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State House to restore access to JFK memorial

File/1995/Globe Staff

Visitors to the State House will soon have improved access to a statue of John F. Kennedy that has been largely blocked from the public for more than a decade.

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, state officials restricted viewing of the monument, citing security concerns because of its proximity to the governor's office.

This year, officials said they were finally able to address the issue by stationing officers near the door that leads from the State House.

On Tuesday, one day after the Boston Marathon, the doors will reopen and rangers from the state Department of Conservation and Recreation will let people pass through with ease onto the terrace where the Kennedy memorial is located.


"It's a terrific piece of history and a beautiful statue of JFK," said Bill Hickey, spokesman for the department.

The 8-foot bronze sculpture by Isabel McIlvain, located on the western grounds, was dedicated in 1990.

Attending the unveiling were US Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, US Representative Joseph Kennedy II, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and dozens of political notables.

State House windows surround the Kennedy statue, which depicts the president in midstride. The base of the memorial sits on a concrete plaza.

Visitors were allowed in for a wreath-laying ceremony in 2013 on the 50th anniversary of the assassination.

Hickey said people will be able to visit the statue from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, after going through security screenings at either the General Hooker entrance on Beacon Street or the Ashburton Park entrance on Bowdoin Street.

The statue can be viewed from the day after the Marathon until the Friday before Columbus Day, Oct. 9. Access will be closed during the fall and winter because of maintenance concerns and inclement weather, Hickey said.


Signs will soon go up outside the door that leads to the plaza, letting visitors know they can step outside. Tours of the State House will also include a stop at the memorial.

"The fact that visitors can now go through and see it, we are very excited about it," Hickey said.

Jeremiah Manion of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.