JFK Presidential Library and Museum

JFK Library and Museum Boston.jpg
Columbia Point, Boston, MA 02125, United States

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated to the memory of our nation’s thirty-fifth president and to all those who through the art of politics seek a new and better world. Located on a ten-acre park, overlooking the sea that he loved and the city that launched him to greatness, the Library stands as a vibrant tribute to the life and times of John F. Kennedy.

Come tour our Museum which portrays the life, leadership, and legacy of President Kennedy, conveys his enthusiasm for politics and public service, and illustrates the nature of the office of the President.

Students and scholars can also arrange to conduct research using our collection of historical materials chronicling mid-20th century politics and the life and administration of John F. Kennedy.

Experience our Museum through our three theaters, period settings, and 25 dramatic multimedia exhibits, and enter the recreated world of the Kennedy Presidency for a “first-hand” experience of John F. Kennedy’s life, legacy, and leadership.

Shop in our Museum Store or dine in the JFK Café. Walk along the Harborwalk or picnic on our beautiful grounds at the Harbor’s edge. From May to October, President Kennedy’s 26′ sailboat Victura is on display on our grounds.

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School group comes to the JFK Library

On weekday mornings during the school year, the Library’s Department of Education and Public Programs offers a variety of structured programs for elementary, middle and high school classes visiting the museum. These programs are 2½ to 3 hours long, and are limited to 50 students per program. Teachers of grades 6-12 may also elect to bring their group for a self-guided museum visit.

All museum visits by school groups must be scheduled in advance. To schedule a self-guided visit, please call the Group Tour Coordinator at 617.514.1589. For further information on guided programs, contact the education staff at the numbers indicated in the program descriptions.

Guided Programs for Elementary and Middle School Groups

Our museum programs for grades 4-8 extend and enrich classroom studies in American history, Civics, and English Language Arts.

Who was John F. Kennedy? (Gr. 4-6)Elementary School group Museum
Students become biographers for the day as they explore John F. Kennedy’s early years, his presidency, and the contributions he made to our nation and the world. They analyze historic photographs and documents, view films and television footage, and examine objects in the museum as they gather and record information in our “Biographer’s Workbook.”

Allow 2 ½ hours. For further information, call 617.514.1649.

Presidential Campaigns and Elections (Gr. 4-6)

Using the 1960 election as a case study, students learn the steps to becoming President of the United States. Students explore objects, photographs, and documents in the museum to discover important information about the 1960 election. The last part of the visit includes an interactive game based on the steps to the presidency. A final discussion draws on students’ hopes and ideas to guide the next President of the United States.

Allow 2 ½ hours. For further information, call 617.514.1649.

Equal Rights for All: Investigating the Civil Rights Movement (Gr. 4-6)

As young historians, students study the civil rights movement through stories, films, photographs and documents. The museum portion of the program focuses on civil rights events during the Kennedy administration. Discussions and activities challenge students to think about fairness, equity and their own role in creating a more just world.

Allow 2 ½ hours. For further information, call 617.514.1649.

Leadership for the 60s (Gr. 6-9)

In this docent-led program designed for groups who are often visiting the Library for the first time, students explore the challenges John F. Kennedy faced as the nation’s leader and learn about the big ideas he put into action. A souvenir booklet of open-ended questions gives students historical context and encourages them to evaluate John F. Kennedy’s decisions and actions as president. The program, led by museum docents, includes an introductory group discussion about John F. Kennedy’s leadership qualities, the introductory film, guided exploration with booklet, and a wrap-up discussion.

Allow 2 hours. For further information, call 617.514.1545.

Report Card for the President (Gr. 7-8)

Students are usually the ones being graded, but in this program the tables are turned as they get to develop an evaluation form for assessing a Chief Executive’s performance. After examining an actual report card of John F. Kennedy’s when he was in middle school, students gather evidence from exhibits on JFK’s presidency about the various responsibilities that go with the nation’s highest office and the kind of leadership qualities that are needed. Students then develop a presidential report card based on their judgments about what factors are most important.

