Online Collection

Image of FBI reenactment in Dealey Plaza

Object Number: 2008.015.0012
Category: Photographs
Photographer: Malcolm E. Barker
Type of Object: Slide
Dimensions: 2 x 2 in. (5.1 x 5.1 cm)
Medium: Film
Photographic slide of the FBI/Secret Service reenactment of the Kennedy assassination in Dealey Plaza on May 24, 1964. The car representing the president's limousine heads west on Elm Street, toward the triple underpass.

The car used to represent the president's limousine in the reenactment was actually the Secret Service car that had been directly behind the presidential limousine in the motorcade on November 22, 1963.

The driver in this picture, Secret Service agent George Hickey, rode in the follow-up car at the time of the assassination.

The north side of Dealey Plaza is visible to the right. Signs directing traffic to Stemmons Freeway and other highway signs line the right side of the road.
Curator's Notes

The May 1964 reenactment, conducted by the FBI with assistance from the Secret Service, was an effort to understand exactly how the shooting occurred.  Of primary concern was learning how three bullets accounted for the known wounds to President Kennedy and Governor Connally.  An FBI summary prepared early in December 1963 concluded the first shot hit Kennedy in the upper back, the second hit Connally in the back, and the third hit Kennedy in the back of his head. 

Kennedy's limousine, rebuilt right after the assassination and put back in service for President Johnson, was not available for the reenactment.  So the FBI used the Secret Service follow-up car that had been driven by Secret Service agents right behind Kennedy. 

By using the Abraham Zapruder, Orville Nix and Marie Muchmore films of the assassination and by rolling the car down Elm Street to correspond to the frame-by-frame movements in those films, investigators measured angles and distances from the rifle to the target and other Dealey Plaza landmarks.  Months later, investigators used that information to include information that a bystander had also been slightly wounded during the assassination. 

Eventually, the Warren Commission concluded the first shot probably missed, the second hit Kennedy and also Connally, and the third struck Kennedy in the head.  The "Single Bullet Theory" - which refers to the trajectory of the second bullet - remains one of the most controversial aspects of the assassination. - Gary Mack, Curator

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