Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

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Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate
EMK Institute Logo.png
USA Massachusetts location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within Massachusetts
Location210 Morrissey Boulevard
Columbia Point
Boston, MA 02125
Coordinates 42°18′53″N71°02′07″W / 42.314852°N 71.035401°W / 42.314852; -71.035401
Type Specialized, Historical, Biographical
Accreditation American Alliance of Museums
Visitors62,000 visitors per year (this includes about 16,000 students) [1]
Founder Edward M. Kennedy & Victoria Reggie Kennedy
Architect Rafael Viñoly
Public transit access JFK/UMass Wheelchair symbol.svg JFK/UMass Wheelchair symbol.svg JFK/UMass Wheelchair symbol.svg JFK/UMass Wheelchair symbol.svg
Nearest parkingOn site (no charge)
Website emkinstitute.org

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate (also known as the Kennedy Institute) is a non-profit civic engagement and educational institution on Columbia Point in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, next to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum on the University of Massachusetts Boston campus. Named for long-time U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, the Institute contains a full-scale reproduction of the United States Senate Chamber, a replica of Kennedy’s Washington, D.C. office, and digital exhibits. The organization includes the Kennedy Home in Hyannis Port, which was donated to the Institute in 2012 as part of a "mission of educating the public about the U.S. government, invigorating public discourse, emphasizing the importance of bipartisanship, and inspiring the next generation of citizens and leaders to engage in the public square." [2]

Contents

Mission

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate is dedicated to educating the public about the important role of the Senate in the United States government, encouraging participatory democracy, invigorating civil discourse, and inspiring the next generation of citizens and leaders to engage in the civic life of their communities. [3]

Exhibits

The Senate Chamber

A view of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute's replica Senate Chamber EMK-Institute-Senate-Chamber-Interior.jpg
A view of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute's replica Senate Chamber

The building houses the only full-scale reproduction of the United States Senate Chamber. [4] Visitors are encouraged to explore the space with the help of exhibit interpreters and participate in the Institute’s signature daily programs, such as Today’s Vote and Great Senate Debates. [5]

Digital exhibits

The exhibit halls feature technology-driven projected displays [6] that immerse visitors in the history of the Senate through exhibits such as What is the Senate?, Traditions of the Senate, and People of the Senate. [7] In addition, the halls include interactive exhibits, such as How a Bill Becomes a Law, where visitors work together to negotiate and select ice cream sundae toppings, vote on bills, override vetoes, and practice the skills needed to guide legislation through Congress. [8]

Senator’s Office

This exhibit features a full-scale replica of Senator Kennedy’s Washington, D.C. office, where visitors, equipped with provided tablets, are able to explore the stories behind pieces of the collection. [9]

Public programs and special events

The Institute offers a series of public programs and special events hosted in Boston and Washington, D.C. on local and national issues. These programs are open to the public. [10]

Getting to the Point

The Getting to the Point series convenes individuals with diverse perspectives to discuss current issues and the challenges the American government is facing. Getting to the Point takes on various formats from town halls to keynote lectures and panel discussions, and showcases speakers from all walks of life. Since opening, the Institute has hosted a variety of speakers ranging from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, [11] to Congressman John Lewis, [12] to Red Sox Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martínez. [13]

Across the Aisle

This series brings together government leaders with disparate ideologies, from different political parties who are collaborating on a common cause. In moderated discussions, Across the Aisle highlights the type of civil discourse, negotiation, collaboration, and leadership that leads to solutions for pressing problems. The series features members of Congress, governors, mayors, and other elected officials and both national and local issues.

Oral History Project

The Edward M. Kennedy Oral History Project, created in partnership with the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, was released in September 2015. [14] The project is a compilation of interviews from current and former members of the Senate, House, administration officials, foreign leaders, Senate staff, issue advocates, journalists, family, and friends documenting Senator Kennedy’s service. The Institute has hosted a speaker series [15] that draws on this resource to highlight current and future national issues before the U.S. Senate.

