The Sixth Floor Museum
Since yesterday's program in Lake Dallas was canceled, Dad and I DARTed downtown to visit the Sixth Floor Museum.
John F. Kennedy, of course, was assassinated in Dealey Plaza in Dallas by Lee Harvey Oswald on 22 November 1963. The tragedy is often cited as an influence on the explosion of Beatlemania in the US some three months later - the subject of my book "From the Shadow of JFK: The Rise of Beatlemania in America" (2015). Oswald shot from a sixth floor window of what was then the Texas School Book Depository. While the building's name has since changed to the Dallas County Administration Building, the structure itself remains, and its penultimate story turned into a Kennedy museum.
Admission included a self-guided audio tour - a handheld device with headphones that allowed visitors to listen to spoken narration in addition to reading and observing the displays. I've seen similar set-ups at other museums (and zoos) but I've never actually used them before. After yesterday, I would use them again.
The problem with being reasonably well-read on any given subject is that it's difficult to find anything new. I encounter this problem with the Beatles on a daily basis. And while I do NOT consider myself a Kennedy expert, I am well aware of his story and his accomplishments. Last October, while touring New England, I visited the JFK Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. Unsurprisingly, much of the Sixth Floor Museum's exhibits cover the same material.
While I can't say I learned anything that could aid my presentations, I did finally understand the three-dimensional logistics of the assassination. I've read many times of where the motorcade traveled (right on Houston, left on Elm), and of how Oswald shot from the Book Depository. But written word descriptions are meaningless compared to physically standing there and observing the geography in person. I finally understand what "the grassy knoll" is, where it is, and why it's important!
The exact spot where Oswald fired those fatal shots is now behind Plexiglas, as is the diagonal corner, where Oswald's rifle was found. This preserves the historic location but also prevents anybody from peering out from that window. Visitors can, however, look out the neighboring windows on to Elm St, where an X in the middle lane of the road marks the precise location where the President was hit.
While photography was prohibited inside the building, I did get a shot outside. The X is circled in black, and the sniper's location indicated with a yellow arrow.
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This blog is a workshop for developing my analyses of The Beatles' music.