Leadership for the 60's Campaign Button

Campaign Trail

After narrowly losing the vice presidential nomination in 1956, Senator John F. Kennedy sought the presidency in 1960. After hard-fought primary victories, JFK won his party’s nomination and faced-off against sitting Vice President Richard Nixon in a campaign that featured the first live-broadcast television debates between presidential candidates. After his election as the 35th president of the United States, JFK set out to redeem his campaign pledge to “get America moving again.”

Radio and Television

The Briefing Room

Get briefed by advisers on the leading issues of the day, then try answering actual questions posed to President Kennedy by members of the press. Watch footage from the President’s press briefings to see his responses.


Launch of the Mercury MR-3 Space Capsule Freedom 7

The Space Race

In 1961 responding to the Soviet Union’s lead in the exploration of space, President Kennedy challenged the United States to keep up in the "Space Race" and not fall behind the Soviets.  He said: “We have a long way to go in the space race. We started late. But this is the new ocean, and I believe the United States must sail on it and be in a position second to none”.  Kennedy set the goal of landing an American on the Moon before the end of the decade and initiated the programs to make it possible.

Robert F. Kennedy's US Treasury Badge

Attorney General's Office

President Kennedy appointed his 35-year old brother Robert Francis Kennedy as the attorney general of the United States. The close working relationship of John and Robert Kennedy was one of the most unusual and successful in the history of American public life. When Robert Kennedy became attorney general, the civil rights struggle was entering a new phase of activism which precipitated the Justice Department involvement in protecting and upholding the rights of many African Americans.

Carolina Rocking Chair

The Oval Office

In an exhibit filled with President Kennedy’s furnishings from the Oval Office, watch him delivering his historic report to the nation on civil rights, in which he defined racial discrimination as a “moral issue” for the country.

Watercolor Painting of the White House Treaty Room

First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy

This exhibit highlights Jacqueline Kennedy’s early life, as well as her substantive achievements as First Lady. Her contributions to the field of historic preservation, her advocacy for the arts, and her innovations in White House entertaining are illustrated in this exhibit, which includes an interactive display focusing on Mrs. Kennedy's work as First Lady and highlighting items from the Library's collections that are too fragile to display.

KFC 460P

The Kennedy Family

Artifacts, photographs, and “home movies” shot by White House photographers portray the family life of President Kennedy.