SAN ANTONIO, Texas (November 9, 2023) – On November 11, the Witte Museum opens San Antonio’s Space Endeavors—President Kennedy’s Last Public Speech, an exhibit marking 60 years since President John F. Kennedy visited San Antonio to dedicate the Aerospace Medical Health Center at Brooks Air Force Base and speak to the key role of San Antonio in medical space research. The speech on November 21, 1963 was President Kennedy’s final public address. The following day he was assassinated in Dallas.
The exhibit includes the Kennedy lectern, which was built in 1963 by Brooks AFB carpenter Edmond Van Brandt Sr. The lectern was given to the Witte Museum in 2011 following a letter-writing campaign led by Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff who advocated for it to stay in San Antonio when Brooks AFB closed. Also on display are the chairs built for the event by employees at the School of Aerospace Medicine and documents and photography related to President Kennedy’s visit. In the exhibit, visitors can listen to a recording of the final speech given by President Kennedy.
President Kennedy visited San Antonio in 1963 as part of a two-day, five-city tour of Texas. Following his time in San Antonio, he continued on to Houston for two events and ended the day in Fort Worth. The next day, President Kennedy was riding through downtown Dallas when he was assassinated at 12:30 p.m.
San Antonio’s Space Endeavors—President Kennedy’s Last Public Speech is on display from November 11 through November 26 in Ewing Halsell Hall at the Witte Museum.