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Contact: Jim Roberts, 617-566-7937
Brookline, Mass. – Brookline is the hub of activity for the celebration of President John F. Kennedy’s 100th birthday on Monday, May 29. John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site, the JFK birthplace, and several partner organizations have put together a lineup of activities throughout the day and evening to commemorate this important anniversary involving our 35th President of the United States. For information on particular programs, please contact John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site at 617-566-7937 or visit www.nps.gov/jofi.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site (Kennedy NHS), at 83 Beals Street, Brookline, will be the primary venue for the daytime activities. The site opens at 9:30 am and will offer self-guided tours from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. Admission is free throughout the day.
A series of special public programs will take place outside Kennedy NHS. From 1:00 to 2:00 pm, special guests will read excerpts of important Kennedy speeches included in the newly-published book JFK: A Vision for America by Stephen Kennedy Smith and Douglas Brinkley. At 2:00 pm an unveiling of the JFK “Forever” stamp by the U.S. Postal Service will open the ceremony. From 2:00 to 3:00 pm, additional guests will participate in a commemoration honoring President Kennedy’s life and impact on America. Congressman Joe Kennedy III will deliver the keynote at the 2:00 pm ceremony, and readers of speeches at 1:00 include former Massachusetts Governor and First Lady Michael S. Dukakis and Kitty Dukakis, Juliette Kayyem, Judge Nancy Gertner, State Senator Cynthia Creem, and former Deputy NASA Admnistrator Dava Newman.
The formal portion of the afternoon will end with a 3:00 pm fly-over by U.S. Navy fighter jets to commemorate the actual time that President Kennedy was born in the 83 Beals Street house on May 29, 1917. Following the flyover, a flute ensemble from Brookline Music School will perform.
At 3:30 pm, New York’s Tin Pan Trio will present American music from the 1914 to 1920 time period the Kennedy family lived at 83 Beals Street. Tin Pan Trio specializes in American roots music, with elements of jazz, blues, and country. They have put out seven CDs, including the 2017 release “City Life.” The trio has performed at Arthur Ashe Stadium for the US Open Tennis finals, New York’s Guggenheim Museum, and at various National Park Service sites, as well as on the Today Show. They are excited to be performing their inaugural concert in Brookline on this auspicious day.
The speeches, ceremony, stamp cancelation, and music all take place on Beals Street outside John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site. The public is invited, and there is no admission charge. Beals Street will be closed to through traffic from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. Following Kennedy NHS’s closing for the day at 5:00 pm, the focus will turn to other parts of Brookline. At 7:00 pm the Coolidge Corner Theatre is showing the acclaimed movie Apollo 13 in honor of JFK’s leadership of the space program. Also at 7:00 pm, Brookline resident and Fireplace restaurant owner Jim Solomon is presenting a 1960s-style sock hop dance party at Brookline High School’s Schuntz Gym. A DJ will present danceable music from the period of Kennedy’s presidency (1961-1963). There are admission charges for these two evening events.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy NHS preserves the birthplace and early boyhood home of the 35th President of the United States. The modest house was the first home shared by the president’s parents, Joseph P. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. John F. Kennedy, the second of nine children, spent his formative years in Brookline as his family began its rise to national prominence. In 1967, Mrs. Kennedy returned to 83 Beals Street to commemorate her son’s life, recreating his birthplace to her recollection of its 1917 appearance.
Today, National Park Rangers provide tours of the nine-room house where Kennedy family furnishings, photographs, and mementos personally collected and arranged by the president’s mother are on exhibit. In addition to ranger-guided tours, John Fitzgerald Kennedy NHS invites visitors to step back in time and share Mrs. Kennedy’s memories of her family’s early home via cell phone; normal usage rates apply. One can also take a virtual range-led tour of the site and another of the North Brookline neighborhood. To access these tours, dial 617-992-9172. The tours can also be accessed via the web at https://jofi.oncell.com.
During the May to October visitor season, park rangers offer guided tours of the house and JFK’s boyhood neighborhood. Children ages 5 12 can participate in the site’s Junior Ranger program. Printed materials, including brochures and tour books, are available in Chinese, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Russian, Hungarian, Spanish and Vietnamese.
In commemoration of the centennial of John F. Kennedy’s birth, Kennedy NHS is featuring a new exhibit on JFK’s political legacy. John Fitzgerald Kennedy: The First One Hundred Years highlights his administration’s achievements in human rights, conservation and preservation, foreign affairs, humanitarian aid, and space exploration. Also debuting this May is a brand new orientation film to celebrate the site’s 50th anniversary year and JFK100 in Brookline. For further information, please call 617-566-7937 or visit www.nps.gov/jofi.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy NHS is located just outside Coolidge Corner at 83 Beals Street in Brookline, Massachusetts. The site is a ½ mile-walk from the Coolidge Corner T-Stop (Green Line, C-Cleveland Circle). Free on-street parking is available on Beals Street for up to two (2) hours. For more information please call (617) 566-7937, or visit www.nps.gov/jofi.