Newseum JFK Exhibit to Feature Never-Before-Seen Artifacts From the Assassination

The Newseum will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy with a new exhibit opening April 12, 2013, featuring several key assassination artifacts that have never been publicly displayed. Some of the items on display in "Three Shots Were Fired" were with Lee Harvey Oswald at the time of his arrest on Nov. 22, 1963. The exhibit also will feature the Bell & Howell 8 mm movie camera used by Abraham Zapruder, the only eyewitness to capture the entire assassination on film. The Oswald and Zapruder artifacts are on loan to the Newseum from the National Archives.

Never-before-displayed artifacts in the Newseum exhibit include:

  • The long-sleeve shirt Lee Harvey Oswald was wearing when he was arrested an hour and 20 minutes after the assassination.
  • The jacket belonging to Oswald that police believe he discarded at a gas station after shooting Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit.
  • The wallet Oswald was carrying at the time of his arrest and its contents, including his selective service card, military IDs, pictures of his family and his Fair Play for Cuba card.
  • The blanket Oswald used to hide his rifle in the garage of a family friend near Dallas.

"Three Shots Were Fired" examinesthe events that began with Kennedy's assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. A United Press International bulletin broke the news that the president had been shot, and minutes later, CBS anchor Walter Cronkite began four days of unprecedented television coverage, including the unforgettable moment when he reported to the nation that Kennedy was dead.

In addition to the items on loan from the National Archives, the exhibit will feature more than 100 rarely seen artifacts, including:

  • The first UPI bulletin reporting that "three shots were fired" at the president's motorcade.
  • The typewriter Kennedy used aboard Air Force One.
  • Radio logs recorded by the Dallas Police Department on the day of the assassination.
  • The service revolver carried by Clint Hill, the Secret Service agent who leapt aboard the presidential limousine after the shots were fired.
  • Jacqueline Kennedy's personal schedule for Nov. 21-22, 1963, marked in red pen with her handwritten notes.
  • A drum used in Kennedy's funeral procession in Washington.

"Three Shots Were Fired" will open in conjunction with another exhibit, "Creating Camelot: The Kennedy Photography of Jacques Lowe," as part of a year-long exploration of Kennedy's life, presidency and death. A Newseum-produced film, "A Thousand Days," will recount the youthful glamour the Kennedy family brought to the White House and highlight newsworthy moments of a presidency cut short. The exhibits and film will be on display through Jan. 5, 2014.




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by Barry Kostrinsky