We stand today on the edge of a New Frontier, the Frontier of the 1960's, a Frontier of unknown opportunities and perils, a frontier of unfilled hopes and threats." — John F. Kennedy, Democratic Acceptance Speech, 1960
About the Exhibit
After narrowly losing the vice presidential nomination in 1956, Senator John F. Kennedy sought the presidency in 1960. After hard-fought primary victories, JFK won his party’s nomination and faced-off against sitting Vice President Richard Nixon. This exhibit invites the public to relive one of history’s most exciting and energetic presidential campaigns by accompanying Senator John F. Kennedy as he crisscrosses the country bringing his message of a “New Frontier” directly to the voters during the 1960 run for the presidency.
The Museum recreates the sights and sounds of the 1960 Democratic National Convention and the main streets of America traveled by candidates Kennedy and Nixon. Listen as Senator John F. Kennedy accepts his party’s nomination at the 1960 Democratic National Convention. Walk down Main Street USA and feel the energy of the Kennedy campaign as Frank Sinatra sings campaign songs "High Hopes" and "All the Way!" Step back into a reproduction of the Chicago television studio where and see the television coverage of the first debate between JFK and Nixon. Stay up late with Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, and Chet Huntley as they report election-night returns and reveal how close a race it really was.
In the hard-fought primaries prior to the Democratic nominating convention and in the general election campaign against Vice President Richard Nixon that followed, candidate Kennedy was assisted by his large and enthusiastic family, by a relatively young but seasoned team of aides and political operatives, and by countless volunteers across the country. Together they brought the message of “The New Frontier” to the voting public, making it possible for Senator John F. Kennedy to eventually claim victory in one of the closest presidential contests in American History.
On display is a recreation of a Kennedy Campaign office filled with campaign paraphernalia and a display of buttons, posters, and handouts which were produced during the course of the campaign. Also on display is the original TelePrompter text used by Senator John F. Kennedy while delivering his acceptance speech at the 1960 Democratic National Convention, the actual audio control and television camera used by CBS affiliate WBBM-TV for the first televised Presidential debate between Kennedy and Nixon in 1960, and a map of the election return results.
See more highlights in the Campaign Exhibit Slideshow.