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As a tribute to Senator Kennedy's 47-year career, gifts of $47 and up recognize you as a Friend of the Institute.

About the Institute

May 7, 2014

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S Senate Announces March 2015 Opening

(BOSTON) – Today, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate (the Institute) announced it will open its doors with a gala celebration on March 29th and a formal public dedication ceremony on March 30, 2015. The Institute will open to the general public starting on March 31, 2015.

The gala and dedication ceremonies will take place at the EMK Institute’s brand new building located on Columbia Point on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Boston.

“I am so proud to announce that we are bringing my husband’s vision to life, with the opening of the Institute next March,” said Victoria Reggie Kennedy, co-founder and president of the board of the Institute. “The Institute will be a world-class center of learning and we look forward to welcoming visitors from across the nation and around the world.”

The Institute plans to invite a diverse group of attendees to the dedication ceremony including; senior Obama administration officials, current and former U.S. Senators, state and local officials, members of the Kennedy family as well as the general public. We look forward to celebrating this historic moment with many of the Institute’s supporters.

Housed in a beautiful 68,000 square-foot facility, located next to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, the Institute will be a dynamic center of learning and civic engagement. It will use cutting-edge technology to convey the history of United States Senate and its pivotal role in America’s development and governance. The Institute will enrich the cultural and educational life of Boston and the region and serve the country as a center of national and international scholarship and public discourse.

The heart and soul of the Institute is a full-scale representation of the U.S. Senate Chamber - a vivid expression of Senator Kennedy’s abiding commitment to public service. Inside the Chamber, a one-of-a-kind Senate simulation experience will enable visitors to debate, negotiate, and vote on legislation. Through this educational immersion and other programs, participants will learn about the legislative process, as well as the value of public debate, deliberation and civic engagement.

The Institute’s innovative visitor experience was developed by Ed Schlossberg and his team at ESI Design as a new model of immersive, experiential learning for high school and university students, national and international leaders, journalists, academics, citizens and visitors from around the world.

Hundreds of individuals were employed throughout the building’s construction and the Institute expects to have over 30 full time employees when fully operational. In addition, upwards of 80 students can be employed part time as docents.

The exhibits in the Institute will explore the history of the U.S. Senate, highlighting the ways in which the great Senate debates of the past can inform the present– and ask visitors to give back to their country and community. Exhibition highlights include:

  • FULL-SCALE REPRESENTATION OF THE U.S. SENATE CHAMBER - in the Chamber visitors will use handheld tablets to engage with content and one another. Additionally, this area will be used for public debates and events.

  • “WHAT IS THE SENATE?” will provide an overview of the distinctive character of the U.S. Senate and the pivotal role it plays in our democracy.

  • THE OFFICE OF SENATOR EDWARD M. KENNEDY - a full-scale replica of his Senate office and reception room, featuring historic furnishings, pictures, photos, and artifacts from the Senator’s 47-year tenure in the United States Senate.

  • HOW A BILL BECOMES LAW – a multi-participant game in which visitors work together toward the common goal of getting a bill passed.

  • PEOPLE WHO MADE A DIFFERENCE is a portrait gallery that will honor individual citizens who stood up for what they believed and inspired legislative and societal change. Fact sheets on the Institute and the visitor experience can be viewed here and here.

About the Edward M. Kennedy Institute

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate is dedicated to studying and exploring how our government and the Senate works - and how it can work better - invigorating public discourse, and inspiring visitors and the next generation of citizens to become more active in their own communities.

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