John F. Kennedy Library and Museum
9:00 a.m. -- 5:00 p.m.
$8.00 Regular Admission
$6.00 Students, Seniors, and Children
Free for children under 12 years old
MBTA: Red Line JFK/ UMass
Chronicling the life of the thirty-fifth president of the United States, the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum is a popular attraction in Boston. Just a T ride to the JFK/UMass stop on the Red Line, the museum is conveniently accessible as well as interesting.
Designed by architect I. M. Pei, the library and museum are astonishingly elegant; the building overlooks the bay, and lovely views of the water are showcased through tall glass windows. Self-guided paths in the museum are helpful at times, but also makes it rather difficult to return to see features at the beginning of the exhibits.
Through November 1, the museum is presenting two special exhibits: “Jacqueline Kennedy Travels Abroad,” which boasts artifacts from the first lady’s extensive travels, and “John F. Kennedy, Man of the Sea,” which recounts both his naval career and his life on and by the sea.
With collections of memorabilia, television recordings, and photographs of John F. Kennedy, the museum touches the heart and mind of every visitor. Those who were alive during his presidency can be captivated by the documentary on the Cuban Missile Crisis. Those who are younger can gaze at his personal objects or at the replica of Main Street, USA in 1960.
Instead of focusing on the president himself, the collections focus on the beliefs he held and the policies he pursued for the nation. The JFK Library and Museum covers a great span of time and hence a broad range of social and political ideals and goals of the Kennedy administration. The museum includes exhibits ranging from the foundation of the Peace Corps to the first flights of NASA. The museum also documents Kennedy’s crusade for developmentally disabled children and gives a sense of the years under Kennedy’s leadership that has been idealized as “Camelot.”
The museum’s collections show a president who stood for youth, upward mobility, political ideology, and patriotism. There is, however, a slight sense of propaganda. One has to wonder if the museum provides a completely accurate portrayal of JFK. Overall, the museum provides a good balance between history and nostalgia, and definitely makes a good day trip for those lazy Saturday afternoons.