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John F. Kennedy’s words inspired not only his generation but continue to inspire generations of people around the globe. How did he become a man so committed to public service?  How does his legacy live on? What role did Cape Cod play in shaping his personality? Our special exhibition, JFK at 100: Life & Legacy, strives to answer those questions.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917.  Although he lived only 46 of the past 100 years, he continues to be quoted constantly by world leaders. Thousands of public facilities have been named in his honor. He visions for space travel, civil rights, and nuclear non-proliferation remain a guiding force for how we approach these contemporary topics. JFK at 100: Life & Legacy considers how President Kennedy influenced the full hundred years after his birth – not just the first 46 years he was with us.

We begin by telling John F. Kennedy’s story from childhood through election day, when he was known to family and friends as Jack. We tell our story through a carefully curated collection of photographs, many rarely seen: candids taken by friends and family; studio, magazine and newspaper  photos; stills from television and video. Many of the images include Jack and his friends and family enjoying themselves at the Cape, their refuge from their busy schedules and the place Jack always considered home. We’re including intriguing artifacts from the collection of Robert Luddington, the Kennedys’ interior decorator. Some of these will be seen by the public for the first time.

We’ll continue the journey through President Kennedy’s White House years, including fascinating artifacts from Inauguration Day and stunning photos of Jacqueline Kennedy.  Other photos will give important glimpses into President Kennedy’s life in Hyannis Port, known as the Summer White House.

The Legacy years feature the careers of his brothers Bobby and Ted and his lasting influence on space travel, the Peace Corps, advocacy for children with intellectual disabilities, and of course the Cape Cod National Seashore. Our goal is for visitors to leave with a better sense of Jack Kennedy, the private person, and President John F. Kennedy, influential world leader, and to understand the deep and lasting influence of Cape Cod on the man and his ideas.