The Sixth Floor Window of the Texas School Book Depository

JFK and The Sixth Floor Museum

The Sixth Floor Museum

Take yourself back to the 1960’s and visit The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. On The Sixth Floor of the former Texas School Book Depository, Lee Harvey Oswald perched his rifle and waited for President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade to turn on Elm Street in Dallas.

 JFK Assassination

On Friday, November 22, 1963, at 12:30 p.m., Kennedy’s limousine passed the Texas School Book Depository, and Oswald opened fire. He struck President Kennedy twice and wounded Governor John Connally.

The Warren Commission

The Warren Commission had investigated the shooting and found that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone and fired three shots. However, controversy still arises over the Commission’s findings.

Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly fired the shots that killed President Kennedy.

The Warren Commission reported that the first shot missed Kennedy. But, the second shot had not only hit President Kennedy from the back of his neck, but it exited from the front then hit Governor Connally. It broke Connally’s rib and fragmented his wrist before it traveled to his thigh. Some labeled it the “magic bullet.”

Warren Commission Controversy

Ironically, the bullet remained in one piece. Skeptics believe that it had done too much harm to appear virtually unscathed.  The bullet’s condition and other factors caused some to doubt the Warren Commission’s findings.

The former Texas School Book Depository employed Lee Harvey Oswald.

Investigators and police found ammunition on The Sixth Floor of the Texas School Book Depository. Not only did witnesses say that they saw a rifle in the southeast window, but some said that they also heard at least one shot that came from the grassy knoll to the right of the motorcade.

John F. Kennedy's shooter may have used the fence on the left for cover.
Some say that a shooter may have hidden behind the fence on the left of the grassy knoll.     Public Domain

If this was true, it indicated that Oswald did not act alone. Additionally, other sources said that Oswald was aggrieved with Governor John Connally, and he was his ultimate target.

Sadly, President Kennedy took the second shot in the head. He died a half-hour later at Parkland Memorial Hospital, and the nation began to mourn.

Lee Harvey Oswald

Evidence pointed to Lee Harvey Oswald, who had recently been hired as a temporary employee for the Texas School Book Depository. On The Sixth Floor, police found a rifle in the northwest corner. Also, investigators located three empty shells in the southeast corner under an open window.

After the shooting, the Texas School Book Depository held roll call. Lee Harvey Oswald was nowhere to be found. Most importantly, investigators found his fingerprints on the rifle.

This was Lee Harvey Oswald’s view from the sixth floor down Houston Street with Elm Street on the right.

Police Officer J.D. Tippit

Equipped with a description of the suspect, Police Officer J.D. Tippit stopped a man in a local neighborhood who appeared to fit the suspect’s description. The suspect, Lee Harvey Oswald, shot and killed Officer Tippit and then fled to the Texas Theatre. Within ninety minutes of the shooting of President Kennedy, Oswald was under arrest.

X's on Elm Street in Dallas where President Kennedy was shot.
The X’s on Elm Street, Dallas, mark where President John F. Kennedy took the bullets.

Jack Ruby

Most noteworthy, when Dallas police transported Oswald from police headquarters to the county jail, nightclub owner Jack Ruby, who blended in with members of the press, stepped forward and shot Lee Harvey Oswald who died within two hours.

Ruby was found guilty in 1964 and went to jail. The verdict was overturned, and a new trial was scheduled for 1967. However, Ruby never made it to his retrial because he died in 1966.

Dallas, Texas

This is a view of Dallas, Texas, from a window in the former Texas School Book Depository.

Before Kennedy’s visit to Texas, his constituents threw up red flags hoping to deter him. They had warned him about visiting a Republican stronghold like Texas. Not only were his advisors concerned that he had planned to visit Texas, but his itinerary included Dallas which was considered by many to be “a conservative hotbed.”

Many Texans opposed Kennedy’s reelection, and propaganda that labeled him a traitor circulated ahead of his visit. Moreover, in addition to dealing with the Republican opposition, Kennedy was well aware of the animosity and instability among some of the top players in his own Democratic Party in Texas.

These are just a sampling of the problems facing JFK before the 1964 election. Hoping to garner supporters in Texas, he headed south.

Elm Street X
Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy when his limousine was on Elm Street in Dallas, Texas.

The Bi-Partisan Luncheon

With extra security in place, supporters lined the streets to welcome President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline. After touring Dallas, their next stop was a bi-partisan luncheon where 2,600 guests waited for them.  All was going as planned until JFK met his fate when he passed The Sixth Floor at Dealey Plaza.

President John F. Kennedy

At 43 years old, not only was President John F. Kennedy one of the youngest United States Presidents, but he and Jacqueline were attractive and affluent. The press capitalized on their glamour by splashing photos of their family across newspapers and magazines. They appeared like the perfect family, though that was not the case.

