The Sixth Floor Museum announces the release of a new digital web-based experience for exploring the history of Dealey Plaza. The Dealey Plaza National Historic Landmark District interactive guide offers a variety of multimedia features to explore the history of Dealey Plaza and the events that happened there on November 22, 1963.
In addition to a narrated walking tour to help visitors navigate the site of the Kennedy assassination, the guide also includes an interactive map detailing places of historic interest in and around the Plaza and two visual stories that explore the memorialization of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the history of Dealey Plaza beginning with the founding of Dallas. Films, photographs, oral histories and other historical content from the Museum’s collections are featured throughout the guide.
The interactive guide is free to anyone, anywhere at dealeyplaza.jfk.org and is available in both English and Spanish. The guide went live on Monday, November 16, 2020.
During the summer months when the Museum was closed as a result of the community-wide coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic lockdown, staff began transitioning some of our core storytelling traditionally experienced inside the Museum to a virtual platform. The development of a user-friendly digital guide to the historic sites surrounding the Museum helps fulfill our goal of making historical content more accessible to broader audiences—as well as fulfilling the Museum’s mission to interpret Dealey Plaza.
This digital experience marks the first time that a comprehensive view of the long history of Dealey Plaza—the site where Dallas was founded—is explored in an interactive and digital format and is accessible to anyone in the world at no cost. The information presented in the guide goes as far back in time as 1841 and the founding of Dallas by John Neely Bryan and covers events in the Plaza through this summer’s protests for social and racial justice. The guide complements existing historic markers in the Plaza but offers additional context and access to primary sources such as photographs, films and oral histories.
The guide is designed to be responsive across different device types, adapting to different screen sizes and orientations. Nicola Longford, CEO of The Sixth Floor Museum, says about the digital experience, “The Museum is pleased to bring this project to life for the Dallas community. Whether you have a little bit of time or a lot of time and whether you are in Dealey Plaza in person or taking advantage of this from afar, the guide will enlighten and educate you and your family about the fascinating history of Dealey Plaza and Dallas.” She continued, “The Museum is committed to deeper engagement with our community constituents, and we are proud to share this latest example of our storytelling initiatives. In particular, it is vitally important that this history-based digital work is easily accessible to both English and Spanish speakers. Lastly, this project was developed with input from several community partners, including the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture; the City of Dallas Park and Recreation Department; the Dallas Parks Foundation; and Dallas Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation and we send them our deepest appreciation. We also gratefully acknowledge the use of archival resources from the Dallas Historical Society, the History and Archives Division of the Dallas Public Library, the Dallas Morning News and University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.”
There are four components to the guide; users can choose from among them or participate in all of them for a more immersive experience:
Friday, November 22, 1963 is a multimedia, narrated walking tour of the final moments of the presidential motorcade as it entered and proceeded through Dealey Plaza. The tour takes users back to the day of the assassination through films, photographs, contemporary news broadcasts and oral history interviews. It includes seven stops in the Plaza, beginning at the corner of Elm and Houston Streets and concluding in front of the 50th anniversary monument in the pergola on the north side of Elm Street. It takes approximately 20 minutes to complete the walking tour.
Explore the Plaza is an interactive map that offers a self-guided, self-paced exploration of 17 different points of historic interest in and near the Plaza. The stops range from the Kennedy Memorial to the east of the Plaza and Martyrs Park to the west, on the other side of the Triple Underpass. Multiple images and films are provided for each location to provide historical and visual context. Several locations of particular interest are marked for visitors to the Plaza who may be short on time.
The Front Door of Dallas is a visual story tracing the history of the Dealey Plaza site from the founding of Dallas to the present day. It takes approximately 3 to 5 minutes to experience this slideshow.
Facing Tragedy is a visual story that chronicles the ways Dallas has honored President Kennedy and memorialized the assassination and other tragic moments in the city’s history. The story includes the founding of The Sixth Floor Museum. It takes approximately 3 to 5 minutes to experience this slideshow.
The Museum created the experience with Storycrafter, a cloud-based platform for building digital stories. Storycrafter is a product of Terra Incognita Productions, a studio that produces interactive media projects for museums, visitor centers and non-profits. The Museum previously collaborated with Terra Incognita on several projects, most recently the interactive motorcade map at jfk.org/the-assassination/motorcade.