Last evening the Newseum welcomed some of the nation’s leading historians to discuss the legacy of our 35th president, John F. Kennedy.
The program celebrated the centennial of JFK’s birth year, one of the many events marking the anniversary. One of the panelists was Stephen Kennedy Smith, Kennedy’s nephew, who co-authored the new book, “JFK: A Vision for America.” He was joined by historians Robert Dallek, Fredrik Logevall and Ted Widmer.
The conversation roved over the defining moments of Kennedy’s presidency, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Bay of Pigs Invasion and the creation of the Peace Corps. The panelists also discussed how Kennedy would fare in today’s media landscape, and his interactions with the press. Despite frustrations, Kennedy maintained mostly positive media relations, even holding the first televised news conference against the advice of his staff.
The panelists drew insightful comparisons between Kennedy and former President Obama (both charismatic leaders with a penchant for public speaking) and Kennedy and President Trump (both faced parallel issues in their presidencies).
The program also served as an opportunity to announce the return of one of the Newseum’s most popular exhibits, “Creating Camelot: The Kennedy Photography of Jacques Lowe.” The stunning photo exhibit, which was first at the Newseum in 2013, showcases more than 70 intimate and iconic images of the president and his family. These photos, taken by Kennedy’s personal photographer Jacques Lowe, helped establish the legend of Kennedy’s presidency known as Camelot.
“Creating Camelot” opens at the Newseum on Sept. 29, 2017, and will run until Jan. 7, 2018. The images on display are actually painstakingly restored contact sheets and prints, as the original negatives were lost in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, where they were stored in a vault. In addition to painting a compelling picture of one of the nation’s most illustrious presidents, the exhibit explores how Lowe’s images were used in the news media.