By Don Douloff, November 20, 2008
When President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed on Nov. 22, 1963, as his motorcade wound through downtown Dallas’s Dealey Plaza, the history of the 20th Century was forever altered.
Documenting this momentous event in great detail is The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. Located on the sixth and seventh floors of the former Texas School Book Depository building, the museum faces Elm Street, where the assassin’s bullet felled Kennedy.
Through extensive exhibits and collections, the museum chronicles the assassination and legacy of President Kennedy and presents contemporary culture within the context of presidential history.
Using nearly 400 photographs, 45 minutes of documentary films and artifacts, the exhibits recreate the social and political context of the early 1960s, chronicle the assassination and its aftermath, and explore Kennedy’s lasting impact on American culture.
The collection is vast, numbering approximately 35,000 items, and includes original photographs, film and video footage, documents and artifacts related to the assassination.
Most notably, the collection presents the Abraham Zapruder film, the only known movie showing the entire assassination sequence and providing the definitive vantage point of Kennedy’s death.
Complementing that is the Oral History Collection, which includes personal memories about the life, death and legacy of President Kennedy and provides insight into the history and culture of Dallas and the 1960s. Since 1989, more than 530 interviews with a wide variety of participants have been recorded. Included in that oral history is an interview with Bill and Gayle Newman. The closest eyewitnesses to the Kennedy limousine at the time of the fatal shot, the Newmans were standing on the north side of Dealey Plaza and shielded their small children after the shots were fired.
Significantly for groups, the museum is available for dinners of 30 to 200 and receptions of up to 300 people. The venue-buyout number is 600 and rental includes private use of three floors (Visitors Centre, Sixth Floor Permanent Exhibit and the Seventh Floor Gallery).
Groups (regardless of size) that book the seventh floor for events have access to the galleries on the sixth floor during the event. All tours are self-guided.
The Seventh Floor Gallery is the primary event space, offering more than 4,000 sq. ft. outfitted with exposed brick; windows overlooking Dealey Plaza; food-prep area and built-in bar. Groups can choose their own caterer or select one from the museum’s list.