John F. Kennedy NHS Launches Cell Phone and Virtual Tour
Contact: Jim Roberts, 617-566-7937 x10
Brookline, MA – John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site, located at 83 Beals Street in Brookline, Massachusetts, invites you to step back into 1917 and share Mrs. Rose Kennedy’s memories of her family’s early home via your cell phone. The cell phone tour is free. Normal usage rates apply. To access the tour, dial 617-992-9172. A virtual tour can be accessed via the web at myoncell.mobi/16179929172.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site preserves the birthplace (1917) and boyhood home of the 35th president of the United States. The modest house was the first home shared by the president’s father and mother, Joseph P. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. John, the second of nine children, spent his formative years in Brookline as his family began its rise to national prominence. In 1966, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy returned to 83 Beals Street to commemorate his life, restoring the birthplace to her recollection of its 1917 appearance.
According to Mrs. Kennedy, it was her “intention and hope to make a gift of this home to the American people so that future generations would be able to visit…and get a better appreciation of the history of this wonderful country.”
In an effort to capture Mrs. Kennedy’s memories of that period, the National Park Service produced an audio tour of the birthplace in which she describes family activities and furnishings, and shares personal anecdotes that convey the spirit of the place.
Mrs. Kennedy’s distinctly personal reminiscences allow visitors to imagine the early influences that helped shape the character and ambitions of America’s 35th president. The National Park Service has cared for the John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site since its dedication in 1969. Today, National Park Service rangers provide tours of the nine-room house museum where Kennedy family furnishings, photographs, and significant mementos personally collected and arranged by the president’s mother are on exhibit. The taped narrative, featuring Mrs. Kennedy in her own words, is a unique and evocative addition to both the ranger-led and self-guided tours.
The site reopens to visitors for the summer season on Sunday, May 22. Visitor hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. Ranger-guided house tours are offered from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm, with the final tour at 3:30 pm. From 4:00 to 5:00, visitors are welcome to follow a self-guided tour through the first and second floors of the house. Hand-held audio-players are available so that visitors may follow Mrs. Kennedy’s tour in English, French, German, Spanish, and Japanese. Admission to the site is free.
A small visitor center in the house basement offers exhibits, a film, a bookstore, and a restroom. A self-guided tour of the neighborhood is also included in the site brochure and gives visitors the opportunity to see other nearby sites associated with the Kennedy family, including a second home in Brookline, the location of the family’s Catholic church, schools which John Kennedy attended, and the Coolidge Corner shopping district.
Did You Know?
Like many middle-class families in Brookline, the Kennedy’s relied upon the many contributions of live-in domestic help. Mary O’Donaghue and Alice Michelan, two first-generation Americans, cooked, cleaned and cared for the children, enabling the family to live their version of the American dream.