Allow 3 hours. For further information, call 617.514.1650.


Guided Programs for High School Groups

Our high school programs begin with a session in the museum’s classroom where students explore events and issues of the early 1960s using primary source documentsHigh School group in the Museum and audiovisual materials. Following the classroom session, the museum educator will work with students in the museum, helping students make connections between the museum exhibits and the classroom discussions. Teachers can choose one of the following topics:

Approaching a DBQ: An Introduction for AP Students

Students work on a document-based question similar to those on the AP exam using documents from the Kennedy Library archives and strategize tactics for successfully analyzing primary sources.

The Civil Rights Movement: 1960-1963

Students investigate the civil rights movement of the early 1960s–its goals, its major events, and the outcomes of these events. This program focuses on the Freedom Rides (1961) and the integration of the University of Mississippi (1962).

The Cold War Heats Up

Students analyze the Cold War’s impact on the politics and people of the early 1960s, and are introduced to conflicts between the US and the USSR over Berlin, Cuba, and space exploration.

Launching into the Sixties

Acting as members of President Kennedy’s Press Office, students are given an assignment to prepare a briefing for the President on topics that may come up in a specific press conference. To fulfill this assignment, they explore the museum and use primary source documents.

The Rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement in the Early Sixties

Students to analyze the rhetoric surrounding civil rights in the early 1960s, focusing on a speech by Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett, a section from Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, and President Kennedy’s June 11, 1963 speech on civil rights.

Allow 3 hours for each high school program. Between 20-50 students can be accommodated per session except for Launching into the Sixties program which can accommodate up to 40 students. To make a reservation or for further information, call 617.514.1647.

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Interactive Exhibits 

Clouds Over Cuba

Clouds over Cuba

Explore the Cuban Missile Crisis from various perspectives. This interactive exhibit sets the context of the early 1960s, and gives you the opportunity to explore What If? scenarios.

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President's Desk

The Presidents Desk

Sit at President Kennedy’s Oval Office Desk and discover what it means to hold the highest office in the land.

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World on the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis

World on a Brink

For 13 days in October 1962, a confrontation between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. brought the world to the abyss of nuclear destruction and the end of mankind. Read formerly classified documents and listen in on secretly recorded ExComm meetings as President Kennedy and his advisors seek a peaceful resolution for the removal of Soviet intercontinental missiles from Cuba.

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Integrating Ole Miss

Integrating Ole Miss

In the fall of 1962 the college town of Oxford, Mississippi, erupted in violence. James Meredith, an African American, attempted to register at the all-white University of Mississippi, known as “Ole Miss.” This site lets visitors witness the events firsthand through the actual letters, recorded telephone conversations, and images of those who made history.

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White House Diary

White House Diary

Travel back in time to the early 1960′s and experience first- hand each of President Kennedy’s thousand days in office through the interactive White House Diary – a daily schedule of President John F. Kennedy that includes digital scans of his actual appointment diary for any given day as well as video, audio, and photos of the day’s events.

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Virtual Tour of the JFK Library Museum

Virtual Museum Tour

This online tour includes selected highlights of the museum’s introductory film and allows you to virtually explore selected exhibits and learn more about key items in the Museum collection.

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We Choose the Moon

We Chose Moon

Each stage of this interactive online exhibit allows visitors to follow the historic moon landing minute by minute and explore archival photos and footage of President Kennedy’s pioneering space efforts. More than 1.3 million individuals logged on to launch of this international award-winning website during the July 2009 40-year anniversary of the five-day journey to the moon.

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Permanent Exhibits 

Leadership for the 60's Campaign Button

Campaign Trail

After narrowly losing the vice presidential nomination in 1956, Senator John F. Kennedy sought the presidency in 1960. After hard-fought primary victories, JFK won his party’s nomination and faced-off against sitting Vice President Richard Nixon in a campaign that featured the first live-broadcast television debates between presidential candidates. After his election as the 35th president of the United States, JFK set out to redeem his campaign pledge to “get America moving again.”