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

In The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, you can experience one of the most dramatic and heartfelt eras in United States history. Relive President Kennedy’s campaign, the presidency, and his assassination through thousands of artifacts. These include official documents and items, photographs, oral histories, films, and eyewitness accounts. You will hear stories and perspectives from people affected by JFK’s presidency and his death. Also, you will learn about his lasting impact on the world.

Elm Street Dallas X's
Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy from The Sixth Floor of the Texas School Book Depository.

The Sixth Floor Southeast Window

Moreover, you will see The Sixth Floor southeast window that gave Lee Harvey Oswald an excellent vantage point to shoot President Kennedy. The museum staff had arranged boxes to duplicate how Oswald hid his activities in the southeast corner on The Sixth Floor of the Texas School Book Depository. Though you can’t look out The Sixth Floor window because it is encased in plexiglass, you can see the same view that Oswald had from the seventh-floor window.

The Magic Bullet

You will learn about the Warren Commission’s findings and the controversy concerning the possibility that shots were fired from the grassy knoll that was to the right of the limousine. Additionally, you will learn about conflicting testimonies over the origin of the shots. Plus the debate over the Warren Commissions finding that Lee Harvey Oswald’s second shot, “a magic bullet,” hit both President Kennedy and Governor Connally.

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza chronicles President John F. Kennedy’s political life, assassination, and his impact on the world. The museum is well worth a visit.

What do you think about the Warren Commission’s findings concerning the JFK assassination? Do you think that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone?

The Sixth Floor Window of the Texas School Book Depository
Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy from The Sixth Floor of the Texas School Book Depository located beyond the fountain.

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

Tips

If you purchase your tickets in advance, you can avoid the ticket line.

The tour consists of small groups that visit the exhibits while listening to headphones. Though you start with a group, you can explore the museum at your own pace.

Note: Taking photographs in The Sixth Floor Museum is forbidden, but you can take pictures on the seventh floor.

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza Hours

Monday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Tuesday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Sixth Floor Museum Ticket Cost

Adults: $16

Seniors 65+: $14

Youth 6- 18: $13

Children 5 and Under: Free

Book Tickets Online Here

Related Information:

Brunch All Day: Ellen’s Restaurant Dallas

https://www.history.com/news/why-the-public-stopped-believing-the-government-about-jfks-murder

http://theweek.com/articles/458953/jfks-murder-not-conspiracy

https://www.jfklibrary.org/JFK/JFK-in-History/November-22-1963-Death-of-the-President.aspx

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-reston-jfk-assassination-target-20161122-story.html

http://www.jfkmurdersolved.com/knoll.htm

https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2000/summer/jfk-last-day-1.html

https://www.history.com/news/why-the-public-stopped-believing-the-government-about-jfks-murder

https://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/select-committee-report/part-1a.html

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, The Donning Company Publishers, 2015, Virginia Beach, VA

Two Traveling Texans

 

11 thoughts on “JFK and The Sixth Floor Museum

  1. I always learn about new things through your blog! At first I thought the idea of this museum was a bit morbid, but it is so important to preserve this history!

    1. Thank you so much Sarah. I agree it is morbid, plus it was one of the saddest days in United States history and worth remembering. If in Dallas, The Sixth Floor Museum is a must-see because you get the feel for that era and what lead up to President Kennedy’s trip to Dallas. You actually see the window where Oswald fired the shots and how the assassination affected the world.

  2. Very interesting museum. So much has been written and said about JFK’s assassination. He is the most talked about president in the history of this country, so I am not surprised they have a museum about his assassination. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  3. I grew up in Dallas but only went to the museum a few years ago. It really is fascinating and very thought provoking. I am still not sure if Oswold acted alone. There are some pieces that just don’t fit. I agree it is a must see when visiting Dallas. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

  4. This is the first museum I went to with my parents. I was five and it must have stuck with me because I started calling green spaces “grassy knolls”. I’d love to visit the museum again and see if having more knowledge changes how I interpret the information now. I always think about it when I drive downtown and see crowds of people checking out the Xs on the road, but I never do it. Maybe I’ll put that on my summer list!

    1. Sara, thanks for your comment. It sounds like the grassy knoll made quite an impact on you. I suspect that you would have a different perspective and get a lot more out of it if you visit in the future.

    1. California Globetrotter, it is difficult to fit everything in, maybe next time. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  5. I agree it’s important to preserve this history, though there’s a little ick factor with the voyeurism aspect of it all. After reading your post, I would definitely check out this museum when visiting Dallas. From reading, I learned more about the event than I knew before!

    1. Cynthia, thanks for your comment. I agree that it’s amazing that they caught the assassination on film of President Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald. Today, with social media and iPhones, it would be much worse. Can you imagine?

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