Edward M. Kennedy Institute of the US Senate Offers Lessons in Democracy

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Massachusetts, with its own illustrious traditions of politics and government, is poised to tell the distinctive story of American democracy at the newly launched Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Senate.

The non-partisan center of learning was created as a tribute to the late Senator Ted Kennedy, who represented Massachusetts in the U.S. Senator for 47 years. The Institute’s mission is to “educate the public about the important role of the Senate in our government, encourage participatory democracy, invigorate civil discourse, and inspire the next generation of citizens and leaders to engage in the civil life of their communities.”

At the Institute’s formal opening on March 30, 2015, the Kennedy family welcomed President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Senators John McCain, Trent Lott, Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey and other dignitaries from around the world.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh welcomed the audience, and music was provided by the Boston Pops. See video of the formal dedication.

Educators are excited by the Institute’s use of high tech exhibits, including digital tablets that allow students to interact with the procedures that go into making laws, while learning about the important issues of the day.

Dr. Bill DeWalt, Executive Vice President and Museum Director, says the Institute will be “a valuable resource for everyone from students to seniors. Our exhibits are designed to appeal to people of all ages, and we will offer a variety of programs, lectures and symposia for adults.”

Tourism officials predict that international visitors will make their way to the Institute to learn more about American democracy. DeWalt says the Institute is “offering multiple languages on the digital tablet that guides non-English speakers through the exhibit. Spanish, French, German, Chinese (Mandarin), Japanese, and Portuguese languages will be available initially,” he said. “These translations provide high-level interpretations of the basic content introduced with each exhibit.”

Situated at Columbia Point in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Senate is located right next to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum. Together these two institutions will attract visitors from across the country and from around the world, while inspiring students and citizens everywhere to appreciate the importance of public service.

For more information about visiting Massachusetts, go to MassVacation.com.