JFK Library Announces Celebration to Mark Centennial of John F. Kennedy’s Birth


December 19, 2016
Rachel Flor (617) 514-1662

JFK Library Announces Celebration to Mark Centennial of John F. Kennedy’s Birth

BOSTON— The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum today announced a year-long celebration to honor the 100th anniversary of the birth of President John F. Kennedy. Born in Brookline, Massachusetts on May 29, 1917, President Kennedy was the youngest president ever elected to office. To commemorate his centennial year, the JFK Library is spearheading a series of events and initiatives aimed at inspiring new generations to find meaning and inspiration in the enduring American values that formed the heart of the Kennedy presidency.

The centennial celebration will be presented in partnership with the National Archives and Records Administration, which administers the presidential library system, and will feature collaborations with a number of institutions including the U.S. Navy, Peace Corps and National Peace Corps Association, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, United States Postal Service, Smithsonian American Art Museum, White House Historical Association, John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site, and John F. Kennedy Airport. Centennial collaborators across Massachusetts include the Massachusetts State House, City of Boston, Town of Brookline, John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum, Boston Red Sox, Massport, Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, University of Massachusetts Boston, Brandeis University, Downtown Boston Business Improvement District, and TEDxBeaconStreet.

“President Kennedy inspired a generation that transformed America – and they in turn passed that inspiration on to their children and grandchildren,” said Jack Schlossberg, President Kennedy’s grandson. “Now, as we mark the Centennial of my grandfather’s birth, we renew his call for service, courage, innovation, and inclusion, and help a new generation use his example to embrace the challenges of our time.”

"As a teenager, I remember hearing JFK's clarion call to service -- a call that inspired me to enlist in the Navy, serve in Vietnam, and continue a career in public service,” said Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero. “I am honored that the National Archives is a lead partner in this centennial celebration, with a featured original document display and special programming year long. Working together, we can share JFK's riveting vision with a new generation."

Centennial Exhibition to Open in May 2017

In honor of President Kennedy’s centennial, in May 2017 the JFK Library will unveil a special exhibition titled “JFK at 100: Milestones and Mementos.” Featuring a compelling selection of items from the JFK Library’s collections, the exhibition will chronicle historic milestones in the President’s career and administration, as well as events of his personal and family life.

Highlights of the exhibition include family items from his childhood and adolescence; the flag from PT 109 (the boat commanded by JFK during World War II) that was replaced just a month before the boat was sunk; President Kennedy’s Cabinet chair; items relating to the Cuban Missile Crisis; and the handwritten notes jotted down by the President in preparation for his landmark address to the nation on civil rights. Several items have never before been displayed, including some of JFK’s personal belongings, such as his sunglasses, several of his ties, and gifts from his young children. The stories revealed in these materials complement the stories presented in the permanent galleries of the museum. Cumulatively, this special exhibition reflects the arc of President Kennedy’s life—the challenges, burdens, and opportunities of his life and times—as well as the sweep of history over the last century. The exhibition is slated to run through May 2018.

Centennial Activities to Run throughout 2017

The multi-faceted campaign marking the 100th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s birth will include a number of signature events and initiatives in Boston, throughout the country, and internationally. Highlights will be a global service campaign in President Kennedy’s honor; the launch of a commemorative stamp in partnership with the U.S. Postal Service; the annual Presidents’ Day Family Festival; 35 touch football games played in honor of President Kennedy and his commitment to physical fitness; the annual May Dinner gala chaired by GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt; special programming for educators including a conference titled Close to Home: Autobiographies, Memoirs and Family Stories for Young Readers & Writers; and an international digital initiative inviting people to submit photographs of places named after President Kennedy, showing the broad reach of his enduring legacy. This special year will also include a cross-generational TEDx event at the Library, a series of JFK100 symposia on college campuses focused on key areas of President Kennedy’s legacy, and a four-day weekend celebration from May 26-29, 2017 featuring events with the U.S. Navy and the Peace Corps, along with a slate of family and community-oriented activities and commemorations. 

John F. Kennedy Centennial Commission

The JFK Library’s plans will complement and support efforts by the John F. Kennedy Centennial Commission, which was established through a bi-partisan effort in Congress and is tasked with planning, developing, and carrying out activities to honor President Kennedy on his centennial.  Commission members include Senator Edward J. Markey, Congressman Joe Kennedy, Jack Schlossberg, Kennedy Library Foundation Chairman Kenneth R. Feinberg, world renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, civil rights leader Elaine Jones, the Secretary of the Interior, and others. Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero serves as an ex-officio member.

Upon establishment of the JFK Centennial Commission, Senator Markey said, “President Kennedy will always represent a bold vision for our nation's future, an idealism without illusion, a commitment to public service, and a youthful vigor and irrepressible energy that signals to the rest of the world that Americans believe that even better days for our country are always ahead of us.”

Media partners for the JFK centennial celebration are: WBUR radio and WCVB Channel 5, Boston’s News and Community leader.

Read the Commission's full report.

Visit www.jfklibrary.org for the latest announcements and calendar of events.

About the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and John F. Kennedy Library Foundation

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is one of 13 presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. It is supported, in part, by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization. The Kennedy Presidential Library and the Kennedy Library Foundation seek to promote, through educational and community programs, a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history, and culture, the process of governing and the importance of public service.

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