The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate is the place to learn about all things Senate related – history of the United States Senate, the role the Senate plays within the larger United States government, and the typical day to day work of a US Senator. From being greeted at the door with “Welcome, Senator” to taking part in a mock vote in the Institute’s full-size replica of the Senate Chambers, visitors leave with a true understanding of what it means to be a United States Senator.
Housing a fully recreated version of the real-life US Senate Chambers, visitors of the Institute have the opportunity to walk through this famous space and feel its history and grandeur. With stately rows of mahogany desks, classic blue and red patterned carpet, and ornately carved and painted gold trim framing the high ceiling, the room looks and feels exactly like the real thing.
The Institute offers two different interactive programs that take place inside the Chambers each day: Today’s Vote, a debate and mock vote on a topic currently being reviewed by the US Senate, and Great Senate Debates, a combination of live reenactments, video footage, and photographs of famous Senate debates in United States history.
The Institute is also home to a full-size replica of Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s Washington, D.C. office. Having served as a Senator for the state of Massachusetts for over 47 years, Senator Kennedy certainly had ample time to put his influence on the space. As visitors walk through the room, they examine Senator Kennedy’s work through the lens of his workspace. Mimicking Senator Kennedy’s real-life office, the replica is adorned in photos of the Kennedy family, and even some of Senator Kennedy’s personal artwork. Touring the office gives visitors a window into the issues and topics Senator Kennedy was focused on and interested in during his time as a Senator.
Holding a vast selection of immersive digital exhibits in addition to these recreated spaces, the Institute offers a well-rounded experience for all. Open to visitors Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm, entrance to the Institute is $16 for adults and $14 for seniors. If you plan to check it out, perhaps consider pairing your outing with a tour of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, located adjacent to the Institute.