The John F. Kennedy Experience: An Exhibit by Frank J. Andruss Sr., is an exhibition of rarely seen photos and memorabilia covering various periods in the lives of John and Jacqueline Kennedy. The exhibit is now open at the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History.
The exhibit, which runs through April 28, was planned to coincide with the 50-year observance of Kennedy’s assassination, and includes rare photos from John and Jacqueline’s early years, and artifacts including an actual PT boat engine along with unique collectibles from Kennedy’s political campaigns. All of the materials in the exhibition are from the collection of Frank J. Andruss, noted author and Kennedy-era collector.
The exhibit is divided into six distinct sections, beginning with “The Kennedys and the Fitzgeralds,” Kennedy’s early years growing up in Brookline through his enrollment at Harvard College. The “PT Boat Skipper” section goes well beyond photographs to include examples of uniforms and equipment used by PT boat shipmen, and an actual PT boat engine prominently displayed in the museum’s entryway. One of the men on Kennedy’s PT-109, Harold Marney of Springfield, MA, is also highlighted in this portion of the exhibit. “Jacqueline Bouvier: Grace and Beauty” provides a glimpse into the First Lady’s early life through her time in college spent studying in France. “Political Dreams” covers JFK’s first foray into politics in 1947, but it is the section titled “The Presidency” that includes the majority of political memorabilia. Items from the 1960 Presidential campaign include an impressive collection of buttons, stickers, and inaugural invitations highlighting Kennedy’s immense popularity amongst young people.
The final section, “The End of Camelot,” includes rare photos from John and Jacqueline Kennedy’s arrival at Dallas’ Love Field on November 22, 1963, as well as the aftermath and presidential funeral.
“As we mark the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, this exhibit provides us with a rare opportunity to look back on a key time in American history and take stock of one of America’s great leaders,” Museum Director Guy McLain commented.