JFK exhibition goes on permanent display in Sydney

Striking images of the life and legacy of President John Kennedy are now on display in a new permanent exhibition at ACU’s North Sydney campus.

American Visionary: John F. Kennedy’s Life and Times contains 76 photographs covering the life of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, a president distinguished by his youth, his Catholic upbringing, his Cold War impact, and his untimely death.

The exhibition covers Kennedy’s early life, his time in the Senate, his campaign for the presidency, his time in the Oval Office, and his assassination. The exhibition highlights key aspects of Kennedy’s legacy, such as his role in founding the Peace Corps, advancing the US space program, and encouraging the spread of civil society.

Created to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the 35th President of the United States in 2017, the exhibition is a gift of the United States government to ACU, commemorating the life and times of America’s first Catholic president.

The Deputy Director of ACU’s Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences Professor Michael Ondaatje, an expert in US politics, said the Kennedy presidency had great international impact and its vision remained highly relevant.

 “For many around the world, Kennedy’s presidency symbolised the promise of a new beginning – a forward thinking and optimistic world power actively engaged in building a freer and fairer future for all,” he said.

“Education was a signature issue for Kennedy; indeed, enhancing educational opportunity was central to his vision of a better America and a better world.”

President Kennedy the only Catholic president of the US until the incumbent President Joe Biden.

ACU Vice President Father Anthony Casamento CSMA said it was both appropriate and timely that ACU should host an exhibition recognising the contribution of a Catholic world leader of such stature.

“President Kennedy’s commitment to education resonates with the mission of Australian Catholic University where we strive to seek the truth that recognises the dignity in all for the advancement of the common good.

“We are delighted to have these remarkable images on our MacKillop campus in North Sydney where our students, staff, and visiting members of the public will be able to see them and reflect on the legacy of President Kennedy.”

American Visionary: John F. Kennedy’s Life and Times was created by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and WS Productions, using photographs drawn from Getty Images and the Kennedy Presidential Library, and displayed at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the New York Historical Society and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. 

It has been previously displayed in regional and festival exhibitions in Australia but will now have a permanent home in the James Carroll building on ACU’s North Sydney campus.

Caption: Senator Kennedy returns home to Massachusetts after accepting the Democratic nomination, July 1960. Photo by Paul Schutzer/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images.


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