Senators-in-Training: Class of 2019 Visits Edward Kennedy Institute for the Senate


Becky Gillis '19, Politics Editor

In mid-April, the junior class visited the Boston Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Senate. When we arrived, we were ushered into a full-scale replica of the Senate Chamber in D.C., where we watched a short video about the Civil Rights debate of 1964 and saw a few actors perform portions of speeches made during the debate. The room itself was spectacular, and Maddie Marcucci ‘19 commented: “I enjoyed being able to see what the Senate floor looks like and actually sit in one of the chairs. It’s so cool to now be able to visualize where much of the political decisions and actions are debated for our country everyday.”

Although I could have stayed in that room forever, we moved on and split up into two groups to tour the museum. Many of us were surprised to discover that it is not a traditional museum with artifacts and exhibits to observe; rather, every visitor receives a tablet on which to look at information while presentations about different topics are projected on the walls. Kiki Karam ‘19 noted: “I was just expecting an actual museum, and it felt more like an interactive powerpoint on walls.”

For example, in one part of the museum, my group voted on our tablets for components of a bill while we watched the results stack up on the wall. In another section, we split up into groups of three and sorted through different potential pieces of a gun control bill to create a compromise proposal that could pass the House and Senate.

My personal favorite part of the museum (besides sitting in the Senate chamber, of course) was the replica of Ted Kennedy’s office. The museum has acquired the real furniture, decorations, etc from the Senator’s office, including the flag draped over JFK’s coffin. It was an amazing experience to get to step into his office and know how many incredible figures in history had sat on that furniture and touched all those things while having conversations that determined the fate of our nation.

After touring the museum, we returned to the Senate chamber to have a very brief debate with members of other school groups on the issue of reinstating the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. Overall, the junior class experienced an interesting day and learned about an important figure in the history of both our country as a whole and our own state of Massachusetts.