Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tracking the Spirit of JFK

The last leg of our public transit journey.
The spirit of favorite son John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, permeates much of Boston, Massachusetts. While in staying in Harvard Square as part of a college visit, my family and I took advantage of the opportunity to visit a few tourist hot spots, among them two that celebrate and extend JFK's legacy.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum (7/27/12).
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum was the first historic archives of the sort I have had the pleasure of visiting. Following the 20 minute subway/bus ride on "the T," we arrived with about ninety minutes to look through the museum before the final scheduled return bus. It was not enough time, just as my wife (who had visited previously) suggested. Her statement that "You could spend all day there" proved telling and unfortunately we did not have nearly half a day--but the time we did spend there was informative.

The Victura (7/27/12).
In addition to many displays and set pieces featuring archival footage, including the Nixon/Kennedy Debates and correspondences between he, his wife and other dignitaries, there were many items of personal importance to the president. Behind the building, positioned along the water, was JFK's beloved boat Victura (pictured above). Photographs of the Victura are present throughout the displays, so having the chance to see the actual vessel up close gave one a unique sense of being i the presence of  a small, but significant to the individual, piece of a larger historical figure's story.

The Pavilion, designed by I.M.Pei (7/27/12).
Not surprisingly, flash photography was not permitted in the museum, so I took very few pictures inside. The structure itself was stunning. Designed by I.M. Pei, one area it which it was possible to photograph was the pavilion. The pavilion is the last stop on the tour and opens into the Boston Harbor with the Victura directly outside. Despite the cloudy conditions it does offer a stunning view. Quotes from Kennedy's speeches are engraved on the wall and give the space a meditative quality. JFK's love of the nautical is illustrated throughout the museum.

A small monument in the park outside HKS with a quote
from Kennedy's Inaugural Address.
On our first evening in Cambridge we wandered the streets enjoying the architecture and history. Harvard College, like George Washington University (another school we recently toured) has elements of the campus that are interwoven into the community around it. The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (HKS) is a public policy and public administration school, and one of Harvard's graduate and professional schools.

Because of the tremendous number of memorable speeches he gave during his lifetime, it is not unusual to see many tributes to his legacy include quotes, such as the one above.

Wannabe :)
Again, another of Kennedy's familiar lines is used in signage adorning the HKS building. More impressive than the building is to consider the significant number of intellectuals who came (and still travel) through the doorways at the HKS... excluding the individual above, of course.

It's good to be an honored guest!

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