This weekend to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of John F. Kennedy, the museum and library that bears his name is holding a series of events, some educational, some pure fun, and others in memorial. For the fading generation of World War II seniors, and their children, Kennedy left an indelible impression, from his fast ascendency as a young Senator to office of the president, to his tragically short lived term; it is both inspiring and heart breaking to know that world of dignity under pressure, and hope fill aspiration that was the new American century.
The interest and admiration for the Kennedy legacy is not misplaced, for though there are detractors, anyone who has lived in Massachusetts within the past fifty years realizes not only how our nation was shaped by this singular family, but how the trajectory of its political progress shaped this state. The collection curators hope to bring into focus some of the early, perhaps lesser known aspects of young JFK, which should prove particularly valuable for younger visitors who attend the celebrations. In JFK’s case he was a powerful person with a particular gift of humor- and the family seemed to have traditions that almost anticipated their larger than life view.
For example, it was not merely that they were a handsome family, but the people who took their portraits were such excellent photographers at a time when hand held cameras with decent lenses came of age. JFK often knew how to get the best out of group portraits with persons of personality drawn out by their individual style. There was a kind of perspective during this time of miraculous growth of America that was not our “innocence” as many people claim, but the understanding of the modern presidency and American state. From the space program to the cold war, the Peace Corps, the beginnings of Vietnam, and numerous other events that reverberate to us even today, that which was propelled by the era of John Kennedy is still going strong. Here are some of the events planned for this coming weekend.
On Thursday May 25th, 6pm. Historian David McCullough will present The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For a discussion of a new collection of speeches.
On May 26th, 11:00 am the anniversary show opens with: JFK: Milestones and Mementos, the new exhibit sports plethora of items unearthed from the museum archives.
On Saturday May 27th, 2:00pm – 6:00pm there will be a Commemoration for the Peace Corps Community.
On Sunday, May 28, 2017, 12:00pm JFK 100 – Space Exploration Discovery Day: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow a space forum will be held that will feature NASA Spacesuit Engineer Su Curley 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. NASA Astronaut Christopher Cassidy, Chief of the NASA Astronaut Office 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
On Monday, May 29, starting 9:00 AM EST the JFK 100 Centennial Celebration continues with a full day’s events, including: Navy Midshipman flag raising, Bel Canto Singers, Boston City Singers, the Navy Band, speakers and cake cutting.
While some of the Kennedy museum displays have a deeply familial feel to them, others are in the realm of public political works- with sometimes more surprising parts of the collection that have little to do with the Kennedy legacy. The Ernest Hemingway collection recently underscored the wide cultural net the museum casts, featuring thousands of photographs and manuscript items, drawings, paintings and other memorabilia.