Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Hanging out with JFK

Jill Silverberg

Did you know that just a short bus ride away from the JFK T stop on the red line is the JFK Presidential Library and Museum? Did you also know that the papers and writings of Ernest Hemmingway are also stored there?


Well, neither did I. That was, at least, until I went on a field trip with my Preservation Management class last Thursday. Yea, that’s right, I went on a FIELD TRIP! Ms. Frizzle from¬†The Magic School Bus¬†would have been super proud of my class.


Not only did we get to learn about the responsibilities and skills required to be an archivist and deputy curator to a Presidential Library, but we also learned about the JFK Library’s disaster plan and how it was tested during an actual disaster that happened last year. For those who don’t know, the library had a fire last April and though smoke, water, and firefighter damage was great, the library and museum did not lose a single item. Now that’s what I call impressive. Considering that my course, Preservation Management, has been all about learning how to handle and treat archival and library materials and keep them safe from the dangers from decay, mold, damage, and other environmental conditions, this was an excellent example of how a great disaster plan and potential risk awareness and assessment can ensure that even when a disaster occurs, precautions have been make to help reduce the potential damage. As for the museum part of the Presidential library, it is a fantastic walk through history. The photos, items, and re-creations of famous locations associated with JFK truly creates a one-of-a-kind experience. Words cannot describe how cool this museum is, including their special exhibit on the Cuban Missile Crisis. If you can, definitely check it out. And while you’re there, poke your head into the Hemmingway exhibit. Stepping inside, you feel as if you are standing in Hemmingway’s living room, surrounded by books, statues, and the very paintings that inspired some of his stories. As for the story as to why one of America’s greatest writers is housed at the JFK Presidential Library, it’s quite the tale. Just try not to step on the lion.