April 1, 2024

Jackie Kennedy Exhibition Draws to A Close

Jackie Dress Exhibit Photo

This month, the National First Ladies Library & Museum will be saying a fond farewell to Jackie Kennedy. The exhibition, "Beyond Camelot: The Life and Legacy of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis," will head back into the archives on April 20. The exhibit has been so popular that it resulted in a 50% increase in attendance at the museum and the First Ladies National Historic Site versus 2023. 

"Beyond Camelot" featured never-before-seen artifacts donated by celebrity Monte Durham of Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta, who appeared several times in Canton to promote the exhibit.

Through intimate letters, awe-inspiring reproduction dresses, and vintage ephemera, Beyond Camelot: The Life and Legacy of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis explored the layers of Jackie’s life, from her role as a mother to her position as First Lady. Visitors were able to go beyond the White House and learn about Jackie’s life, from her days as a “camera girl” to her late career as a book editor at Doubleday. They experienced Jackie through her number-one fan, Monte Durham, as he shared the intimate stories revealed by his collectibles. 

The can’t-miss centerpiece of the exhibition featured an exquisite reproduction of Jacqueline Kennedy’s wedding gown created by a couture wedding dress designer (the original dress is too delicate to display and is currently preserved at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum). The dress highlights the contributions of African-American dress designer Ann Lowe, who created Jackie’s wedding gown – one of the most recognizable wedding dresses of all time. The exhibition allowed visitors to learn about the groundbreaking designer and her relationship with Jackie.

“I have loved everything Jackie Kennedy for many years,” said Monte Durham. “This was an incredible opportunity to share with the world something so important to me. I have enjoyed collecting ‘Jackie’ artifacts and memorabilia for many years, and the donation of my entire collection to the National First Ladies Library in Canton is a way to keep her memory alive. When you say ‘Jackie Kennedy,’ everyone has a story; everyone has a remembrance. This exhibition will showcase the many facets of her life, and I am simply thrilled to be a part of it.”

National First Ladies Library President and CEO Patty Dowd Schmitz said, “We are honored that Mr. Durham has chosen to gift his collection to the National First Ladies Library at the First Ladies National Historic Site, and we were thrilled to host him in person at the museum throughout the year. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was an extraordinary woman whose life and legacy extends far beyond her time as First Lady. We hope our patrons were as thrilled as we were to explore her life ‘Beyond Camelot’ at this special 2023-2024 exhibit.”


Beyond Camelot: The Life and Legacy of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis will opened to the public on May 1, 2023 and ran through April 20, 2024. 


About the National First Ladies Library & Museum

We preserve, promote, and educate about the significant role and contributions of our nation’ s First Ladies, inspiring young leaders by telling the story of American history uniquely through the eyes of women.

The National First Ladies Library & Museum was founded in Canton, Ohio, in 1995 by Mary Regula, wife of former U.S. Representative Ralph Regula. It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to preserve, promote and educate about the significant role of First Ladies of the U.S. and their contributions throughout history. We aim to inspire young leaders by telling the story of American history uniquely through the eyes of the women who served alongside their presidential husbands. The organization operates and manages the First Ladies National Historic Site in a partnership agreement with the National Park Service. In 2000, President Bill Clinton signed a bill establishing the First Ladies National Historic Site in Canton as the 380th unit of the National Park Service. The site consists of the Ida Saxton McKinley House, the family home of First Lady Ida Saxton McKinley and the longtime residence of President William and Ida McKinley, as well as First Ladies Park and the National First Ladies Library & Museum (Visitors Center), which includes exhibit space, a Victorian theatre, a research library, conference and seminar rooms, archival storage and processing rooms, and administrative offices. We preserve, promote, and educate about the significant role and contributions of our nation’ s First Ladies, inspiring young leaders by telling the story of American history uniquely through the eyes of women.

 

Leaders in Literacy

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