Senator Ted Kennedy was an inspiration not only to his constituency, but also to members and staff of the U.S. Senate for his career and commitment to public service.
During his nearly half century in the U.S. Senate, the Senator influenced and marked his legacy into many corners of American politics. This legacy continues in the Edward M. Kennedy (EMK) Institute for the United States Senate, which is located next to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts. The Institute is more than a museum, it is a place with learning tools to inspire and establish a sense of debate for future generations.
The U.S. Capitol Page Alumni Association (USCPAA) was privileged to host a reunion of regional alumni on Saturday, April 25, 2015 at the EMK Institute. Following a highly publicized and remarkable grand opening ceremony in late March 2015, the facility was fresh for new visitors and a perfect venue for a Page alumni event.
The event began with a reception in the main hall for nearly 60 attendees. The program started with a short welcome by USCPAA Presdient Jerry Papazian and Dr. Billie (Bill) R. DeWalt, Executive Vice President and Museum Director of the EMK Institute. Dr. DeWalt shared some of the background behind the inspiration, design, and learning goals for the institute, much of which was developed by the Senator himself and carried out by his widow, Victoria Kennedy.
The program continued with self-introductions by Page alumni, which included several Pages who were sponsored by Senator Kennedy. Pages spanning 50 class years were in attendance, many of whom shared stories directly attributed to the Senator. Several had never been heard by EMK Institute staff, who were excited to document them for their archives.
After the program, Pages and their guests participated in a tour of the Institute and exhibit areas. The museum features exhibits about Kennedy’s public service, a replica of his Senate office, and technology driven displays to educate visitors about the history and the role of the U.S. Senate. The tour of the facility includes a wireless tablet which enables visitors to become a “Senator-in-Training” and participate in a series of interactive sessions on current issues. The main hall and exhibit hall completely wraps around the Institute’s to-scale replica of the U.S. Senate Chamber in Washington, DC. The chamber serves as a forum for visitors to learn about debate on current issues and the Senate voting process.