History of the Texas School Book Depository

About the Museum

History of the Texas School Book Depository
History of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza
History of Dealey Plaza

Photo of red brick Texas School Book Depository

Constructed in 1901, the red brick building on the corner of Houston and Elm streets was known as the Texas School Book Depository at the time of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The private firm stocked and distributed textbooks for public schools in north Texas and parts of Oklahoma.

Following the Kennedy assassination, the building became the focus of shock, grief and outrage. Evidence was found showing that shots were fired from the sixth floor, and Depository employee Lee Harvey Oswald was charged with the president's murder.

After the Texas School Book Depository Company moved out in 1970, some hoped the building would be torn down. It remained a painful reminder of what happened in 1963.

Dallas County acquired the building in 1977 with plans to locate county offices on the first five floors. After a major renovation, the Dallas County Administration Building was dedicated on March 29, 1981. The top two floors of the building, including the infamous sixth floor, remained empty.

On President's Day 1989, The Sixth Floor Museum opened as a response to the many visitors who come to Dealey Plaza to learn more about the assassination. The historical exhibition on the sixth floor highlights the impact of Kennedy’s death on the nation and the world. Two key evidentiary areas on the sixth floor have been restored to their 1963 appearance.

On President's Day 2002, the Museum opened the seventh floor gallery. This flexible space now provides an additional 5,500 square feet for innovative exhibitions, special events and public programming.

In July 2010, the Museum opened the Reading Room—a reflective environment for anyone seeking information and understanding about the assassination and legacy of President John F. Kennedy. The Reading Room directly overlooks Dealey Plaza and provides researchers, educators and students with access to an extensive library which includes books, magazines and newspapers and covers topics ranging from Kennedy’s life and legacy to conspiracy theories and 1960s pop culture.

Also in July 2010, the Museum Store + Café opened across the street from the Museum in the historic 501 Elm building. Overlooking Dealey Plaza, the Store + Café gives visitors a more complete site experience to the National Historic Landmark and The Sixth Floor Museum exhibits.