I was born and raised in Dallas, but up until just recently, I had never been to the Sixth Floor Museum, which tells the story of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. I knew a lot about JFK’s assassination, having written an essay on it back in elementary school. Whenever we went downtown, we would point out the stretch of road JFK was driving on when he was shot.
All that was a while ago, so about time for me to refresh my memory and learn more about what many people call Dallas’s darkest day. Let me tell you more about my experience and why you should visit the Sixth Floor Museum (aka JFK Museum) in Dallas too.
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Logistics for the JFK Museum in Dallas
The Sixth Floor Museum is located in the old Texas School Book Depository Building at Dealey Plaza, where most people believe the shots were fired from. Luckily, we bought our tickets online in advance and avoided the long line to buy tickets. When buying online you have to choose a 30-minute arrival window. An audio tour is included in your admission price.
The JFK Museum is open Tues through Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. On Mondays, they are open from 12 pm to 6 pm. The last tickets are sold at 5:15. I would recommend allocating 2-3 hours to see the exhibits.
If you are planning on doing more sightseeing in Dallas while you are there, you may want to consider purchasing the Dallas CityPass which gives you 37% off four top tourist attractions in Dallas. Click here for more information.
6th Floor Exhibits
After breezing past the line, we took the elevator to the sixth floor where unfortunately they don’t allow any pictures. The exhibit starts out by giving you some background on the time period. There were a lot of issues facing the country – segregation, communism and Cuba, and the space race to name a few. I was inspired learning about JFK’s drive for service and starting of the Peace Corps.
Next, you learn about the plans for JFK’s trip to Texas. The day of November 22, 1963, he would first visit Fort Worth and then fly to Dallas Love Field (which I thought was odd because it is about 30 miles). Then the motorcade would go through downtown Dallas before heading to a luncheon at Market Hall. The route was well publicized and JFK insisted that they ride in an open top vehicle so he could better connect with the crowd.
Then the worst happened. JFK was shot twice and rushed to Parkland hospital nearby. He was pronounced dead shortly after he arrived. The photos at the museum were interesting, but to me, the most impactful piece was the place setting from the luncheon, that he never made it to.
Then you see the actual corner of the building where the shots were fired. There is a glass wall around the area so that you can see it, but the crime scene remains preserved. Next to the corner area are other windows with computer screens showing the route that the motorcade took and where the shots hit.
From the windows, you can see these two spots marked on the road with “X”es. I saw lots of people running into the middle of the street to take pictures by the “X”es, but I wouldn’t recommend this!
JFK Assassination Investigation Exhibit
A large section of the exhibit is dedicated to the aftermath and the investigation. They arrested Lee Harvey Oswald but not before he shot and killed a Dallas Police Officer, J.D Tippit. Then on November 24th, he was shot by Jack Ruby at the Police Headquarters. There is an iconic photo of Lee Harvey Oswald right before this happened. The suit worn by the police officer escorting Oswald is on display at the museum.
There have been a lot of theories about what actually happened – were there also shots from another location (the grassy knoll) and was this part of a larger conspiracy? There were five different formal investigations; the Warren Commission being the most famous. The museum does a good job of providing information to let you form your own opinion.
There is a lot of information that does point to Lee Harvey Oswald. The most convincing being the forensic evidence around the gun – photographs of Oswald holding the rifle, a palmprint found on the rifle, and evidence that Oswald purchased the rifle.
Then there are the questions….
One of the most interesting points was the pristine bullet, which is one bullet that hit both JFK and John Connelly, the Texas Governor, who was riding in the car with him. Could the bullet have gone through 15 layers of clothing, 7 layers of skin, and approximately 15 inches of tissue, struck a necktie knot, removed 4 inches of rib, and shattered a radius bone?
There were also witnesses that claimed they heard gunshots from other directions. It is hard to believe that someone so inconsequential could kill someone as consequential as John F. Kennedy.
Seventh Floor of the JFK Museum
After you go through the exhibits on the sixth floor, go up the stairs to the seventh floor. There are temporary exhibits to see, but the highlight was being able to go to the corner (one floor above) where the shot was fired and get a picture!
Dallas JFK Memorial
There is also the JFK memorial, a few blocks away. It is a very simple memorial, so I was a little disappointed. The walls are high but plain. Inside you will find a black square with the President’s name. It is supposed to be a place for contemplation, so I would have liked to see some quotes (especially since JFK was so well spoken) or artistic details.
Sixth Floor Museum Review
I enjoyed seeing the artifacts and photographs at the Sixth Floor Museum. I feel like I definitely learned more about the time period, the assassination, and the investigation. In my opinion, it’s one of the best museums in Texas, if not the country.
This Dallas museum is very popular, so there were a lot of people and you had to be patient to see some things. Also, in some cases, it was a little confusing to figure out the next panel and determine if there was a corresponding audio guide segment. But overall, I thought the museum did a great job presenting the story and giving visitors food for thought.
Is the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas Worth it?
Yes. It tells the story of JFK’s assassination in a unbiased way and let’s the visitors think and form their own opinions. Plus, you get to see some interesting artifacts and the spot where some believe Lee Harvey Oswald fired the fatal shots.
So what do you think happened? Did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone or was there a conspiracy? The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas gives you a lot to think about.
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Expert Tips for Visiting the Dallas JFK Museum
- Buy your tickets online to avoid the line and consider purchasing the Dallas CityPass if you will be visiting other tourist attractions in Dallas.
- Go to the seventh floor of the JFK Dallas Museum to get your pictures from the corner window.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means we will receive a small commission for some purchases made using links in our blog with no additional cost to you. Please be assured we would not promote any product unless we believe that our readers will also benefit. The commission does not influence the editorial content of this site.
Last Updated on July 9, 2021
What a terrible day that was. I so appreciate the tone and pictures. How far the world has come.
Elaine – Thank you. I wish I could have taken pictures inside the museum, it really was a great exhibit.
I am old enough to remember the dreadful day that President Kennedy was killed, so when I visited Dallas a few years ago the site and museum were at the top of my list of places to see. For me it was a very sad and emotional experience, but I was glad that I went.
Vicki – Yes its hard for me to imagine what that day was like but I thought the museum did a great job telling the story.
Such a horror. I can’t even imagine seeing that happen. I’ve never been to Dallas sight-seeing. It looks really interesting.
Yes. If you get a chance I think you would really like the museum.
Oh wow! I was actually planning on going here for the long weekend so I’m glad to see your blog and that you wrote about this. I was wishy washy about wanting to go here but now I will and will also get tickets in advance… cool blog!
Excellent! Glad to help. While your in Dallas you might also want to check out Cowboys Stadium (even if you are not a fan). I wrote a blog post about it, so you might want to check it out. Lastly, I do really like the Dallas Museum of Art (which is free except for special exhibits). I hope you have a great time in Dallas!
Very interesting and informative post. We visited about 10 years ago and had one of those life changing experiences. Thanks for sharing and for the memories.
Samantha – thanks for stopping by! Glad you like the post.