It's understandable that most Americans who were alive on Nov. 22, 1963, remember where they were and what they were doing when they leaned that John F. Kennedy, the nation's 35th president, had been assassinated. The promise of Camelot and the nightmare of Dealey Plaza were seared into the shared memory of a generation.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
While suitably impressive as a whole, the most stirring element of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum's immensely detailed and immersive "Clouds Over Cuba" interactive presentation is the slice of "alternate history" that shows what might have happened if the Cuban Missile Crisis hadn't been peacefully resolved 50 years ago this month. The material created by The Martin Agency and Tool of North America goes into great depth about the construction of Russian missile bases in Cuba and the tense October 1962 standoff between Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev that brought the superpowers perilously close to nuclear conflict. (The approach is similar to a the library's effort three years ago to commemorate the Apollo 11 moon landing, but this work is possibly more comprehensive, and given the subject matter, a lot more harrowing.) The centerpiece is a documentary narrated by Matthew Modine, which is supported by an array of audio, video, memoranda and assorted other data designed to provide an in-depth, panoramic understanding of global events that drove the conflict and the motivations and thought processes of the players involved.