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Radio and Television

The Briefing Room 

John F. Kennedy was the first president to effectively use the new medium of television to speak directly to the American people through live televised press conferences. Video samples of his responses to reporters’ questions and exhibits of objects and documents illustrate the wide range of issues he confronted as President.  Also included is his speech to the people of West Berlin denouncing the construction of the Berlin Wall.

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Launch of the Mercury MR-3 Space Capsule Freedom 7

The Space Race 

In 1961 responding to the Soviet Union’s lead in the exploration of space, President Kennedy challenged the United States to keep up in the “Space Race” and not fall behind the Soviets.  He said: “We have a long way to go in the space race. We started late. But this is the new ocean, and I believe the United States must sail on it and be in a position second to none”.  Kennedy set the goal of landing an American on the Moon before the end of the decade and initiated the programs to make it possible.

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Robert F. Kennedy's US Treasury Badge

Attorney General Office

President Kennedy appointed his 35-year old brother Robert Francis Kennedy as the attorney general of the United States. The close working relationship of John and Robert Kennedy was one of the most unusual and successful in the history of American public life. When Robert Kennedy became attorney general, the civil rights struggle was entering a new phase of activism which precipitated the Justice Department involvement in protecting and upholding the rights of many African Americans.

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Carolina Rocking Chair

Oval Office 

The Oval Office has been the President’s office since 1909.  The preference for an oval room dates back to George Washington, who greeted his guests standing in a circle around him, equally distant from the President.  The circle became a symbol of democracy.  President Kennedy personalized his Oval Office with his collections of ship models and scrimshaw, reflective of his lifelong affection for the sea and sailing.  In this setting visitors view a video covering the struggle against racial segregation in 1963.

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Watercolor Painting of the White House Treaty Room

First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy

After becoming first lady at the age of thirty-one, Jacqueline Kennedy embarked on extensive historic restoration of the White House interiors, in which she sought to make the White House a museum of the presidency. Mrs. Kennedy also used the prestige of her position to champion American arts and culture, often inviting prominent actors, artists, writers, poets, and musicians to participate and perform at White House events. Her simple-yet-elegant sophistication and interest in other cultures made her well-known and beloved around the world.

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Kennedy Commemorative Cup

Kennedy Family

John F. Kennedy was the offspring of two families, the Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys, whose roots stretched back to Ireland. They immigrated to Boston in the 1840′s seeking greater economic opportunity, religious and political liberty in America. The Irish in particular readily adapted to the American political system. By the end of the nineteenth century the President’s two grandfathers had become successful Boston politicians, establishing the Kennedy tradition of political involvement.

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Location Images
Admisson and Location Hours

Hours

The Museum is open 7 days per week, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with the exception of New Year’s, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Our last Introductory Film of the day is at 3:55 p.m.

Museum Admission

Adults $12.00, Seniors (62 and over) and Students (with valid college ID) $10.00, Ages 13-17 $9.00, Children 12 and under are free.

Group visits of 12 or more are eligible for a group visit discount with advance reservations.

Students in grades K-12 from New England Schools on an educational group tour are eligible for free admission. Please contact the Group Tours office for more information at 617.514.1589.

Gift Certificates are Available

The best way to purchase advanced tickets that can be redeemed at our Admissions Desk, and the perfect gift, all year round! Gift Certificates are available through our Admissions Desk in our Main Lobby (by cash or credit card), or by calling our Admissions Desk at 617/514-1569 (by credit card only; VISA, MasterCard, American Express or Discover). Available for Adults at $12.00 each, for Seniors and College Students at $10.00 each, and for Children 13 – 17 for $9.00 each. Children 12 and under are always admitted free!

Parking

Parking is free for Museum visitors. Free motorcoach parking is also available – please contact the Group Visits office.

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