JFK at the Abraham Lincoln Museum

I’ve always been a fan of Jackie Kennedy’s sense of style. I admit I looked forward to the chance to see the new exhibit “American Visionary” that will officially open tomorrow. The opening of the exhibit is Friday, February 15, 2019 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM) at 10:00 a.m.

The exhibit will be in place until May 19, 2019.

The unveiling

American visionary
The exhibit it titled “American Visionary: john F. Kennedy’s Life and Times”

When I got the chance to attend the media preview I went. There I saw the unveiling of the exhibit titled “American Visionary:  John F. Kennedy’s Life and Times”. 

The exhibit was opened by Alan Lowe,executive director of the ALPLM and Lawrence Schiller, photographer, writer and director

This exhibit offers a close up view of the life of President John F. Kennedy and his family. The idea of this exhibit Lawrence Schiller explained was, “To tell the story of the life of JFK in a non adversarial way. This gives the slightly inside look in emotional chronology.”

What you will see

American visionary
Candid photos make this exhibit riveting.

Many of the photographs are in black and white. There are a few pictures in vivid color. There are newspaper clippings and quotes bringing legacy of President Kennedy’s life and his family and Presidency into perspective.

I loved the candid aspect of the pictures. They are arranged in chronological order. Photos are sourced from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, and Getty Images. Pictures also come from private collections along with photos from the Kennedy family archives. 

Lawrence Schiller’s Kennedy Connection

American Visionary
I was awe struck by the legendary Lawrence Schiller.

Besides being awed at the exhibit, I was star struck by the opportunity to meet Lawrence Schiller of Wiener Schiller. Mr. Schiller has written for Paris Match, Times and Life. He photographed Bobby Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and other famous figures.

Schiller has written books with Norman Mailer and more. He is a living legend and getting the chance to speak with him was pretty amazing for this farmer’s wife!

I was as awed by the opportunity to meet him as much as I was to see the exhibit.  Mr. Schiller’s story is extraordinary. His Kennedy connection was through Peter Lawford (who was married to Patricia Kennedy).  While he knew JFK, he said he said, “I knew Bobby more than JFK.”

Schiller photographed Lee Harvey Oswald and interviewed Jack Ruby. He was in the thick of the JFK assassination, so this his story as well. He is responsible for curating this traveling exhibit. Those in the central Illinois area have a chance to see these pictures and witness this history in person now that the exhibit is making an impact in the Land of Lincoln.


I thought it was pretty cool that the ALPLM just had a poster contest. The contest tied art and history together. I saw this quote from JFK in the exhibit. “Art is the great democrat calling forth creative genius from every sector of society, disregarding race or religion or wealth or color.”

Always a fan of art and what it can do for a street, a wall, or a park, I found this touching. I loved the aspect of some of JFK’s quotes as part of the exhibit. 


A more detailed article will be in an upcoming issue of the Prairieland Buzz about this exhibit. Check it out for more information about this astounding opportunity to learn about the life and times of JFK!

Plan your visit to the museum to see this extraordinary “American Visionary” story unfold in photographs.

For more information visit www.PresidentLincoln.illinois.gov

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