In November of 1963, tens of thousands of people turned out to watch President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade travel down Grand Central Avenue in Tampa. Just four days before his assassination in Dallas, Kennedy became the first sitting president to visit the city.
JFK in Tampa: The Exhibition, opening Nov. 8 at the Tampa Bay History Center, aims to capture the tension and joy of that day. It will feature rare film footage and photos of Kennedy in Tampa, a lectern he used while delivering a speech at the International Inn, newspaper headlines and oral histories from locals who saw and met the president.
The exhibit also includes uniforms and badges from the Tampa Police Museum and notes from the Secret Service “Kennedy detail” which were used while escorting the president around the city.
The exhibit doesn’t involve conspiracy theories or the assassination, but is “a time capsule that captures a moment in Tampa’s history and the people that were a part of it. For them, and for the entire city, it was an emotional, magical day,” a history center news release said.
The exhibit will run for a limited time, through Dec. 8.
Admission to the Tampa Bay History Center is $12.95 for adults, $10.95 for seniors and ages 13 to 17, and $7.95 for children 4 to 12. Younger children are free.