joy magnetism: Openness is the essence*

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Openness is the essence*

Magnet #553 - John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Last night, Save the World Sister asked me why I'm not blogging on Ted Kennedy.

My response is two-fold. First and foremost, because it's a magnetblog, and I always feel weird blogging on someone's death. Second, I'm trying to keep from the trending topics on Twitscoop. It's weird, I know, but that's what I'm trying to do.

In the end, I can't deny a birthday request, especially for one who so very much would like to play football with the boys at A Kennedy Thanksgiving. So happy birthday, STWsis, with a birthday compromise.

This magnet is what it says - the John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, where Senator Edward M. Kennedy is lying in repose through Saturday. I'm sure he's in that grand, nine-story atrium overlooking the water. And with stormy weather on the horizon, I bet it's simply awe-inspiring.

That's actually what I thought of I.M. Pei's building when I saw it. A little imposing, a little boxy, but still a little awesome. Oddly, it feels like it's marooned out in the middle of nowhere - when you drive up, you see the big black glass box popping up. And then when you're inside, it's even cooler.

I should have known Jackie Kennedy was part of the design process - of course, she'd lean toward Pei's sophisticated, somehow modern yet somehow classic work! I love that when they spoke early on in the process, the man tried to manage her expectations, saying that he'd not done a huge monumental work yet. I love even more that she took a chance on him. And what a result!

You really must visit this museum when you're in Boston. With your ticket, you get JFK campaign stickers! I mean, really, if that's not reason enough, I dunno what is.

Your first stop is a small exhibition space for people to get their Kennedy feet wet - really, it's a crowd-holding space before the Kennedy short film that will probably make you teary. Or, sleep, if you're a tired sister. Heh.

After that, the doors open, and you begin the journey through Kennedy history. It's fabulous. I love museums that create mini-experiences for the visitors. And here, it's section after section, with each major era or decision or crisis or aspect of Jack and Jackie, and a lot of the rest of the family on display for the world to learn.

It's weird just how much you're swept away by the terrific story, even when you know there's a tragic ending. By the time you finish at the very somber end, you're a little down and sad, just in time to exit the double-doors into openness and light... walk into a quiet expanse surrounded by glass, allowing an open vista across the water to JFK's Boston. The room is empty, save for a few artifacts here and there. Pei intended the space as an area of hope, a place for quiet reflection - upon the man, his accomplishments, and what we still have left to do.

Quite powerful, really. Befitting of the man. And his brothers.

*- I.M. Pei, dedication program
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julie said...

see... that wasn't so bad. to be clear: I'M not the tired sister that fell asleep during the orientation video. i NEVER fall asleep during those. :)

also, i really liked this library/museum, but it's true... i'm a sucker for anything kennedy. how could anyone NOT want to play football with them at their thanksgivings??? seriously... that would be the ONE (count 'em - 1) thing that would bring me back to Boston for more than a second.

Your Nose Is Quite Big said...

KENNEDYYYYYYYSSSSSSS!!! I have to go there sometime. I love all the history in Boston, and just need to go back sometime when I'm not three years old. :)

(Not that you're not already one of my favorite people. But now if you were to blog on Bobby...) ;)

Great entry, and now I really really wanna go to the library (even more!)

joy said...

Hee. I knew the two of you would like this post!

Honestly, I think Bobby's the one I know least about - even after that movie that Pacey was in about his assassination. Maybe one day.