By Laurie Ivy
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza will extend its popular temporary exhibit 55 Years to remain on display for an additional 10 weeks. The exhibit of five decades of magazine covers featuring President John F. Kennedy opened November 13, 2018 and was originally scheduled to end August 4, 2019. The new closing date is Sunday, October 13.
“This exhibit was created in remembrance of the fifty-fifth anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and it has been very well received by our visitors, who are intrigued to see the evolution of how the President has continued to be memorialized over the decades,” said Chief Executive Officer Nicola Longford. “Extending this exhibit affords more people the opportunity to view items from our collection that are not typically on display.”
Located on the seventh floor and composed of artifacts from the Museum’s collections, 55 Years conveys President Kennedy’s lasting imprint on our nation’s consciousness. Arranged by decade, the fifty-seven magazine covers range from immediately after the assassination in 1963 through 2018.
During his lifetime, President Kennedy regularly appeared on magazines that both flattered and criticized him, but immediately upon his death, critical coverage became rare, and imagery of the President reflected a commemorative, nostalgic tone. As the memory and mood of the nation shifted throughout the decades, Kennedy’s legacy was both questioned and revered, and he has become an idealized symbol of an aspirational era.
The publications on display reflect a cross section of society and a broad spectrum of content and perspectives, with glossy mass-market pictorial magazines such as LIFE and LOOK, popular magazines including Time, Newsweek, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, JET and Vanity Fair and niche publications like National Lampoon and Cigar Aficionado. Regional/local print media includes Texas Monthly and D Magazine, while foreign language titles include Life en Espanõl (Central and South America issues) and Paris Match. Each brings a unique point of view to the remembrance of the President, yet together create a nuanced portrayal of how President Kennedy has continued to inspire over the past 55 years since his death.
Also on display on the seventh floor is a wall of 17 artifacts from the Museum’s collections that link the mourning and legacy of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. to that of President Kennedy. Both Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. were assassinated in 1968. The images and impact of President Kennedy, Senator Kennedy and Dr. King are forever linked to the decade of the 1960s.
Located at 411 Elm Street in downtown Dallas, the Museum is open Monday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Tuesday – Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Audio guides for the permanent exhibit are included with admission and available in eight languages, including ASL. For more information, visit jfk.org or call 214-747-6660.