In the 1960 campaign, John F. Kennedy pledged "to get this country moving again," and offered voters a new generation of leadership.  He challenged his fellow citizens to join him in the struggle for freedom in the perilous years of the Cold War.  On Inauguration Day, January 20, 1961, nearly one million people in the nation's capitol braved the subfreezing temperatures to catch a glimpse of the new President they had elected.  A snowstorm had left the city glittering in the winter's light.  The hard issues of the day---the Communist threat, a nuclear arms race, racial unrest, and economic distress---awaited the President and the nation.  But January 20th would be a day of celebration---all sunshine and possibility---when a bold, young leader took to the world stage and stood poised at the edge of a promise.

 President-elect and Mrs. Kennedy arrive at the Inaugural Gala, January 19, 1961
Copyright: © Estate of Jacques Lowe

This exhibit includes the top hat and gloves the President-elect wore during that cold January day, the evening gown Jacqueline Kennedy wore to the gala, and a series of photographs -- never before seen or published -- showing the people who braved the subfreezing temperatures of January 20, 1961, to catch a glimpse of the new President and First Lady.


Inaugural Exhibit Items

Inaugural Parade, 20 January 1961John F. Kennedy addressing a Joint Convention of the General Court of the Commonwealth of MassachusettsInvitation to the Inauguration of President John F. Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson on January 20, 1961President-Elect and Mrs. Kennedy leave their Georgetown home on Inauguration morning, January 20, 1961Top HatPresident-elect and Mrs. Kennedy arrive at the Inaugural Gala, January 19, 1961 Ivory Evening GownInaugural Ball, 20 January 1961PX65-108-CC18209  JFK Inaugural Address
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Inaugural Parade, 20 January 1961

Inaugural Address, 20 January 1961

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Color footage of John F. Kennedy being sworn-in by Chief Justice Earl Warren followed by President Kennedy's inaugural address.