People are often astounded when they learn that certain New Yorkers have never been to the Statue of Liberty. Those same people would probably be amazed how many North Texans have yet to visit The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, housed in what was formerly known as the Texas School Book Depository, the site of the assassin’s perch when President John F. Kennedy was killed.
The event was a turning point in the world and would cast a pall over Dallas for years. For some, the very sight of the seven-story building only reminded them of that tragedy. Community leaders could have easily torn the building down. But they realized that it also could be repurposed into the Dallas County Administration Building, with the sixth floor serving as a resource for history buffs and scholars regarding the assassination with collections of historical documents and “recollections of how Americans were affected by the death of President John F. Kennedy.”
On February 20, 1989, the Dallas County Historical Foundation officially opened the museum that has attracted people from around the world ever since.
As the 56th anniversary of the presidential assassination approaches, The Sixth Floor will hold the 56th Anniversary Program Series that will include
- Tuesday, November 19 — “The Last Days of Lee Harvey Oswald: A Conversation With Ruth Paine”
- Wednesday, November 20 — “Toward A Psychological Understanding of Lee Oswald, Assassin”
- Thursday, November 21 — “Three Hours In Dallas: World Premiere”
- Friday, November 22 — 56th Anniversary Program: Living History With Bill Mercer”
It should be noted that the Thursday program is a “unique art experience.”
According to The Sixth Floor Museum Chief Philanthropy Officer Kim Bryan, “The Museum has commissioned a musician and composer, Jesus Martinez, to write an original score for images and snippets of film footage of President Kennedy and Mrs. Kennedy stitched together to create a cohesive story-line from the time they landed at Love Field Airport, following them as they made their way through Dallas. Interspersed with excerpts from some of President Kennedy’s most influential speeches, the film puts forward a new narrative of his time in Dallas, his legacy, and the ongoing relevance of his presidency.
“Jesus’ work is so powerful and brings new levels of emotional resonance to images and film footage that are well-known. This is further enhanced by the fact that his original score will be performed that evening by high school students from Sam Houston High School in Arlington. As an important part of our mission, the Museum seeks to explain the ongoing significance of the events of the 1960s, and the new interpretation of these images by this creative artist are an important manifestation of this initiative.”