50 Years Later — Historic Home Opens as Multimedia Museum
|Ruth Paine House, circa 1961.|
Just in time for the 50-year observance of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the historic Ruth Paine home will open for public tours.
Nestled in a quiet, south Irving neighborhood is an unassuming home that holds historical ties to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. This south Irving home is where Kennedy’s alleged assasin, Lee Harvey Oswald, spent the night before shots rang out at Dallas’ Dealey Plaza claiming Kennedy’s life.
Half-a-century after the tragic event, stories surrounding Kennedy’s assassination continue to intrigue people the world over. Understanding the historical significance of the home, the City of Irving — with support from the Irving Museum Board — procured the Paine home in 2009 with a goal of transforming it into a museum for future generations.
Since purchasing the property, Capital Improvement Program team members and City Archivist Kevin Kendro with help from Ruth Paine have collaborated to restore the 1,250-square-foot home to its 1963 look. Since the city’s procurement of the home, it has undergone restorative construction to include a fresh paint job and roof. In addition, modern flooring and fixtures have been replaced with hand-picked items indicative of the 1960s era.
|Inside the renovated Ruth Paine
“The Ruth Paine House tells the very human story of the people and events associated with the assassination of President Kennedy that occurred in this small, suburban home, and how those events forever changed the lives of those living there at the time,” Kendro said.
In addition to an up-close look at the relationships between the Paines and the Oswalds, museum visitors also will learn about Ruth’s involvement in Irving’s civic and social movements of the time.
An educator with a heart for social justice, Paine was instrumental in starting and teaching at a small integrated Montessori School in Irving’s Bear Creek community. As part of the West Irving Improvement Association civil rights group, Paine helped get Bear Creek — North Texas’ oldest African-American community — annexed to Irving so residents could have access to municipal services.
Paine, who now lives in California, will tour the restored home and join city officials for grand opening activities planned for early November. Beginning Nov. 6, the public can enjoy guided tours of the Paine House Museum. Tours will begin at the Paine House Visitors’ Center housed in the Central Library, 801 W. Irving Blvd. From there, visitors will be transported to the house where the story of Ruth Paine’s friendship with Marina Oswald and the events that unfolded at the house will be examined through multimedia exhibits.
Admission to the museum is $12 for visitors age 12 and older; and free for children age 11 and younger. To learn more, visit the city's museums page or call (972) 721-4750.
Posted Nov. 1