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HOUSE WHERE OSWALD SLEPT THE NIGHT
BEFORE JFK SHOOTING NOW OPEN AS A MULTIMEDIA MUSEUM
Owned and restored by the City of Irving, The Ruth Paine House Museum opens
50 years after being thrust into the historic tragedy
IRVING, Texas (Nov. 21, 2013)... It was 50 years ago today when Lee Harvey Oswald unexpectedly showed up at Ruth Paine's small suburban home in Irving, Texas, for an overnight visit with his wife and kids, who had been living with Paine. This was an unusual move for Oswald, who usually visited on the weekends. His actions the following day would explain why he came by that night, and would put Irving in the middle of one of the nation's greatest tragedies.
Officially opened to the public on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, The Ruth Paine House Museum was purchased by the City of Irving in 2009 with intent to preserve the home's history surrounding the tragedy. Half a century later, the historic home has been restored to its 1963 look and transformed into a multimedia museum to tell the story of the events that occurred there.
Paine, a mother of two,
had opened her home to Oswald's wife, Marina, and their two daughters. Lee
Harvey Oswald stayed in Dallas and worked at the Texas School Book Depository, visiting
his family on weekends. In fact, it was Paine who passed along a job tip for
the Texas School Book Depository to Oswald in October 1963.
Paine vividly remembers thinking it was unusual for him to come over on a Thursday, especially without asking. He left the next morning before they got up, leaving cash and his wedding ring on Marina’s bed table. Paine’s life changed forever when police came to her door only a few hours after hearing news of the assassination.
Information about what unfolded is displayed throughout the small home. Tours begin at the Paine House Visitors’ Center, located on the third floor of the Irving Central Library. A bank of vintage televisions plays broadcasts from cartoons to breaking news from 1963.
On a larger screen, further background comes by way of Paine, who talks about living with the Oswalds and life after JFK’s assassination. From the library, tour visitors board a van for the now transformed suburban Paine home. What visitors see when they step inside the door is that time stood still on Nov. 22, 1963.
Using personal photos from Paine, Life magazine and the Warren Commission, the restoration team scoured eBay, Craigslist, estate sales and antique stores to find authentic furniture and décor. A primary focus in the converted home’s character is the household’s four children who were caught in the whirlwind of this tragedy.
“For Ruth and Marina, life was all about raising children,” said Kevin Kendro, archives coordinator for the city of Irving, the department which runs the museum. “So baby beds, diapers and toys needed to be everywhere.”
Video images projected onto glass panes depict actors re-creating certain moments, such as when Paine was shocked to hear Marina tell a police officer that her husband owned a gun.
“There’s an enduring interest in the JFK assassination story that drives people to visit involved sites in Dallas and surrounding areas, Kendro said. “The Paine House has always been among them.”
81-year-old Ruth Paine lived in the house until 1966 and now resides in California. Visitors to her former home will also learn about her involvement in local civic and social justice movements during the 1960s. The interactive, docent-led tours last one hour and 45 minutes, and are limited to 12 persons and begin on the third floor of the Irving Central Library located at 801 W. Las Colinas Blvd. Reservations are required and can be made online at cityofirving.org/museums/paine-house.asp.
Tours are offered Tuesday-Saturday at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults ages 12 and up, and free for children ages 11 and under.
For more information about the museum and its history, or to book a tour, visit cityofirving.org/museums/paine-house.asp. For images or B-roll, contact Diana Pfaff (email@example.com; (972) 401-7722) or Melissa Cannon (firstname.lastname@example.org; (972) 401-7723) at the Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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