DALLAS — Sixth Floor Museum staffers say they expected a busy November, but nothing like what they've seen as the city prepares to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assasination of the 35th president of the United States.
Now days away from the formal ceremoney at Dealey Plaza remembering John F. Kennedy's death, a spokeswoman says the museum has seen 40 percent more guests than this time last year.
“Many of the people who lived through the assassination want to come here and remember and reflect,” said Executive Director Nicola Longford. “It provides context for their lives, it is sort of like the time dial of history.”
Between 1,700 and 1,800 guests come through museum doors each day while even more walk Dealey Plaza.
“When I first got here I was hit with a wave of melancholy, a little bit of sadness,” said Norman Mappa who was visiting from Chicago.
He described the moment he stepped on Elm Street, the spot where the President was fatally shot. Mappa was a teenager when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. As Mappa and other teenagers became adults, they saw a growing distrust in government, he said.
They watched the nation divide over the Vietnam conflict then take part in a cultural revolution.
“It wasn’t just a president assassinated, it was a man and what he could have done and what he was trying to do,” said Mappa.
While there will always be unanswered questions surrounding the 1963 assassination, many spent Tuesday at Dealey Plaza reflecting and looking for answers.
“We’ll never know what could have happened,” Mappa said. “Vietnam, civil rights, the economy, the other presidents that came through after him; all these things are all questions we will never have the answers to.”
Because of the jump in demand, the museum will operate extended hours: On Friday, it will be open from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.