May 30, 2014 / 3:10 PM / 4 years ago

Boston's Kennedy museum gets $2.25 million donation, plans overhaul

BOSTON (Reuters) - The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum has received a $2.25 million gift from Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein, about half of which will be used to overhaul the Boston museum, the institution said on Friday.

In a nod to television’s role in Kennedy’s rise to power, his presidency and the live coverage of his 1963 assassination, the upgrade will add life-size video projections of some key moments of Kennedy’s time in the White House. Documents and relics make up the core of the museum’s collection.

Kenneth Fineberg, chairman of the library’s foundation, indicated the overhaul is being influenced by some of the highlights of Kennedy’s presidency: his initiative to put Americans on the moon and his 1961 inaugural speech calling on Americans to “ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.”

“Our goal with this museum upgrade is to reflect that spirit of innovation to ignite the imagination of the thousands of people who visit the library each year, and to challenge them to define their own call to greatness,” Fineberg said.

The donor, Rubenstein, is chairman of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. The Carlyle Group is a private equity firm.

Kennedy, whose presidency was ended by an assassin’s bullets on Nov. 22, 1963 after less than three years in office, was a member of one of the most famed U.S. political dynasties.

That moment - as well as video clips of early news conferences and the presidential campaign debate where the young, handsome Democratic U.S. senator outshone his Republican rival, Vice President Richard M. Nixon - will be featured in the new exhibits.

The renovations of the waterfront museum designed by famed architect I.M. Pei will begin in November.

Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

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