DC at Night

DC at Night

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Need to Know More About JFK, Turn to the Newseum

The shirt Lee Harvey Oswald was wearing when he was captured for shooting President Kennedy
If, despite the November-long media blitz, you still need to know more about the life and death of John F. Kennedy, then you want to head to the Newseum, where the museum of news is featuring three major exhibitions on the former president, as well as several other JFK artifacts.

The most comprehensive exhibit is titled Three Shots Were Fired. That extensive display chronicles the events that began in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, when a United Press International bulletin broke the news that President Kennedy had been shot.

Items on display include the jacket and shirt that Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald wore that day, as well as the contents of his wallet and the blanket which he used to conceal the rifle used in the fatal shooting. The movie camera that William Zapruder used to capture the only film of the killing is presented, as are the drum, the drumsticks, and an Army dress uniform hat, which were used by a member of the military drum corps that accompanied President Kennedy's casket during his funeral possession. You can also view a series of front pages portraying the tragedy, typical TV newsroom equipment used that day, videos of live broadcasts, and a signed script of Walter Cronkite's famous CBS reportage.

A second exhibition, titled Creating Camelot, showcases images of public and private moments by Kennedy's personal photographer, Jacques Lowe.

Interestingly, the original negatives of nearly all 70 images displayed were lost in a World Trade Center bank vault on Sept. 11, 2001. The only existing images from the lost negatives were on Lowe's contact sheets and prints, which had been stored in another facility. Working closely with the Lowe estate, the Newseum was able to digitally restore the images to museum quality for the exhibit.

Finally, the original Newseum documentary JFK: A Thousand Days is showing on the institution's 100-foot wide big screen. The film recounts JFK's time in the White House and highlights many of Kennedy's most newsworthy moments.

In addition to the 3 major JFK features, other historic artifacts on display in other parts of the Newseum include:

  • front pages from key events in Kennedy's presidency such as his election, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the rise of the Berlin Wall, and the space race.
  • Kennedy's handwritten notes from the famous first-ever televised presidential debate with Republican candidate Richard Nixon. 
  • reporter Ike Pappas' notes and scripts from his coverage of the JFK assassination and the shooting death of Oswald.
The Kennedy exhibition continues until Jan. 5

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