High Hopes: The Journey of John F. Kennedy

Portrait of JFK taken in Seattle on the first day of Kennedy's presidential campaign.

March 25 – November 12, 2017

  • Free for Members
  • Family-friendly
  • Researchers
  • Teachers
  • Handicap Accessible Friendly

Location:
Oregon Historical Society
1200 SW Park Ave
Portland, Oregon 97205
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“A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.”

On November 22, 1963, the 35th President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, was assassinated while riding in a motorcade through the streets of Dallas, Texas. Kennedy’s short presidency was marked by great hope and promise but also tension and conflict. How he arrived in his position, the youngest elected president in history and the only Catholic to hold the office, is a story of both determination and privilege. The secondborn son of a political dynasty, Kennedy’s rise to power may be seen as inevitable but his ascension was hard fought as he battled against severe health problems and overcame his ailments to become a war hero then a U.S. Congressman and Senator and ultimately the leader of the free world.

While much of his life has been overshadowed by his assassination at a young age, Kennedy’s achievements during his presidency were significant and are still affecting millions of people today. This exhibition explores Kennedy’s early life, his road to the presidency, and the changes he effected during his time in office. With the high hopes of the country behind him, John F. Kennedy made a commitment to changing the world for the better and in his legacy he continues to live on.

John F. Kennedy speaking in Portland, OR  11/9/1959. Photographer unknown. CN 012309 bb008209

John F. Kennedy speaking in Portland, OR 11/9/1959. Photographer unknown.
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"Listening Intently" 1959. CN 010930 bb002695

“Listening Intently” 1959.
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Senator John F. Kennedy speaks on disarmament in Eugene, part of 1960 Presidential campaign. 4/24/1960 Oregon Journal photograph. CN 012302 bb015437

Senator John F. Kennedy speaks on disarmament in Eugene, part of 1960 Presidential campaign. 4/24/1960
Oregon Journal photograph. CN 012302 bb015437 

John F. Kennedy, at the podium in Portland. Oregon Journal photo. CN 012310 bb015383

John F. Kennedy, at the podium in Portland.
Oregon Journal photo. CN 012310 bb015383 

Kennedy with nuns at Marycrest High School. May, 1960. Sister Edmund on right, photographer CN 021687 bb008210

Kennedy with nuns at Marycrest High School. May, 1960. Sister Edmund on right, photographer
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Sen. John F. Kennedy shakes hands w/senior students at Marycrest High School during Oregon primary campaign. CN 021686 bb015433

Sen. John F. Kennedy shakes hands w/senior students at Marycrest High School during Oregon primary campaign.
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President Kennedy with LBJ, Edith Green and Marine Neuberger. CN 020534 bb006107

President Kennedy with LBJ, Edith Green and Marine Neuberger.
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Frank Sterrett, Sen. Maurine Neuberger and President John F. Kennedy at Tongue Point enroute to assess the Oregon Dunes.  Photo by Frank Sterrett for the Oregonian. 1961 Neuberger Family. OrHi 102862 ba001542

Frank Sterrett, Sen. Maurine Neuberger and President John F. Kennedy at Tongue Point enroute to assess the Oregon Dunes.
Photo by Frank Sterrett for the Oregonian. 1961 Neuberger Family. OrHi 102862 ba001542 

President John F. Kennedy, half-length portrait, seated in rocking chair, facing slightly left; RN: LC-USZ62-133121

President John F. Kennedy, half-length portrait, seated in rocking chair, facing slightly left.
RN: LC-USZ62-133121

President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy greet crowd outside National Theatre; RN: LC-USZ62-133120
President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy greet crowd outside National Theatre.
RN: LC-USZ62-133120
The First Lady stars in TV White House tour; RN: Lc-USZ62-132947

The First Lady stars in TV White House tour.
RN: Lc-USZ62-132947

Late shoppers gather around TV set displayed in San Francisco store window to view President Kennedy’s nation-wide address, July 25, 1961. RN: LC-USZ62-133061

Late shoppers gather around TV set displayed in San Francisco store window to view President Kennedy’s nation-wide address, July 25, 1961.
RN: LC-USZ62-133061

John F. Kennedy, on television, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front, addressing the nation; RN: LC-USZ62-133059

John F. Kennedy, on television, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front, addressing the nation.
RN: LC-USZ62-133059

President John F Kennedy signing bill related to women's rights. OrHi 102853 bb015434

President John F Kennedy signing bill related to women's rights.
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Student and women for peace groups marching Pioneer Post Office. Oct. 25, 1962 no. 1922 OrHi 59873 bb006483

Student and women for peace groups marching Pioneer Post Office. Oct. 25, 1962
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President John F. Kennedy in received at Astoria airport, 9-28-1963. Frank Sterrett, The Oregonian. OrHi 13198 bb000827

President John F. Kennedy in received at Astoria airport, 9/28/1963.
Frank Sterrett, The Oregonian. OrHi 13198 bb000827

 

JFK with Harry Swanson in Astoria. Photo by Frank Sterrett. OrHi 13200 bb015439

JFK with Harry Swanson in Astoria.
Photo by Frank Sterrett. OrHi 13200 bb015439 

John F Kennedy and Edith Green next to airplane. Photo by Frank Sterrett. OrHi 47017 bb015440

John F Kennedy and Edith Green next to airplane.
Photo by Frank Sterrett. OrHi 47017 bb015440 

John F Kennedy and Edith Green next to airplane. Photo by Frank Sterrett. OrHi 47017 bb015441

John F Kennedy and Edith Green next to airplane.
Photo by Frank Sterrett. OrHi 47017 bb015441

Donald E Clark with Robert F Kennedy during 1968 presidential campaign in front of OMSI. CN 020625 bb015444

