A Look Inside the Most Visited Site in Northern Texas
The Sixth Floor Museum is the home of the alleged site of Lee Harvey Oswald’s shooting of President JFK. It is located on Historic Dealey Plaza in Dallas.
On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was riding in a motorcade through downtown Dallas, Texas. He was accompanied by his wife, Jacqueline, and Governor John Connally of Texas and his wife, Nellie. The motorcade was on its way to the Dallas Trade Mart where Kennedy was to give a speech. As the motorcade approached the Texas School Book Depository shots rang out. Kennedy and Connally were both injured. President Kennedy eventually died as a result of his injuries. Eighty minutes later, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for the assassination of the President.
Texas School Book Depository Building
The Texas School Book Depository was housed inside an early twentieth-century warehouse. The exterior of the building looks much the same as it did in 1963. The interior of the building was renovated into offices in 1970, with the infamous top two floors remaining empty. In 1989 in response to the number of visitors to the assassination site, the sixth floor was turned into a museum about the assassination.
Sixth Floor Museum
As a visitor to the museum, the ticket booth is the first stop. Visitors pay $13.50 for adults and $12.50 for senior citizens or students. An audio guide is included with the admission price. The guides are available in seven languages with a youth version available in English. An elevator is then taken up to the sixth floor.
Upon reaching the sixth floor, the visitor is told to push play on his audio guide. The audio guide provides commentary on the pictures and artifacts displayed throughout the site. The visitor can listen straight through pushing continue when prompted or entering a number to get more information about specific items throughout the site.
The sixth floor is divided into areas beginning in the early 1960s, continuing through the assassination, and ending with the legacy of the event and subsequent investigations. Each area includes pictures and videos from the era.
Sniper’s Nest Area of the Museum
The most compelling area of the museum is the area called the Sniper’s Nest. This is the location from which Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly assassinated President Kennedy. The nest area looks exactly like it did in 1963 right down to the shell casings laying on the floor. The nest was an area of boxes that Oswald had set up so he would be hidden from anyone coming up to the sixth floor. It was looking out a window onto Dealey Plaza, where Kennedy was shot. Oswald allegedly set up boxes to rest the gun on so he could easily shoot the President.
Seventh Floor Exhibit Area
The seventh floor is used primarily for other exhibits that relate somehow to President Kennedy and the history of the time. Past exhibits have included exhibits about Cuba, Dealey Plaza, and the Dallas Police Force. Currently, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photographer Bob Jackson has pictures on display from the assassination. These pictures will be on display through July 31, 2010.
Sixth Floor Museum & Dealey Plaza
The area where the Sixth Floor Museum is housed is called Dealey Plaza. It is an important part of Dallas’s history as it not only where Kennedy was shot but also considered to be the birthplace of Dallas. Today visitors can see and stand on the actual spots where the shots hit Kennedy as he rode by in his motorcade. These spots are marked by painted X’s in the roadway. Visitors can stand on the grassy knoll and look up towards the Sniper’s Nest. Dealey Plaza was designated a national historic district in 1993.
Visiting the Sixth Floor Museum and Dealey Plaza brings back memories to those who lived through the Kennedy assassination. A visit also brings the history of the time alive for people too young to remember the actual events.