Stephen Fagin, a graduate of the College of Liberal Studies (CLS) Museum Studies Program, has recently written a book entitled Assassination and Commemoration: JFK, Dallas, and the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. The book is published by University of Oklahoma Press.
Fagin begins his book by retracing the events that culminated in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. He also details the unstable political climate in Dallas during that time as well as the shame that haunted the city following the assassination. Fagin then discusses the formation of The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza and the challenges that went into creating the museum.
Fagin has always had an interest in the Kennedy assassination, which led him to seek an internship with the museum while an undergraduate history and English double major at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. This internship led to a full-time job coordinating the museum’s ongoing Oral History Project, which then led him to seek a Master of Arts degree in Museum Studies from OU’s College of Liberal Studies. This program, which allows students to finish the program completely online, allowed Fagin to continue working while finishing his graduate degree. He graduated from OU in 2009 and is currently the associate curator and oral historian at The Sixth Floor Museum.
“I do not hesitate to say that my work in oral history, collections, and exhibitions at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is really a dream job for me,” Fagin said. “My graduate work at OU has, I believe, made me a much more confident and amplified museum professional. I went the opposite route of many by choosing experience before education, but now that I have both under my belt, I look forward to many more years working on the exciting projects that this museum provides to me.”
One of these projects was Assassination and Commemoration, which highlights the decades-long work that went into the creation of the museum. Since 1989, The Sixth Floor Museum has been instrumental in the preservation and interpretation of an unforgettable American tragedy. Located on the sixth floor of the former Texas School Book Depository, the museum has served as a place of quiet reflection for some, remembrance for others and education for younger generations. Like the museum itself, Assassination and Commemoration help readers understand a community’s confrontation with tragedy while exploring the various ways that societies preserve the past.
Update: The College of Liberal Studies was renamed the College of Professional and Continuing Studies in 2017.