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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Museum at Dealey Plaza
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
Seniors 65+: $14
Youth 6- 18: $13
Children 5 and Under: Free
Book Tickets Online Here
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, The Donning Company Publishers, 2015, Virginia Beach, VA