John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
- The museum: Three theaters, 25 multimedia exhibits, and period displays recreate the hope, promise, and controversies of the early '60s, from the Cold War to civil rights to the space race.
- Campaign office: Travel back to 1960 and feel the energy of the Kennedy campaign. Marvel at an extensive collection of election memorabilia, then watch some of his most notable press conferences.
- Family artifacts: See personal items of JFK, his wife, his eight siblings, and parents Joe and Rose. The Victura, his beloved 26-foot sailboat, is moored outside from May to October.
About this Boston, Massachusetts tour
This is the presidential library that set the standard for every one built since. Which is appropriate, because JFK set the standard for every president since.
The charm and wit that tamed the White House press corps. The calm resolve that pulled the world back from the brink during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The easy elegance of a man who grew up in wealth and privilege, but never took it – or himself – too seriously. The speeches that still echo, half a century after his thousand days.
Every president since has tried, in at least some small way, to make some small part of the Kennedy charisma his own. But it can't be done. Scholars spent years at this library trying to analyze his gift, trying to separate reality from wishful thinking, trying to establish, once and for all, whether JFK would still be considered one of America's great presidents if he hadn't been cut down that day in Dallas. None of that can be done, either.
It's hard to believe, but the man we'll always see as a handsome 46-year-old was born a century ago; if his motorcade had taken a different route that day, we'd have mourned his natural, un-traumatic death years or decades ago. He might have pulled the U.S. out of Vietnam while casualties were still in double digits. The hell that broke loose in the '60s after his assassination – riots, war, and more assassinations – might never have happened. We'll never know.
But we want to know. The world had high hopes for him. That's why this library gets more visits than any other president's. We come to see the films and exhibits we hope will explain everything, where buddy Frank Sinatra still belts out the JFK campaign song: High Hopes.
Just another day at the Oval Office
Historians still debate Kennedy's performance during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis: Did he heroically prevent nuclear Armageddon? Did he recklessly almost unleash it? One thing that seems certain is that he stayed cool throughout: Among the library's displays are papers he doodled on while pondering the fate of the world in meetings with advisors who differed sharply.
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
This tour is self-guided. The museum has informational brochures printed in ten different: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean. American Sign Language interpretation is available with advance notice. Wheelchairs are available at the Visitor Admission Desk on a first come, first serve basis. Video presentations in the Museum are captioned for hearing-impaired visitors. Open daily 7 days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day.
Travelers may request a wheelchair at the front desk (a photo ID must be left). Wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Family Friendly, Cultural
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated mild. To participate fully, you may be required to walk over primarily even surfaces at a leisurely pace. You may encounter a limited number of steps, cobblestones, or uneven surfaces, and you may have to stand for extended periods of time.
Suitable for all ages.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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