Space Center Houston officials have confirmed the authenticity of the lectern used by President John F. Kennedy to deliver his famous moon speech at Rice University in 1962. The lectern is now back on display at the museum.

The overview

Earlier this year, Dallas historian Farris Rookstool cast doubt on the authenticity of the lectern—which was on display at Space Center Houston—being the one Kennedy used, according to a Space Center Houston news release.

On April 17, museum officials sent the lectern to Steve Pine, furniture conservation expert from Pine Art Conservation. Paul Spana, museum curator and director of collections; Kennedy Library officials; and Rice University officials also investigated.

Pine confirmed the lectern in question was indeed the one Kennedy used to deliver his moon speech, the Sept. 12 release reads.

Quote of note

The museum now displays the lectern to celebrate the 61st anniversary of Kennedy’s speech and the 30th anniversary of the lectern’s original unveiling at the museum, according to the release.

"We are delighted to put to rest any doubts about the authenticity of this extraordinary lectern," said William Harris, president and CEO of Space Center Houston, in the release. "This lectern represents a pivotal moment in history and serves as a powerful symbol of human achievement and aspiration. Its restoration and return to public display will allow us to continue educating and inspiring visitors for generations to come."

One more thing

Other notable figures who used the lectern include:
  • President Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • President Jimmy Carter
  • Vice President Hubert Humphrey
  • First Lady Barbara Bush
  • Rev. Billy Graham