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2013 Archives

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza and SMU
Commemorate Presidents' Day with
'JFK, History and the Politics of Memory'

Historians Will Use the 50th Anniversary of President Kennedy’s Assassination
as a Forum for Exploring the Role Politics Play in Understanding the Past

January 29, 2013

DALLAS (SMU) — As we change, so do our memories. Three preeminent scholars of American history will utilize Presidents' Day and the upcoming 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination as a springboard for examining the changing nature of memory in “JFK, History and the Politics of Memory.”

President John F. KennedyPresented by The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza and Southern Methodist University’s John G. Tower Center for Political Studies and The Center for Presidential History, it will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, February 19, 2013, at The Sixth Floor Museum.

The program will feature Edward T. Linenthal, Professor of History at University of Indiana Bloomington, and Timothy Naftali, Senior Research Fellow with the New America Foundation's National Security Studies program, both of whom have written extensively on the topic. Their conversation will be moderated by SMU presidential historian Jeffrey A. Engel.

The 50th anniversary of the assassination presents a unique opportunity to reflect upon the changing nature of history and how it affects our own recollections and understanding of milestones. How has politics shaped our collective memory about this crucial 20th century event?  How has our thinking about the tragedy been shaped by the media, ongoing investigations and the passage of time?  What does this process tell us about what we choose to remember, what we forget and what we ultimately memorialize? Together the noted historians will explore the role that the politics of memory play in understanding the past.

“JFK, History and the Politics of Memory” is the first in a yearlong series of collaborative programs between The Sixth Floor Museum and SMU commemorating the assassination’s anniversary. This is the third consecutive year both have partnered to present a panel discussion surrounding Presidents Day.

Tickets for the program are $25 per person. A combination ticket that provides access to The Sixth Floor Museum on the day of the event is $35. Tickets may be purchased online at through February 17, 2013. Seating is limited. The Sixth Floor Museum is located at 411 Elm Street in Dallas’ West End District. For more information, go to or call 214.747.6660.

About the Presenters

Edward T. LinenthalEdward T. Linenthal is Professor of History at University of Indiana Bloomington and Editor of the Journal of American History.  He has written several books on the role of memory and commemoration and the effect of public discourse at sites such as Little Big Horn, Gettysburg and Pearl Harbor.  His most recent book examined the impact of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the way that community memorialized the tragedy and continues to grieve and heal.

Timothy NaftaliTimothy Naftali is a Senior Research Fellow with the New America Foundation's National Security Studies program.  Prior to that appointment he served as Director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum and as Director of the Presidential Recordings Program at the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs.  He has written widely about the Cold War in the 1960s and is currently completing a book about the presidency of John F. Kennedy.

Jeffrey A. EngelJeffrey A. Engel is founding Director of Southern Methodist University's Center for Presidential History and a Senior Fellow in the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies.  He has published widely on the Cold War, the Gulf War and national security.  He is currently writing a history of George H.W. Bush and the end of the Cold War.

Media Contacts:

Carol H. Murray, APR
Assoc. Director of Marketing and Public Relations
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
Phone: 214-747-6660 ext. 5589; Cell: 817-723-9065

Christina Voss
Public Information Officer
SMU News and Communications
Phone: 214-768-7641


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