Ted Kennedy Jr. and Joseph Kennedy III will be among the dignitaries addressing a record-breaking number of guests at the Springfield Museums Holiday Gala: A Night in Camelot, December 7th from 6-10 pm. (See full roster of speakers below.)
The holiday gala at the Springfield Museums is a decade-long tradition that gathers a robust group of enthusiastic patrons with a common goal—to celebrate and support the mission and values of the Springfield Museums. Not least among the facets of the Museums’s vision is raising the profile of the City of Springfield as it attracts visitors from all over the world with its remarkable museums. With the opening of the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in June, for instance, the Museums increased visitation to the museums by 300% and attracted tourists to Springfield from all fifty states and more than eleven countries.
The gala evening marks another point of pride for the Springfield Museums: our Smithsonian Affiliation, generously sponsored by MassMutual Foundation. The gala is one of many events in the 2nd annual Smithsonian Week in Springfield. This year Smithsonian Week celebrates the centennial of the birth of President John F. Kennedy and the opening of the exhibit Jack & Jackie: The Kennedys in the White House. (Full program listed below.)
The Springfield Museums especially recognize the lasting impact Jack and Jackie had on focusing our national attention on appreciating and supporting the arts. Anita Walker, Executive Director of the Mass Cultural Council, who will address guests at the gala, has devoted this year to reflecting on that impact. Jack’s voice, Walker writes, “is a voice that can energize and inspire, resonating even after the voice is gone.”
Jack advocated for the arts in a way that surpassed any president before him. He invited Robert Frost to read a poem at his inauguration, making Frost the first poet to be included in this way. Kennedy created the groundwork that would one day become the National Endowment for the Arts. He said: “As a great democratic society, we have a special responsibility to the arts, for art is the great democrat calling forth creative genius from every sector of society, disregarding race or religion or wealth or color. Thus, in our fulfillment of these responsibilities toward the arts lies our unique achievement as a free society.”
As First Lady, Jackie announced her plans to make the White House a “showcase for great American art and artists.” She was responsible for bringing the Mona Lisa to the US for exhibition and took a historical role in the restoration of the White House. Her devotion to the aesthetic of elegance and grace solidified her place in the hearts of Americans as an advocate for creativity and beauty alongside her husband.
In appreciation of the Kennedys’ devotion to elegance, the menu for A Night in Camelot pays homage to Jackie’s preference for French cuisine. Gala chairwoman Mary Ellen Scott worked together with her committee to recreate the menu served in 1961 to Princess Grace and Prince Rainier of Monaco at a White House luncheon. This menu includes winter Bibb salad with Granville apples, beef tournedos with garlic mashed potatoes, and a strawberry Romanoff cheesecake based on Jackie’s favorite dessert—strawberry Romanoff.
In addition to a preview of the Jack & Jackie exhibit, a cocktail reception, and a seated dinner of the aforementioned menu, the evening will feature comments by:
- Richard Neal, Congressman of the First District of Massachusetts (via video)
- Joseph Kennedy, III, Congressman, Fourth District of Massachusetts (via video)
- Edward Kennedy, Jr., State Senator, Connecticut General Assembly and partner in the law firm Epstein Becker Green
- Roger Crandall, Chairman, President and CEO of MassMutual
- Anita Walker, Executive Director of the Mass Cultural Council
- Myriam Springuel, Interim Director, of Smithsonian Affiliations and Director of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Services, Smithsonian Institute
- Meagan Lippmann, Learning & Development Partner, MGM Springfield
- Mark Keroack, President & CEO of Baystate Health
- Maura McCaffrey, CEO of Health New England
- Kay Simpson, President of the Springfield Museums
- Jay O’Brien, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Springfield Museums