For JFK, Hyannis was home, haven and political headquarters
New JFK Hyannis Museum exhibit focuses on President Kennedy’s Cape Cod connections, 100 years after his birth
Despite his privileged life—or perhaps because of it—President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was a bit of a nomad. Having lived at 37 addresses during his all-too-short 46 years, Jack Kennedy averaged a move every 1.25 years.
But if there was anywhere that Kennedy called home, it was Hyannis Port. So as nations around the world, especially the United States, prepare to observe the centennial of President Kennedy’s birth in 2017, it’s fitting that the JFK Hyannis Museum honors the 35th president’s enduring legacy with JFK at 100: Life & Legacy, a special exhibit that opens Monday, May 29— Kennedy’s birthday.
“The Kennedy Compound is iconic; it’s the Buckingham Palace of the U.S.,” says John Allen, executive director of the museum, which interprets the JFK story through the lens of his life on Cape Cod. “The Kennedys are synonymous with the Cape,” Allen adds, “and the Cape is synonymous with the Kennedys.”
Whether it was at his parents’ Marchant Avenue mansion—or at the nearby Irving Avenue abode that he and Jackie later shared—Hyannis Port was the closest Kennedy ever came to a long-term home. Perhaps, most importantly, this coastal haven introduced young Jack Kennedy to one of the great loves of his life: the ocean.
“I really don’t know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it’s because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it’s because we all came from the sea,” President Kennedy said in a 1962 address to the America’s Cup sailing crews in Newport, Rhode Island. “And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins, the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears.
“We are tied to the ocean,” Kennedy added. “And when we go back to the sea—whether it is to sail or to watch it—we are going back from whence we came.”
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