School group comes to the JFK Library

On weekday mornings during the school year, the Library's Department of Education and Public Programs offers a variety of structured programs for elementary, middle and high school classes visiting the museum. These programs are 2½ to 3 hours long, and are limited to 50 students per program. Teachers of grades 6-12 may also elect to bring their group for a self-guided museum visit.

All museum visits by school groups must be scheduled in advance. To schedule a self-guided visit, please call the Group Tour Coordinator at 617.514.1589. For further information on guided programs, contact the education staff at the numbers indicated in the program descriptions.

Guided Programs for Elementary and Middle School Groups

Our museum programs for grades 3-8 extend and enrich classroom studies in American history, Civics, and English Language Arts.

Who was John F. Kennedy? (Gr. 3-5) Elementary School group Museum

Students become biographers for the day as they explore John F. Kennedy's early years, his presidency, and the contributions he made to our nation and the world. They analyze historic photographs and documents, view films and television footage, and examine objects in the museum as they gather and record information in our "Biographer's Workbook."

Allow 2 ½ hours. For further information, call 617.514.1649.

Presidential Campaigns and Elections (Gr. 4-5)

Using the 1960 election as a case study, students learn the steps to becoming President of the United States. Students explore objects, photographs, and documents in the museum to discover important information about the 1960 election. The last part of the visit includes an interactive game based on the steps to the presidency. A final discussion draws on students' hopes and ideas to guide the next President of the United States.

Allow 2 ½ hours. For further information, call 617.514.1649.

Equal Rights for All: Investigating the Civil Rights Movement (Gr. 4-5)

As young historians, students study the civil rights movement through stories, films, photographs and documents. The museum portion of the program focuses on civil rights events during the Kennedy administration. Discussions and activities challenge students to think about fairness, equity and their own role in creating a more just world.

Singing for Freedom: Music in the Civil Rights Movement (Gr. 3-5)

Students investigate archival film footage, audio recordings and song lyrics to discover the essential role music played in the civil rights movement. They practice several freedom songs and hear first-hand accounts of how singing helped motivate and sustain activists who were fighting for racial equality. While in the exhibit galleries, students sing freedom songs and learn about President Kennedy’s key actions and decisions related to the civil rights struggle. 

Allow 2 ½ hours. For further information, call 617.514.1649.

Leadership for the 60s (Gr. 6-9)

In this docent-led program designed for groups who are often visiting the Library for the first time, students explore the challenges John F. Kennedy faced as the nation’s leader and learn about the big ideas he put into action. A souvenir booklet of open-ended questions gives students historical context and encourages them to evaluate John F. Kennedy’s decisions and actions as president. The program, led by museum docents, includes an introductory group discussion about John F. Kennedy’s leadership qualities, the introductory film, guided exploration with booklet, and a wrap-up discussion.

Allow 2 hours. For further information, call 617.514.1545.

John F. Kennedy: Citizen of the World (Gr. 6-7)

In this program designed to complement study of world geography, students explore what it means to be both an American and a “citizen of the world” through the lens of JFK’s life and presidency. With maps and guiding questions they first trace how Kennedy’s interest in international affairs was nurtured through his family heritage, travels abroad, wartime service in the South Pacific and early political career. They then examine the impact of his leadership as president on people and countries around the globe with a special focus on the Peace Corps.

Allow 3 hours. For further information, call 617.514.1650. 

Report Card for the President (Gr. 7-8)

Students are usually the ones being graded, but in this program the tables are turned as they consider how to evaluate a chief executive’s performance. After examining one of John F. Kennedy’s report cards from 7th grade, students begin brainstorming ideas about what a presidential report card might focus on. In the museum, as they investigate key events and issues of JFK’s presidency, students identify roles and responsibilities in the nation’s highest office. They also consider the kinds of leadership qualities that were needed to meet the challenges of the times. Curriculum materials are provided to help students finish creating their own presidential report card back in the classroom.

Allow 3 hours. For further information, call 617.514.1650.


Guided Programs for High School Groups

Words and Deeds: Examining John F. Kennedy's Inaugural AddressHigh School group in the Museum

Students explore the museum with a focus on the pledges John F. Kennedy made in his inaugural address. By critically examining the events of the early 1960s, students will consider the extent to which President Kennedy followed through on his pledges. Prior knowledge of the address is helpful but not required.

Allow 2 hours. To reserve the program, call 617.514.1545.

For the following high school programs, allow 3 hours. Between 20-50 students can be accommodated per session except for Launching into the Sixties program which can accommodate up to 40 students. To make a reservation or for further information, call 617.514.1647.

Approaching a DBQ: An Introduction for AP Students

Students work on a document-based question similar to those on the AP exam using documents from the Kennedy Library archives, and strategize tactics for successfully analyzing primary sources.

The Civil Rights Movement: 1960-1963

Students investigate the civil rights movement of the early 1960s--its goals, its major events, and the outcomes of these events. This program focuses on the Freedom Rides (1961) and the integration of the University of Mississippi (1962).

The Cold War Heats Up

Students analyze the Cold War’s impact on the politics and people of the early 1960s, and are introduced to conflicts between the US and the USSR over Berlin, Cuba, and space exploration.

Launching into the Sixties

Acting as members of President Kennedy’s Press Office, students are given an assignment to prepare a briefing for the President on topics that may come up in a specific press conference. To fulfill this assignment, they explore the museum and use primary source documents.

The Rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement in the Early Sixties

Students to analyze the rhetoric surrounding civil rights in the early 1960s, focusing on a speech by Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett, a section from Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, and President Kennedy’s June 11, 1963 speech on civil rights.