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Exploring History: A Journey Through Time at the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

An outstanding museum dedicated to the solemn and historic event that occurred on November 22, 1963, is located within the former Texas School Book Depository building. Travel there with PullOverandLetMeOut to discover why the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is a must-see attraction when visiting Dallas.
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Hi, I’m Anna Marie. I’m a wife, mother, Irish dancer, and pug mom living in North Carolina. I also love to travel. Come along for the ride! If you see something you like, don’t be afraid to say, ‘Pull over and let me out.’

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza attracts visitors from around the world to experience and learn first-hand about the events that took place in Dallas on November 22, 1963, that would forever change the course of history. The popular tourist attraction serves up a moving experience that lets visitors take a deep dive into the assassination of the thirty-fifth president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, in the actual location where these tragic events took place. This one-of-a-kind museum is a must-see attraction in Dallas that will leave a lasting impression.

Dealey Plaza in Dallas
Dealey Plaza

Exploring Dealey Plaza

Whether you arrive at Dealey Plaza before you visit the museum or you save it for afterwards, you will want to spend some time exploring the area. There is plenty to see to gain a better understanding of the events of November 22, 1963.

The Grassy Knoll, the overpass, the fountain, and the famous intersection where the motorcade turned onto Elm Street from Houston, are all interesting places to visit. There are markings on the road to signify where the first and second hits were. While we were there several people stepped into the street to take photographs. I don’t suggest doing that especially since this is a busy traffic area.

Having seen it so many times in movies and documentaries, it’s fascinating to be there in person to gain perspective and a clearer picture of the area.  Our group spent a while strolling around, reading the informational plaques, and simply taking in the scene.

one of the informational signs at Dealey Plaza
Dealey Plaza is well-marked with information about the JFK assassination.
The Grassy Knoll in Dallas
The Grassy Knoll
a large "X" in the road
"X" indicates where the second hit shot was.

Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is located in the former Texas School Book Depository building at 411 Elm Street. The non-profit museum which opened in 1989, chronicles the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Visitors ride the elevator that takes them to the sixth floor where the journey through the historic timeline commences.

The museum is replete with information, artifacts, and photographs detailing the events of the day. From JFK’s arrival at Love Field to the fateful moments in Dealey Plaza and the chain of events which followed are expertly outlined for guests.

entrance to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
The museum entrance.

"Two Days in Texas"

Our time at the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza coincided with the special exhibition in place to commemorate the 60th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. “Two Days in Texas” is a comprehensive timeline that follows the events of that pivotal day in American history. The exhibit runs from November 8, 2023 to June 16, 2024.

“Two Days in Texas” is rather heavy on reading, so if you’re not into reading or you’re traveling with people who prefer not to spend time reading, you may want to keep that in mind. Fortunately for me, our group was up for the task and really took time to read and absorb the information.

Moreover, we appreciated seeing some of the artifacts including a replica of the shot gun Oswald allegedly used, Jack Ruby’s fedora, and many other items associated with the events surrounding that day.

people reading an exhibit in a museum
The exhibits are fact-filled.
Jack Ruby's fedora in a glass case
Jack Ruby's fedora is one of many artifacts on display.

The Investigation

the sixth floor window at the Texas School Book Depository
The sixth floor window.

A highlight of time spent at the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is seeing the infamous sixth-floor window where Oswald purportedly fired the rifle. Additionally, there is an interactive video there that allows amateur sleuths to study and analyze the location, the timing of the gunshots, the position of the vehicle, the tree that would have obstructed Oswald’s field of vision, and more.

I especially liked viewing the replica bolt action rifle as well as the scale model used by the FBI as part of its investigation. It was fascinating to see how they recreated the crime scene in the days before 3D computer graphics.

