Visitors Flock To Kennedy Museum
DALLAS (AP) _ Many of the first visitors to a new museum at the former Texas School Book Depository went directly to the sixth-floor spot where Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly fired the shots that killed President Kennedy.
″It took me back, that view, it really did,″ said Pat Radmacher of Granbury, one of 1,700 people who visited The Sixth Floor museum, which opened during the Presidents Day holiday Monday in what is now the Dallas County Administration Building.
The southeast corner has been made to appear as it did when Oswald ate lunch there Nov. 22, 1963, waiting for Kennedy’s motorcade. Visitors may not share Oswald’s perch - which has been sealed off with glass - but see a view of Elm Street close to it.
″I got a big lump in my throat when I saw this window,″ said Danny Veno of Dallas. ″I’ve waited a long time to see this. A long, long time.″
The 9,000-square-foot exhibit organized by the Dallas County Historical Foundation contains 350 photographs, 30 artifacts, a 30-minute audio tour and six films running a total of 40 minutes.
″Our purpose is not to preserve the memory of that death,″ Dallas County Judge Lee F. Jackson said at a dedication ceremony. ″It is not in our power to preserve what already lives so powerfully any more than we could erase or escape this history.
″The lessons of history found here will be passed, like a torch, to all generations.″
″About 26 years ago America was wounded,″ said the Rev. G. James Christopher of the St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. ″But today we stand here whole again.″
Dallas residents often have debated whether there should be official recognition of the Kennedy assassination in the city where he was killed.
The Sixth Floor, Christopher said, shows Dallas has ″finally reconciled the pain of the past with the promise of hope for the future.″
Although it was packed with people, the museum was very quiet, save for some small talk and a couple of children asking quesions.
Four-year-old Jeremy Livingston looked up at his father, Jerome Livingston, a computer programmer from New York.
″Why would anyone want to kill a president?″ the boy asked.