– The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum today announced that on April 12, 2013 it will unveil a riveting new exhibit about the thirteen days in October 1962 that brought the world to the edge of thermonuclear war. To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis
depicts President Kennedy and his advisers in the throes of deliberation as the United States and the then-Soviet Union stood on the brink of a nuclear standoff. Created jointly by the Kennedy Library and the National Archives and Records Administration, the exhibit premiered at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. last fall. To the Brink is the first special traveling exhibit to be featured in the Kennedy Library’s new 3,000 square foot gallery since the new wing was completed in 2011.
Recordings from President Kennedy’s top-secret meetings with the Executive Committee of the National Security Council during the crisis form the centerpiece of this exhibit. At six interactive listening stations, visitors listen in as the President and his advisers worked furiously to avert a nuclear catastrophe. The recordings reveal not only the different options under consideration, but also the tension, anxiety, drama, and at times fatigue that permeated the talks. With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, the tapes remind visitors that no one knew what the outcome would be.
Original documents, artifacts, and photographs from the Kennedy Library and the National Archives complement the tapes in a dramatic presentation that draws the visitor into this milestone 20th-century event. Highlights of the exhibit include:
• A recreated fallout shelter and samples of supplies and survival material specially designed to protect Americans from radioactive debris from a nuclear explosion;
• One of first aerial reconnaissance photos of Soviet missile sites under construction in Cuba, shown to President Kennedy on the morning of October 16, 1962, and marking the beginning of the Cuban Missile Crisis;
• Personality studies of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and Cuban leader Fidel Castro prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency;
• The chairs used by President Kennedy and Chairman Khrushchev during their only face-to-face meeting at the American Embassy residence in Vienna, Austria on June 3, 1961;
• Handwritten memos, notes, and scribbles created by President Kennedy during meetings of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council;
• The synopsis of a speech that was never delivered announcing U.S. airstrikes in Cuba;
• The original copy of Proclamation 3504 signed by President Kennedy at the White House and authorizing the naval blockade of Cuba;
• The pen used by the president to sign this historic document; and
• Secret correspondence exchanged between President Kennedy and Premier Khrushchev.
Watch this 3:38 minute video short [hyperlink] to get a look at exhibit highlights and see an interview with exhibit curator Stacey Bredhoff. This video is in the public domain and not subject to any copyright restrictions. The Kennedy Library encourages its use and free distribution. To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis
runs from April 12, 2013, through December 1, 2013. It was created by the National Archives and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, and the generous support of Lead Sponsor AT&T with special recognition to the Lawrence F. O’Brien Family. The exhibit was on display at the National Archives building in Washington, D.C. from October 12, 2012, through February 3, 2013.
An accompanying website and iPad application, created by exhibit sponsor AT&T, allow online audiences around the world to explore the To The Brink exhibit. The app is available for free download in the Apple Store and at www.JFKCMC.org, where Android phone and tablet users can also experience the exhibit.
One of Boston’s most popular destinations for visitors from all nations, the architectural masterpiece designed by I.M. Pei sits on a 10-acre waterfront site on Columbia Point offering panoramic views of Boston’s skyline and Harbor Islands.
General admission to the Museum at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library is $12.00. Admission for seniors over the age of 62 and college students with appropriate identification is $10.00, and for children ages 13-17, $9.00. Children ages 12 and under are admitted for free.
The Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with the exceptions of Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. The Library is located in the Dorchester section of Boston, off Morrissey Boulevard, next to the campus of the University of Massachusetts/Boston. Parking is free. There is free shuttle-service from the JFK/UMass T Stop on the Red Line. The Museum is fully handicapped accessible. For more information, call (866) JFK-1960 or access www.jfklibrary.org on the Internet.
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is a presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration and supported, in part, by the Kennedy Library Foundation, a non-profit organization.