Virtual president's desk enlivens JFK's 1800s desk

BOSTON (AP) — As a little girl, Caroline Kennedy hung out at her father’s desk while he worked in the country’s most famous office. Now the library she works with to preserve her father’s memory has introduced a way anyone can sit — virtually — at John F. Kennedy’s desk and learn more about his life and administration.

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President John F. Kennedy works at his desk on May 16, 1962, while visited by his daughter, Caroline, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington. On Monday, Caroline Kennedy unveiled a new feature at the museum where anyone can use the Internet to “sit” at the virtual desk to learn more about her father’s life and administration.

On Monday, the Museum at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston unveiled a new online feature, The President’s Desk.

The interactive desktop has numerous objects Web visitors can click — a telephone, a campaign button, a secret recording button — and get video, audio and text from JFK’s era.

“I hope users will feel they are sitting at the president’s desk themselves and will be excited to bring history to life in this dynamic setting,” said Caroline Kennedy, president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. “My parents shared a love of history, and I know they would have enjoyed this exhibit themselves.”

The online feature was introduced in front of a replica of the desk.

The original desk was made from the timbers of the British ship the HMS Resolute and was given to President Rutherford B. Hayes by Queen Victoria in 1878. Still used by President Barack Obama, the original desk was in the White House broadcast room until JFK’s wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, discovered it and had it installed in the Oval Office in February 1961.

The virtual version has seven clickable objects, each of which holds various layers of information.

The President’s Desk can be found at JFKLibrary.org.

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