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.

Duration and Group Size

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.)

Scheduling Guided or Self-Guided School Group Visits

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

Elementary School group Museum

Our museum programs for grades 4-8 extend and enrich classroom studies in American history, Civics, and English Language Arts.

Who was John F. Kennedy? (Gr. 3-5)

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.

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 

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 get to develop an evaluation form for assessing a Chief Executive's performance. After examining an actual report card of John F. Kennedy's when he was in middle school, students gather evidence from exhibits on JFK's presidency about the various responsibilities that go with the nation's highest office and the kind of leadership qualities that are needed. Students then develop a presidential report card based on their judgments about what factors are most important.

Allow 3 hours. For further information, call 617-514-1650 

Guided Programs for High School Groups

High School group in the Museum

Our high school programs begin with a session in the museum's classroom where students explore events and issues of the early 1960s using primary source documents and audiovisual materials. Following the classroom session, the museum educator will work with students in the museum, helping students make connections between the museum exhibits and the classroom discussions. 

Approaching a DBQ: An Introduction for AP Student

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.

Reservations & Information

Allow 3 hours for each high school program. 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.