Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

Like Pearl Harbor and 9/11, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 shook the United States to its core and became an indelible moment on the minds of millions of Americans. To this day, the horrible events at Dealey Plaza in Dallas continue to inspire research, debate, and fascination with JFK and his presidency. This story is told at the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, where thousands of incredible TV and radio broadcasts, photographs, manuscripts, documents, and artifacts are displayed within the former Texas School Book Depository building.

The museum’s main exhibit, entitled John F. Kennedy and the Memory of a Nation, provides the context for understanding what was happening in America and what issues JFK was facing when he was killed. Here you can stand in the chilling Corner Window area where Oswald fired the deadly rifle shots, now recreated from crime-scene photographs to accurately reflect the setup the assassin used. Then explore artifacts from the ensuing investigation, including a scale model of Dealey Plaza submitted to the Warren Commission and a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle identical to the one used by Oswald. Interactive touchscreens and an audio guide provide fascinating details behind all that you’re seeing and hearing.

The seventh floor of the museum is used for displaying temporary exhibits and special programs that speak to JFK’s legacy and provide a deeper journey into stories of the 1960’s. You’ll also want to visit the Museum Store + Cafe, located across the street, where you can pick up a piece of artwork from a local artist and enjoy a coffee and sandwich. You can also purchase a recording of the self-paced Dealey Plaza cellphone tour, featuring more than a dozen stops, including the grassy knoll. More gifts, books, jewelry, T-shirts, and other souvenirs are also available at the museum bookstore in the Visitors Center.    

If the purpose of your visit is to conduct research, you’ll definitely want to request an appointment to access the museum’s archives in the Reading Room. With over 1,400 historic audio interviews, a copy of the original Zapruder film, and hundreds of other priceless materials, the Reading Room is a treasure trove of information that’s not available to the general public. 

Despite the sad circumstances that led to its creation, the Sixth Floor Museum is a fantastic tribute to the memory of a beloved American president. Whether you’re old enough to remember exactly where you were the day you heard the news, or you want to bring history to life for your kids or students, come and experience again an event that changed the world. 

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