Not only due to his 1963 speech in Berlin, John F. Kennedy is definitely one of the most popular US-American presidents in Germany. Thus, when I tour-chased Weird Al Yankovic in April 2022, I felt that visiting the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston felt like a very interesting option for the trip. Here is finally my review of the museum.
JFK Presidential Library & Museum – Location & Admission
The JFK Presidential Library & Museum is located in Southeast Boston, right at the waterfront. The area is majorly used by the University of Massachusetts / UMass. As the building is located right at the water, it does feature some nice views of the area. The Commonwealth Museum is in short distance. Unfortunately, there is just limited potential to reach the area by public transport. The closest MBTA station is named JFK/UMass, but it is at least a 15 minute walk from the station to the library and museum.
The museum is opening daily from 10:00 to 17:00. Even though walk-ins are welcome as well, they encourage you to pre-book your ticket. Adult admission is 18 USD. They close the entrance to the museum 90 minutes before doors are shut. This is a doable time frame, but I would rather recommend to plan for two hours in this place in Boston.
JFK Presidential Library & Museum -The Visit
The museum is following a rather chronological approach, starting with the young Jack years. One of the first parts of your visit is also an introductory movie about the early life of the later president and his steps into the political landscape of the United States of America. Interestingly, there were other visitors from Germany in parallel as well (with obviously weaker knowledge of English, so that the movie was shown with German subtitles). The remaining exhibition is English only, though. One of the most interesting parts of the first steps of the visit definitely has been the exhibition about the 1960 election campaign. In an extremely tight election, Kennedy beat Richard Nixon and thus became US President in January 1961.
As part your museum visit, you now enter a hallway. The rooms leaving from there deal with different topics. I especially liked the gallery of items, which have been gifted to J.F.K. from other heads of state. However, there are also views of the ceremonial room and Kennedy’s relation to the US Space Program at that time. The most remarkable galleries, though, are Robert Kennedy’s Attorney General Office and a replica of the Oval Office (with the original work desk and other original items).
A black aisle deals with 22nd November 1963, the day of the assassination on John F. Kennedy. Despite the short presidency of less than three years, John F. Kennedy had an excellent reputation worldwide. Thus, this part of the exhibition does not only feature the death of the US President, but more than that his legacy and also the way his is praised in any kind of memorial in other parts of the world. This is a very impressing way to close your visit of the main section of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum in Boston.
During my visit, there has been a special exhibition about the life of the two surviving children of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Lee Bouvier / Kennedy, Caroline and John F. Kennedy Jr. The exhibition had a special view on how being in focus as kids of a famous politician and US president influenced their lives. You also learned about the toys and gifts they received, e.g. from other countries’ leaders. I felt that this section was absolutely interesting.
JFK Presidential Library & Museum – Services
The staff in the museum was extremely friendly. You felt the pride they felt to work in this unique place. Of course, there is the opportunity to buy literature, memorabilia and other souvenirs about John F. Kennedy.
JFK Presidential Library & Museum – My View
Unfortunately, the location of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library is a bit of remote. The place is amazing. The architecture might already be worth the visit, but the museum is an absolute blast and gives a great overview of the life of John F. Kennedy. Last, but not least, the view of Boston from the place is lovely. I definitely recommend the visit.
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