presidential Election.”
The “1960 Presidential Election” exhibit features dresses that women wore to promote Kennedy’s candidacy.
The “1960 Presidential Election” exhibit includes a poster welcoming delegates to the 1960 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, Calif.
The “1960 Presidential Election” exhibit includes a mock Kennedy campaign office displaying a variety of campaign buttons, posters, and stickers.
The “1960 Presidential Election” exhibit includes a replica TV studio showing predicted outcomes in each state.
The “1960 Presidential Election” exhibit features a map of the Electoral College showing Kennedy’s path to the presidency.
A special installation titled “Freedom 7 Space Capsule” is part of the permanent “Lift Off! The U.S. Space Program” exhibit.
U.S. Navy Commander Alan B. Shepherd Jr. piloted Freedom 7 during the first American manned flight in space.
The “White House Corridor” exhibit features a variety of gifts from heads of state.
Pope Paul VI gave Kennedy a replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta.
Robert Kennedy’s tenure as Attorney General is incorporated into the museum as the “Robert Kennedy’s Attorney General Office” exhibit.
A replica of Robert Kennedy’s Attorney General Office.
A closeup of Robert Kennedy’s desk at the attorney general’s office.
“The Oval Office” exhibit replicates the office during his presidency. The exhibit features film footage from 1963 that relates to the civil rights movement.
“The Oval Office” exhibit includes film footage of important civil rights events from 1963. In this snapshot, Kennedy address the country on June 11, 1963, about civil rights.
“The Oval Office” exhibit includes a rocking chair presented to Kennedy while aboard the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk.
“The Oval Office” exhibit includes a model of Danish maritime training ship Danmark, which was used by the U.S. Coast Guard Academy during World War II.
The museum also features an exhibit focused on the legacy of First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.
The “First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy” exhibit features some of her dresses.
Poster announcing the First Lady’s visit to India.
Some of Kennedy’s most famous words are preserved on a note card from a speech in 1963.
“State Visit to Europe” exhibit preserves Kennedy’s trip to Europe during the summer of 1963. A note card from Kennedy’s speech in West Berlin in front of the Berlin Wall on June 26, 1963.
Rotunda following the hallway retelling President Kennedy’s assassination.
A portion of the Berlin Wall commemorating Kennedy’s 1963 address in West Berlin.
The tour of the John F. Kennedy Library concludes with visitors entering the Profile in Courage Plaza.
An overview of the Profile in Courage Plaza with a view onto Boston harbor.
Closeup of the Profile in Courage Award.
A quote featured in the Profile in Courage Plaza.