While there are multiple theories surrounding John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, there’s one thing that’s indisputable: it happened in Dealey Plaza, Dallas just under the Texas School Book Depository.
Today, the area of this building that is considered to be the spot where Lee Harvey Oswald made the fatal shots has been turned into the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.
If you want some background reading before you go, this book is excellent in giving you a guide to the history behind this historic and tragic event.
In this Sixth Floor Museum review, I’ll walk you through our experience at the museum, including photos, our thoughts on the information presented, and how to get tickets to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.
Before you go on, if you’re looking for other activities to do on your trip to Dallas or Fort Worth, check out this guide on the best free things to do in Dallas and Fort Worth.
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Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza History
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is now located in the Dallas County Administration Building, which is what the Texas School Book Depository was transformed into.
The museum opened in 1989, on President’s Day, in an effort to guide visitors through the life, legacy, and assassination of JFK within the context of the 1960’s.
Through the years, the museum has acquired even more artifacts and recollections of the assassination events and continues to add to its collection.
Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza Location
As mentioned, the Sixth Floor Museum is in the Dallas County Administration Building, and the actual core exhibit about JFK is located on the sixth floor.
This is the floor where Lee Harvey Oswald is thought to have shot JFK from, and the corner from which he did it is visible, but blocked off.
The Dallas County Administration Building is located on 411 Elm Street in Dallas.
How to Get Tickets to Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
There are two ways to get tickets to the Sixth Floor Museum – purchasing online ahead of time or buying on the day.
Entrance to the museum is timed, so if you want to purchase tickets on the day, you should be prepared to get a later time slot than you’re hoping for depending on how busy the museum is.
This is why I suggest buying tickets ahead of time to the Sixth Floor Museum, as you can ensure you get the tickets you want for the time you want.
To show your prepurchased tickets at the entrance, you either need to have them printed out or have them saved on your phone.
Tours of Dealey Plaza Museum
If you’re hoping for a guided tour of Dealey Plaza Museum, check out this full day JFK tour in Dallas that includes the Dealey Plaza Museum, as well as live commentary on a bus that will take you to the most important JFK sites across the city.
For a shorter tour, about 3.5 hours, this Dealey Plaza Museum and surroundings tour includes a live guide who will provide a lot more information on the museum than you’ll get on the audio guide.
Sixth Floor Museum Prices
The Sixth Floor Museum costs $18.00 for adults, $16.00 for seniors 65 and over, $14.00 for kids aged 6 to 18, and free for those under the age of 6.
There are certain discounts at the Sixth Floor Museum if you have a Dallas CityPass.
Sixth Floor Museum Times and Opening Days
The Sixth Floor Museum is open every day of the year except for Christmas Day and Thanksgiving.
Opening hours are shorter on Monday – 12pm to 6pm, and then a standard 10am to 6pm from Tuesday to Sunday.
Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza Review
We were incredibly intrigued to visit the Sixth Floor Museum, but were apprehensive for how it would be presented.
Despite being over 50 years ago, the assassination of JFK is still imprinted as a tragic day in modern American culture, and sometimes it can feel wrong going to a museum focused on a tragedy.
But, of course, if Americans and worldwide visitors aren’t educated on the life and legacy of JFK, then that history will be lost.
And that’s perhaps the worse outcome.
When you head into the museum entrance, you’re funneled into two lines depending on if you have pre-purchased tickets or are buying tickets at the entrance.
Once it’s your turn to head into the museum, you’re let into an elevator that takes you up to the sixth floor.
From there, with the help of an audio and visual guide, you tour your way around the main exhibit starting with JFK’s life and more information about the Kennedy family, following on through his run for president and inauguration, and then finally through to the day of his assassination and the investigations, rumors, and conclusion surrounding that.
We were impressed with the diverse types of artifacts on display.
There were physical artifacts, including letters and clothing, film clips which showed important parts of JFK’s life, photographs, written information, and the audio guide narrating what you were seeing.
Whether you like to process information or explore museums visually or by audio, you’ve got plenty to see and listen to.
When it came to the part of the self-guided museum tour that led to the actual assassination and where Lee Harvey Oswald is said to have positioned himself, there is a glass pane blocking off the exact corner, but you can see through to the boxes positioned in the way they would have been when he was trying to hide himself.
I thought this was a respectful way of presenting the information.
Having visitors being able to stand on the exact spot he would have seems morbid, but letting them view the scene from behind the glass, as it were, gave perspective on what happened that day without putting us right in it.
As you move along from the assassination, you can look down onto the street to see where JFK’s motorcade was passing by.
There is an “X” on the street, not placed by the Sixth Floor Museum, but there nonetheless, that shows where JFK was when he was hit by the first bullet.
After going through the first part of the museum, you can just picture the motorcade passing by and all of the happy festivities taking place.
Looking down at the street below is a sobering reminder of why the museum is there and what ended JFK’s life.
The Sixth Floor Museum also deals with the investigation surrounding the assassination and the conclusions that both the government and conspiracy theorists have made.
From small scale reproductions of the crime scene to tons of footage and film recovered from people watching from the street, the museum makes sure to illuminate the aftermath of the shooting as well and what it meant for the nation.
As you finish the self-guided tour, the museum puts forward what the official conclusions about the assassination are, as well as some alternate theories and things to consider.
It does a good job of being a comprehensive look at the investigations and what was uncovered rather than making an attempt to persuade visitors as to what the truth is.
Once you exit the core exhibit, you are asked to return your audio guide and then you can head up to the temporary exhibit space, which provides more content into particular aspects of JFK’s life, American culture in the 1960s,
Overall, the museum was incredibly interesting and seemed to showcase JFK’s life just as much as they did his death.
There is a small room showing his funeral that you can sit in in quiet, watching the reactions of heads of state and celebrities from around the world as they mourned the loss of one of America’s most-loved presidents.
Museum Bookstore and Gift Shop
Across the street from the museum is the bookstore, gift shop and cafe where you can sit down and enjoy a bite to eat with friends, or explore the 1960s themed shop featuring pop culture memorabilia, books, and films about the presidency and JFK’s life.
It is also worth heading outside of the museum to various important locations around the “Grassy Knoll” area.
You can see the memorial outside, the fence where it was speculated a shot came from, the bridge over the road which theories surround, as well as the “X” mentioned above, showing the place in the road JFK was struck.