Likewise, I spent several minutes evaluating everything and have come to my amateur conclusion about whether or not Oswald was a lone gunman or if things simply don’t add up. But I won’t divulge my conclusions here. I’ll let you form your own opinion when you visit the museum.

window at the Texas School Book Depository Building
The interactive video lets guests analyze the timing of events and the alleged shooter's perspective.
copy 6.5 x 52 mm Italian Carcano M91/38 bolt-action rifle
A copy of the 6.5 x 52 mm Italian Carcano M91/38 bolt-action rifle
FBI scale model of Dealey Plaza
FBI scale model used for the official investigation.
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The Sixth Floor Museum is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Wednesdays through Sundays, and timed tickets must be booked in advance. You should plan on spending at least an hour to two hours exploring the exhibits.

Other Things to See Nearby

In addition to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, there are multiple things to see within walking distance of the old School Book Depository Building.

For starters, Dealey Plaza itself. On Houston Street you’ll find the 3.1 acre special use park replete with a fountain and memorial areas. This part of the west end is sometimes referred to as the “birthplace of Dallas and features a statue of the plaza’s namesake, George B. Dealey.  Dealey was a businessman and the long time publisher of the Dallas Morning News. He played an integral part in the city’s history and development.

Across the street from the fountain is the Old Red Courthouse. Built of rusticated sandstone, this captivating building with its unique architectural style attracts visitors from all over. Inside, there is also a museum called the Old Red Museum where tourists may explore and learn about this historic courthouse.

Dealey Plaza memorial park
Dealey Plaza established in 1935

JFK Memorial Plaza

Located at 646 Main Street, a short walk from Dealey Plaza is the JFK Memorial Plaza.  Designed by renowned American architect Philip Johnson, this is a unique memorial dedicated to the late president.

Johnson designed it to be a cenotaph, or “open tomb” that “symbolizes the freedom of President Kennedy’s spirit.” It’s a truly unusual structure in its simplicity and intended to be a place of contemplation and remembrance.

JFK Memorial Plaza
JFK Memorial Plaza

Bryan Cabin

Enveloped by the busy city surroundings stands this rustic log cabin. The cabin is a reconstruction of the cabin that belonged to the city’s first resident, John Neely Bryan. This is where Dallas began.

The famous resident lived in a one room cabin close to the current cabin’s location. Bryan played an essential role in the city’s development and this cabin stands in honor of his significant contributions.

a log cabin
John Neely Bryan Cabin

Tips for Planning Your Visit to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

If you’re in the Dallas area, a visit to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is an excellent itinerary item.

Timed tickets can be purchased in advance online. Entry to the museum is timed on the half hour so that the sixth and seventh floors where the exhibits are displayed don’t become too crowded.

You will definitely want to give yourself at least an hour to two hours to fully explore and study the exhibits.

As I mentioned, there is a great deal to read and absorb. The current exhibit follows a chronological time line. That being said, there are spots where it isn’t always clear where to go next. We ended up getting separated because of this, but reunited once again at the elevator where we started.

There is parking available at the museum for a fee. We took an Uber from our hotel a couple of miles away and were dropped off right outside for roughly the same price as parking.

Additionally, there are a few restaurants and eateries close by should you be up for a meal while you’re downtown. We dined at Chimala Taco Bar located at 701 Commerce Street. Their website boasts they are a “tribute to the great and delicious Jalisco, México cuisine.” I savored a delightful lunch featuring some yummy authentic Texas tacos.

Texas School Book Depository Building
The Texas School Book Depository Building

Parting Thoughts

When we arrived at the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza and took the elevator to the sixth floor the mood changed.

Of note, there is a respectful silence that is observed on the sixth floor. The nature of the assassination and the location deliver an unspoken quality that everyone who gathers here recognizes. The hushed tones add to the heaviness of the subject matter and deepens the experience of visiting such a monumental place.

While there is great conjecture over the details and specifics of the JFK assassination, the impact it had forever changed the course of this country’s history. Encountering this place drives that home.

As we took the elevator back down and departed through the gift shop, I left determined to learn more, read more, and try to better understand the events that transpired in Dallas sixty years ago. I came away with the knowledge that this is one of those places that will stay with me for years to come. Sure, the subject matter is heavy, but it’s profound and important, and I’m glad I went.

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

elevator to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
The elevator to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

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Exploring History: A Journey Through Time at the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

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