Introducing Friends of the Institute

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

The Mission

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate is dedicated to educating the public about the important role of the Senate in our government, encouraging participatory democracy, invigorating civil discourse, and inspiring the next generation of citizens and leaders to engage in the civic life of their communities.

The Vision

“To preserve our vibrant democracy for future generations, I believe it is critical to have a place where citizens can go to learn first-hand about the Senate’s important role in our system of government.” – Senator Edward M. Kennedy

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, civic education organization in Boston envisioned by the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Through a range of exhibits, interactive educational offerings, and topical programs, the Institute engages students and visitors in a conversation about the essential role each person plays in our democracy and in our society.

  • Education. Through innovative and nationally recognized educational programs, the Institute provides a high-tech and hands-on learning experience that teaches the next generation how our government works and the skills of listening, compromise, and healthy debate that are needed to productively participate in our communities.
  • Engagement. The Institute’s program series brings together diverse leaders for engaging conversations in Boston and Washington, D.C. Through convening bipartisan discussions with a variety of perspectives, the Institute’s programs address critical issues facing our communities, our nation, and our world.
  • Experience. By utilizing its unique, full-scale replica of the United States Senate Chamber, the Kennedy Institute is able to engage visitors in an interactive way to experience the role of the Senate in our democracy. That hands-on experience not only serves as a touchstone for a deeper understanding of the workings of our government, but it also encourages civil discourse and reasoned debate. With a handheld tablet and skilled facilitators serving as guides, visitors explore exhibits and daily interactive programs that weave together the history and current debates of the U.S. Senate, Senator Kennedy’s legacy of service, and a call for visitors to engage in their own communities.

The Place

The Institute’s facility is a 68,000 square foot building located on Columbia Point on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Boston. It was designed by architect Rafael Viñoly. The centerpiece of the Institute is a full-scale replica of the United States Senate Chamber where daytime and evening programs take place.