Educational programs

Senate Immersion Module (SIM)

The Senate Immersion Module (SIM) is a program for middle and high school students that uses negotiation and debate skills to teach about the legislative process. Using high-touch tablets provided by the Institute, groups of students work together to create a bill on a historic issue or a current policy. [16]

Future Senator

In the Future Senators program, visitors age 5–11 years old are introduced to an issue relevant to kids: whether the U.S. government should require a longer school day. The program includes “experts” for kids to interview, provides time for a debate about what participants learned, and concludes with a voice vote in the full-scale Senate Chamber.

Layout, location, and design

Layout

The Institute’s facility is a 68,000 square foot (6,317 m2) building designed by Rafael Viñoly, targeting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) specifications for sustainable building. [17] The centerpiece of the Institute is a full-scale recreation of the Senate Chamber. The halls lining the Chamber are known as the Chamber Surround, and feature the majority of the Institute’s exhibits. The Institute also features a replica of Senator Kennedy’s Washington, D.C. office, a Special Exhibits gallery, an Orientation Theater, and three technologically equipped studios for educational programs and breakout sessions. The Institute also includes a café, a gift shop, and a coat check.

Location

The Institute is located on Columbia Point in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. The Institute is on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Boston, adjacent to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, and next door to the Massachusetts Archives and Commonwealth Museum. The Institute can be reached from nearby Interstate 93 or by taking the Red Line or the Commuter Rail to JFK/UMass station and boarding the free shuttle bus (#1) that drops off in front of the Institute.

Design and technology

The Institute’s concept, design, and production are the result of a collaboration between Senator Edward M. Kennedy, his wife Vicki Reggie Kennedy, and Ed Schlossberg of ESI Design. [18] During the production process, Control Group was brought on for software development, Richard Lewis Media Group for media elements, Electrosonic for projection technology, and Gigantic Mechanic for game mechanics. [19]

History

Construction, dedication, and opening

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on April 8, 2011. [20] The Institute was dedicated by President Barack Obama on March 30, 2015, with Vice President Joe Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama in attendance. [21] The Institute opened to the public on March 31, 2015. [22]

Cost and operations

The cost of the institution was $78 million in 2011, with $38 million in federal funding and a $60 million endowment that helps to pay for the $10–12 million annual operating budget of the Institute. As of 2017, admission tickets cost $16 for adults with a $2 discount for Massachusetts residents. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an increased emphasis on virtual opportunities for programming while in-person visitation resumed after a six-month hiatus in October for group tours on Wednesdays. The Institute's 2018 Form 990 filing lists net assets of $65,030,602 for the Institute and revenue less expenses of -$6,537,740, compared to revenue less expenses of -$7,452,014 in 2017. [23]

Leadership

Sue Heilman was named Interim Executive Director of the Institute on March 26, 2020. Heilman has more than 25 years's experience growing and leading mission-based organizations and has served as the interim executive director of The Lenny Zakim Fund, [24] Alternatives for Community and Environment, Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, MassEquality, and the Hull Lifesaving Museum. Previously, Heilman served as the Executive Director of Horizons for Homeless Children for 18 years, and Thompson Island Education Center for five years. Her consulting practice has included strategic planning, board development and fundraising planning for a number of nonprofit organizations, including the Victim Rights Law Center, Steps To Success, School on Wheels, New Hampshire Black Heritage Trail, Massachusetts Advocates for Children, Family Nurturing Center, Piers Park Sailing Center, and Kurn Hattin Homes for Children. She also currently facilitates Empower Success Corps’ Nonprofit Executive RoundTable, a monthly leadership development gathering of nonprofit leaders. [25]

The Institute was previously led by Dr. Jean F. MacCormack from 2014 to 2017, [26] Andrew Tarsy from 2012 to 2014, [27] and Peter Meade from 2009 to 2012. [28] It was announced on November 4, 2019, "with mixed emotions" that the Institute’s president, Mary K. Grant, Ph.D., who only assumed leadership in 2018 [29] would be leaving within the month.


Kennedy Cape House

In 2012, the Kennedy family donated the main house of the historic Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port to the Institute fulfilling a promise made by Senator Kennedy to his mother, Rose, to donate the house for charitable use. [30] The Institute announced that it hopes to use the house to host educational seminars and other forums, and that it eventually plans to open it to visitation by the public. [2]

Related Research Articles

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University of Massachusetts Boston

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References

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Coordinates: 42°18′56″N71°2′6″W / 42.31556°N 71.03500°W / 42.31556; -71.03500 (Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate)