I was keen to go to this museum, having heard from a friend that it was much more interesting that you would imagine, so a group of us went one afternoon. After the tour everyone agreed that it was well worth the visit.
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is, as its name suggests, on the sixth floor of the School Book Depository in Dallas from which the gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, fired the fatal shots which killed President John F Kennedy on November 22nd 1963. The exhibition takes you through the life, presidency and assassination of JFK before you arrive at the window next to the one from which he was shot. The window which was actually used has boxes around it in a recreation of how it was on the day, so you can see it, but can’t get to it. From the window beside it you look out over the scene the gunman would have seen as he took aim. It was quite moving actually. Then you go on to hear about the immediate aftermath of the shooting and the subsequent investigations. There are many eye witness testimonies to listen to, photos (some rather detailed and graphic) and actual video footage from the day to watch, which really brought it all to life.
You can just walk round and read the display boards and look at the photos, but we used the audio tour which was included in our ticket price and I think that made it all much more meaningful, as well as giving more information. At the end of the tour (it took about an hour and a half) I felt that I knew so much more about the man, but was also fascinated by the ‘Was there a consipiracy, or was it a lone gunman?’ theories.
We went outside when we had finished in the museum and looked at the two crosses marked on the road, which indicate where the President’s car was when he was hit. Some might think that was a bit gruesome, but I found it quite poignant.
After we toured the sixth floor, we went up to the top floor where there was a temporary display of two huge portraits of John F Kennedy and his wife.
I’ve copied the description from the Museum website to explain them:
“At first glance, the images appear to be single, oversized black and white portraits of President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. Upon closer examination, the magic of artist Alex Guofeng Cao is revealed as thousands and thousands of smaller images that make up each portrait become visible.
Called photomosaics, each pixel within the portrait is a much smaller picture of another figure – someone important to or associated with the main figure. The portrait of President Kennedy, titled JFK vs Jackie, 2010, is made up of 50,000 smaller portraits of Jacqueline Kennedy. Jackie vs JFK II, 2010 likewise creates Mrs. Kennedy through 50,000 tiny portraits of her husband.
In the artist’s words, the pixels and the portrait within one piece speak to each other, using the biography of one person to create a dialogue with the historic background of another. Both photomosaics contain intriguing surprises, as well. The portrait of President Kennedy includes five pixels of different images among the 50,000, representing important figures and dates in the president’s life. Mrs. Kennedy’s portrait has three different images, also representing important figures and dates in her life.”
If ever you are in Dallas, take a couple of hours to go to this museum.