Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Sixth Floor Museum, Dealey Plaza, & JFK Memorial Plaza

On Thursday, my husband and I ventured to the Historic West End of downtown Dallas and visited the infamous Sixth Floor Museum. The museum is located in the Texas School Book Depository on the sixth floor, the very floor where Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone (according to some), shot President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 as his motorcade rounded the hairpin turn onto Houston and Elm Street. My writer's mind was sharp and ready to soak everything in for future story references, camera in hand, so I could share my experience with you.

As I neared the building, I was psyched. I've lived in Dallas for almost four years now and walked past the building more than a few times, but have never visited.
Climbing the stairs to the entrance, I didn't know the sign posted below this photograph greeted visitors:

Bummer! As you know, I am a photo nut and share EVERYTHING through photos on this blog. My camera had been muzzled before I even entered the building! However, it turned out to be not as disappointing as I originally thought. The reason, you see, is that the museum is largely based on a series of blown up photos with lots of printed signs to read. I expected much more for the price of $27.00.

There aren't many interesting artifacts from the Kennedys or the assassination. There are a few videos for you to watch, but if you've read your history books and watched the conspiracy theory documentaries, you aren't missing much, if you skip this museum. If you don't know anything about the assassination, then it's a wealth of knowledge and not a snore fest.

The only redeeming feature of the exhibit is the fact that it is in the Texas School Book Depository on the sixth floor. You can actually stand right next to where Lee Harvey Oswald sat, though it's all cordoned off with glass now. You can also look out the windows and see the infamous grassy knoll and the route the President's motorcade took. It is exactly the same view Lee Harvey Oswald saw in 1963. Not much has changed, but a few more buildings dotting the horizon in the background.
I strongly suggest skipping the headset tour. It's not like other museums where the narrative mimics the posted signs. You still have to read the placards near the pictures, and I found it annoying trying to listen to the dry narrative and read different text at the same time.

After the disappointing Sixth Floor Museum, I photographed the outside of the building.

Across this intersection rests the now peaceful grassy knoll.
And here is the outside of the Texas School Book Depository. Lee Harvey Oswald was positioned on the sixth floor in the right hand window.
This is the historic placard posted on corner of the building. You can't see him, but to the right, there is a very annoying man trying to sell a JFK assassination tourist paper. Hint: Don't buy it. It's a waste of money. You will see everything you need to, if you choose, inside the museum. And you can take your own photos outside.
If you cross the street from the School Book Depository, you enter Dealey Plaza where a memorial sits to JFK directly behind the grassy knoll where he was assassinated in 1963.

There's a very large water feature, including a fountain and bunch of park benches in the shade. For the scene of such a horrific event in American history, it's actually quite a peaceful place to sit and read a book or just escape the unforgiving Texas sun.
These are pictures of the memorial to JFK. The memorial is located to the right of the water feature, directly behind the grassy knoll.

The plaque at the bottom of the monument.

On the wall in front of the white memorial is a diagram and plaque detailing the historic events in 1963.

If you walk a few blocks away from Dealey Plaza, you will find this plaque set in the sidewalk. It marks John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza.
Jacqueline Kennedy designed this memorial for her husband. I find it odd. For such a prolific President of his time, this memorial doesn't speak to me about much of JFK's life or legacy.

Here are a few more photos from inside and outside the  white block monstrosity.

If these photos didn't amuse you, hopefully, they might inspire you to include either these settings or events in history in one of your own fictional works or to find a historic location in your hometown to tour and research for future reference. And if you can't get to Dallas any time soon, at least you got a virtual tour today of some of the highlights.
As always, happy writing and happy reading to all!


Eve Sanchez said...

Love the pictures.

Nora B. Peevy said...

Thanks much. I am a photo nut.