Welcome to the JFK Library

JFK first thought about building his Presidential Library in 1961, opting for a space near Harvard University.

After the President’s death, the Kennedy family decided that the Presidential Library would also serve as his national memorial. This magnificent building actually serves three purposes: Museum, Archive, and Educational Institute.

Beyond the good looks, and excellent taste in Jackie Kennedy, you might remember that our 35th president was dedicated to public affairs and the education that prepares individuals to excel in international relations. This institute formed from an endowment the Kennedy Library gave to Harvard for the University’s Institute of Politics.

The Institute “seeks to unite students, particularly undergraduates, with academics, politicians, activists, and policymakers on a non-partisan basis and to stimulate and nurture their interest in public service and leadership. The Institute also strives to promote greater understanding and cooperation between the academic world and the world of politics and public affairs.” (JFK Library site)

The Library was then moved to a plot of land along the waterfront near UMass Boston’s campus at Columbia Point. The museum’s striking style is thanks to renowned architect, IM Pei, who also conceived Boston’s tallest structure, the John Hancock building.

The JFK Library collection contains thousands of letters, campaign paraphernalia, and personal effects of both the former president and first lady. Exhibits boast interactive and multimedia displays, and rooms that transport you back to the Kennedy’s life, making you feel like you’ve walked into the Kennedy white house.

Enjoy the walk through US presidential history!

Must See

  • Nixon Debate
  • 1961 Inaugural address — read this as you listen to the televised speech behind you 
  • Seating chart at the Malraux dinner — how many famous names do you recognize?
  • Any of the President's personal notes
  • Interactive screen on the Civil Rights Movement
  • Televised tour of the White House with Mrs. Kennedy
  • Displays on Jackie Kennedy — check out her yearbook entry from Miss Porter’s
  • Profiles of Courage recipients
  • Sunset across the Boston waterfront from the main pavilion