Portals to history

Dallas museum launches free digital guide to explore JFK history from home

Dallas museum launches free digital guide to explore JFK history

Sixth Floor Museum
The Sixth Floor Museum has a new digital interactive guide that covers the history of Dealey Plaza. Photo courtesy of Sixth Floor Museum

The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas has introduced a new free digital online experience that allows people to explore the history of Dealey Plaza and the events that happened there on November 22, 1963 without ever leaving home.

The Dealey Plaza National Historic Landmark District interactive guide offers a variety of multimedia features, most notably Friday, November 22, 1963, a narrated walking tour that lets visitors navigate the site of the Kennedy assassination. The tour goes through the final moments of the presidential motorcade as it entered and proceeded through Dealey Plaza. It features films, photographs, contemporary news broadcasts, and an oral history, highlighting seven stops in the plaza.

The three other components of the guide include:

  • Explore the Plaza, an interactive map that offers a self-guided, self-paced exploration of 17 different points of historic interest in and near the plaza.
  • The Front Door of Dallas, a visual story tracing the history of the Dealey Plaza site from the founding of Dallas to the present day.
  • Facing Tragedy, a visual story that chronicles the ways Dallas has honored President Kennedy and memorialized the assassination and other tragic moments in the city’s history.

The guide takes around 30-40 minutes to complete, depending on how much time a user spends in any particular section.

“The museum is pleased to bring this project to life for the Dallas community," said Nicola Longford, CEO of The Sixth Floor Museum, in a statement. "Whether you have a little bit of time or a lot of time and whether you are in Dealey Plaza in person or taking advantage of this from afar, the guide will enlighten and educate you and your family about the fascinating history of Dealey Plaza and Dallas.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, museum staff began transitioning some of their core storytelling traditionally experienced inside the museum to a virtual platform. The development of a user-friendly digital guide to the historic sites surrounding the museum was part of a goal of making historical content more accessible to broader audiences, they say.

The digital experience marks the first time that a comprehensive view of the long history of Dealey Plaza — the site where Dallas was founded — is explored in an interactive and digital format and is accessible to anyone in the world at no cost. The information presented in the guide goes as far back in time as 1841 and the founding of Dallas by John Neely Bryan and covers events in the plaza through the protests for social and racial justice in summer 2020.

The guide, which can be easily viewed on different devices, including computers, tablets, and smartphones, is available at dealeyplaza.jfk.org in both English and Spanish.