When Lynn was doing research on things we could do in Dallas, one of the things she came up with was The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. If anyone is wondering what exactly The Sixth Floor Museum is, then you are in the same boat I was in when Lynn first mentioned it to me.
Before I get into the details about The Sixth Floor Museum, I will tell you that I have never visited a museum and afterwards been so wrapped up in learning more about a specific topic than I was after our visit to this museum. Lynn and I definitely obsessed about it for a about 3-4 months and even now sometimes find ourselves talking to friends about it when the topic comes up randomly.
What is The Sixth Floor Museum?
The Sixth Floor Museum building is the old Texas School Book Depository, where in 1963 Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly shot and killed President John F. Kennedy during his visit to the city of Dallas. The permanent exhibit located on the sixth floor of the building features films, photographs and artifacts that chronicle President Kennedy’s life, death and legacy. Other temporary exhibits can be found on the seventh floor of the museum as well.
The Sixth Floor Exhibit
After you purchase your tickets there is an elevator that takes you up to the sixth floor and drops you off at the start of the exhibit. From there you twist and turn through a maze of information that covers everything from JFK’s life before being elected, his presidency, his death, the investigation and even some of the conspiracy theories.
There is a personal audio tour that is part of the admission fee. I call it a personal audio tour because it is a little remote that you wear around your neck which has a set of headphones plugged into it. As you move along through the exhibit each section is numbered, so once you’ve completed a section you can move on to the next or replay a previous section. The audio is helpful because it will explain the significance of so many of the different films, photographs and artifacts.
In the southeast corner of the sixth floor there is a section closed off with plexiglass walls. Inside this section is where they found the shell casings which they believe were used to kill President Kennedy. Inside the plexiglass walls they have kept all of the original flooring, walls and windows and set it up to look just as it did the day President Kennedy was killed.
Cost of Admission
When we visited the museum the cost was $16 per person, and as I mentioned before that includes the free audio tour. Of course, prices always change, so I would check the site if you plan to visit the museum. They also mention that you should consider purchasing tickets online because the museum can get crowded on weekends and holidays. I definitely agree with this because during our visit the line started outside the door and then wrapped around a couple times once we got inside. I’m pretty sure they can only allow a certain number of people into the exhibit for safety reasons, so that definitely slows down the line.
Exhibits on the Seventh Floor
When we were visiting, there wasn’t really much to see on the seventh floor. One thing that you can do on the seventh floor that you can’t do on the sixth floor is take pictures. Even though there wasn’t a lot to take pictures of, it gave us the ability to look out the window in the southeast corner, just one floor above where the shots were fired. The photo below is taken looking out the window from the seventh floor. If you look in the middle of the street below you can see the white “X” which marks the spot where President Kennedy was fatally shot.
Around Dealey Plaza
One of the great things about the museum is that it is set in the exact spot where everything happened. So once you take the time to see the photos and videos and experience everything there is within the museum, then you can walk right outside and stand in the exact spot where everything happened.
You can stand on the side of the road just as spectators did over 50 years ago and see the white “X” that is now painted in the middle of the road (which I mentioned previously). For us it was all so crazy to stand there and try to understand how something like this could ever happen especially with all of the security.
We ended up walking around Dealey Plaza and even took some pictures of the famous “Grassy Knoll” where many witnesses claim the fatal shot came from. In some videos you can see people running up the grassy knoll to see where and who the gun shots possibly came from.
JFK Conspiracy Theories
I’m not really going to cover any of the conspiracy theories, but if you’re interested, go to Google and type in “JFK Conspiracy Theories” and you’ll get more information than you could possibly read or watch. Lynn and I have actually done this quite a few times and even spent a couple months watching movies that we rented through Netflix or found on YouTube.
If you do this, you’ll learn that there are numerous theories out there that include hired hit men from abroad, CIA cover ups, and a far right southern group that plotted to kill JFK. Another theory even believes that Lyndon Johnson (Vice President) knew of the assassination attempt and may have been part of it.
The interesting thing for me is that I never really thought about it before I visited The Sixth Floor Museum. To me it was all fact… Lee Harvey Oswald shot the President and Jack Ruby shot Oswald. That is what I was taught in school so I never thought of it any other way. The museum actually tells it this was as well, and for the most part you’ll believe this same story after walking through the Sixth Floor Exhibit. The museum makes you believe that the report put together by the Warren Commission cleared any doubt as to whether or not Oswald was the only shooter involved in JFK’s assassination. According to the report, Oswald was the only shooter.
I don’t know if I believe any of the conspiracy theories that are out there, but I do believe there are numerous things missing from the investigation. There are a lot of other people that have spent their entire lives researching the JFK assassination, so I’ll let them handle the conspiracy theories. One of them, Robert Groden, still sits in Dealey Plaza nearly every weekend and sells books, DVDs, and CDs based on his theories about the JFK assassination.
The Sixth Floor Museum was so much more interesting than I ever thought it would be. Not only that, it added hours of interesting research and entertainment to our lives well after we visited the museum. I still don’t think that Lynn and I are done researching the topic. It’s something that we both find very interesting and almost can’t believe that it’s still a hot topic among certain groups of people… even 50 years later!
I definitely recommend visiting The Sixth Floor Museum, especially if you’re in the Dallas area. The museum was definitely one of the highlights of our trip to Dallas. If you plan to visit the museum, I would also recommend taking a little extra time to walk around Dealey Plaza and explore the area where one of the most talked about events in United States history took place.