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“Great Museum, Informative, Beautiful Location”

John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum & Library
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Ranked #7 of 403 things to do in Boston
Certificate of Excellence
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Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Relive the Kennedy era in this dynamic combination museum and library, where your visit starts with a short film and then leaves you on your own to explore a series of fascinating exhibits, including the Kennedy-Nixon debate, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the space program, 1960s campaign paraphernalia and displays about Jacqueline and other Kennedy family members. The striking, I.M. Pei-designed building overlooks the water and the Boston skyline.
Reviewed June 25, 2014

This was a fantastic museum! JFK is one of my favorite presidents, so I knew this was a stop I wanted to make on my recent trip to Boston. Admission was $14/adult and parking was free. The museum starts with an introductory film on JFK's early life and early political career, and then you walk through exhibits from his presidential campaign, and into a look-a-like White House. I was really impressed with the set up of it all. It ends with an exhibit of JFK's legacy and lastly, a beautifully designed glass atrium overlooking the Boston Harbor, with a large American Flag hanging. If you're interested in history or like JFK, this is a great place to stop.

2  Thank Shauna K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 24, 2014

Went to JFK Museum and found it very interesting even though I wasn't really looking forward to it as was going with the other half! Good to see all the memorbilia etc. of bygone years so ye would definitely say it was worth a visit. Easy to get to just took the red line train and got the shuttle bus, Couldn't be handier.

Thank MurHanafin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2014

Spent 4 hours at the museum & could have stayed longer. Most impressive to me was actual letters between JFK & Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev during Cuban Missile Crisis. Also have actual tapes of JFK staff during crisis.

Thank MAW60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2014

Reviewing this as an 18 year old, I found it fascinating. The museum is a great combination of pop-culture and political history centering around the life and presidency of Boston's own JFK. I would argue that it is a fantastically presented museum with replicas of the White House and shop fronts from the 50s coincided with enough information to successfully fulfill the educational needs that a museum must.

Although my younger brother might not agree. He hated it. Then again he is 11 and one can't expect an 11 year old English boy to care much about a dead US president's affair with a dead US superstar. He did although like pretending he was a president in marching up and down the mock-halls of the White House.

Keep your visit short and sweet and savour the view at the the end - you will not be disappointed especially if you have younger children or like to pretend to be a president.

Thank Renceslaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2014

This is the only presidential library that I have ever visited, so I should be careful about what I write, but it wasn't quite what I had expected.

I had read before about funding difficulties, and of Cambridge's opposition to placing the library near Harvard U., but the results are a little odd. The library is located at the far end of Mass. U.'s campus by the river, in an otherwise decidedly "unexceptional" neighborhood. It is easily accessed by the "red line" light rail link, but a cab ride from downtown is fairly expensive. You can complete the tour within three hours, but you won't learn much that you don't already know about President Kennedy (I was hoping for more exhibits about his earlier life, and about things that aren't already widely covered - i.e. PT 109, the Cuban Missile Crisis, his assassination, etc.). The static display of Kennedy's favorite 26 ft. sloop "Victura" on the lawn was nice, and the exhibits are certainly interesting, but I thought there would be more in the way of personal effects (there are lots of displays of the gifts and awards that he and his wife received while he was president). I came to realize that this is a library about his presidency (and not his life generally); and in view of the short time that he was president I suppose the library reflects that fact. I also thought that the architecture of the building was a little strange. I get that funding was limited, but the team (led by the remarkable I.M. Pei) did a rather unremarkable job on it; the building looks like a leftover from Expo 86, and it is hard to see how its design reflects Kennedy's life, the Boston region, or his New England roots generally (it does have a wonderful view of the river and harbor though). I am disappointed that the library was not placed in nearby Cambridge. Kennedy apparently wanted a "research library", and had hoped that it would be situated near his beloved Harvard. Such a plan would have fit much better with proximity (and history) to his roots and with his wife's Radcliffe College. In any event, it is worth the $14 to spend a few hours reflecting on his memory.

Thank a-canuck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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