Donald E Clark with Robert F Kennedy during 1968 presidential campaign in front of OMSI.
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Robert Kernnedy being questioned by Tom McCall. OrHi 101550 bb015435

Robert Kernnedy being questioned by Tom McCall.
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1968 Oregon Primary "Whistle stop train" Robert Kennedy, Edith Green and High School band members. OrHi 37439 bb004173

1968 Oregon Primary “Whistle stop train” Robert Kennedy, Edith Green and High School band members.
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Robert F. Kennedy gives a speech during his Oregon primary campaign for President. (Note the cluster of mics.) 1968. Photo by Tom Geil. Donald E. Clark Collection CN 019484 bb015438

Robert F. Kennedy gives a speech during his Oregon primary campaign for President. (Note the cluster of mics.) 1968.
Photo by Tom Geil. Donald E. Clark Collection CN 019484 bb015438

CBS News camera that filmed the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, November 24, 1963. Courtesy of the Mark Family Collection.

CBS News camera that filmed the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, November 24, 1963.
Courtesy of the Mark Family Collection. 

Kennedy’s Smith-Corona Electra typewriter, used 1960-61 and his typewriter carrying case. Courtesy of the Mark Family Collection.

Kennedy’s Smith-Corona Electra typewriter, used 1960-61 and his typewriter carrying case.
Courtesy of the Mark Family Collection.

John F. Kennedy’s rocking chair made by master craftsman Lawrence J. Arata, used 1961-63. Courtesy of the Mark Family Collection.

John F. Kennedy’s rocking chair made by master craftsman Lawrence J. Arata, used 1961-63.
Courtesy of the Mark Family Collection.

Portrait of John F. Kennedy painted by Norman Rockwell. Courtesy of the Mark Family Collection.

Portrait of John F. Kennedy painted by Norman Rockwell.
Courtesy of the Mark Family Collection.

Jacqueline Kennedy’s Carolina Herrera three-piece suit. Courtesy of the Mark Family Collection.

Jacqueline Kennedy’s Carolina Herrera three-piece suit.
Courtesy of the Mark Family Collection.

Former Governor Kulongoski Speaks at Exhibit Opening

On March 22nd, former Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski spoke at a dinner celebrating the opening of High Hopes: The Journey of John F. Kennedy, reflecting on the legacy of President Kennedy:

I appreciate the opportunity to reminisce briefly about President John F. Kennedy. This exhibit is titled “High Hopes,” and I believe that title is apt for many reasons.

On a personal note, let me begin by revealing that I didn’t vote for John Kennedy when he ran for President—not because I voted for Mr. Nixon, but because I was too young to vote. Remember when the voting age was 21 in most states? In November 1960, I wasn’t quite old enough to vote.

As most of you know, I served in the US Marine Corps. My service in Southeast Asia dovetailed with Kennedy’s presidency. Thanks to President Kennedy’s foreign policy and the GI Bill, I was able to attend college and law school—opportunities that were otherwise closed to me. That’s where I began to learn history and government, and began to appreciate the high hopes that John Kennedy brought to the White House and to the nation.

Former Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski attends a dinner celebrating the opening of “High Hopes: The Journey of John F. Kennedy” on March 22, 2017. Photo by Andie Petkus Photography.

Photo by Andie Petkus Photography.

There is something very appropriate in having a President John Kennedy exhibit at this time in our history. Each of us recognizes at those difficult times in our lives that it’s good to have a remembrance of better times. I think this is one of those times, and I am honored to say a few words at the opening of this exhibit. Because of his heritage, President Kennedy understood what was meant by America’s being The Great Melting Pot. He believed in tolerance, equality, and opportunity for all people who come to America’s shores. He believed in honor and in dignity, and that America was that great beacon of light for freedom and opportunity for all people throughout the world.

And, maybe just as important, President Kennedy believed in our ability to change the world for the better.

Just think for a moment about President Kennedy’s inaugural address: the phrase “Ask not what your country can do for you …” inspired an entire generation to enter public service and make America a better place for all of us. In the midst of the Cold War, President Kennedy gave us words of comfort, strength, and, yes, hope. He was bold in the best sense, and he called on each of us to act boldly for the greater public good.

At this point I could make some interesting comparisons with the most recent inaugural speech we’ve heard. But I leave those comparisons to you. Let me just say this: When I entered public service, my goal and my greatest hope was to act boldly for the greater public good.

I’d like to quote the final paragraph of President Kennedy’s inaugural address:

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth, God’s work must truly be our own.

Thank you, President Kennedy, for explaining to our nation the relationship between power and duty. May we—as a nation and as individuals—never forget it.

Thank you.

News Coverage

 

High Hopes: John F. Kennedy exhibit opens Saturday at Oregon Historical Society

by Stuart Tomlinson, KATU News. Wednesday, March 22nd 2017

JFK exhibit opens at Oregon Historical Society

By KOIN 6 News Staff,

A new exhibit at the Oregon Historical Society will celebrate President John F. Kennedy in what would have been the 100th year of his life. The new 6,000-square foot exhibition, “High Hopes: The Journey of John F. Kennedy” will feature hundreds of items from the president’s life and time in office. It will be the largest display of its kind outside the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

JFK: Inspiring a new generation

By Lyndsey Hewitt, Portland Tribune. March 15, 2017

People around the world are celebrating John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy's 100th birthday this year. Oregon Historical Society will unveil a comprehensive exhibit of items and photos. Aptly called "High Hopes: The Journey of John F. Kennedy," the exhibition is titled after Frank Sinatra's song of the same name used during Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign. His face and rare and cherished memorabilia will grace the walls of the Oregon Historical Society from March 25 through Nov. 12, as the society unveils a 6,000-square-foot exhibition celebrating the life of the youngest president ever elected.