President JFK nostalgia hits Dubuque - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

President JFK nostalgia hits Dubuque

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The JFK Experience runs in Dubuque Nov. 18-27 The JFK Experience runs in Dubuque Nov. 18-27
DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

A traveling exhibit opened Friday in Dubuque that gives visitors a glimpse into the life and death of America's 35th president, John F. Kennedy.

The exhibit, called the JFK Experience, will be in Dubuque on the 48th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination, Nov. 22.

Collection owner Nick Ciacelli has 20,000 pieces of Kennedy-related memorabilia.

"Yeah, I collected it since I was nine years old, since my mother came home and she said the president was shot and she was crying," he said, standing in the exhibit the day before it opened.

The exhibit contains about 400 items from Ciacelli's exhibit, including a replica of the car in which Kennedy was riding when he was assassinated.

"When President Kennedy was shot, I remember my principal walking in school, my teacher, and they both began to cry," Ciacelli said.

Ciacelli's mother was so upset by the event, he said, that he made her a Kennedy scrapbook that night. The collecting hasn't stopped since.

"He was young. He was powerful. He was absolutely good-looking. And then he was shot on national television, and I think that that photograph is embedded in our mind," Ciacelli said. "The big question that we all say is, 'What if he had just made it? How different would the world have been?'"

The exhibit is in the south parking lot of the Diamond Jo Casino and will remain there through Nov. 27. It's open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Ciacelli said he encourages visitors to bring their cameras and take pictures.

Diamond Jo spokesperson Carrie Tedore said more than 100 students toured the exhibit in the first day.

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