RFK's Last Journey: An SFMOMA exhibit

- The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is commemorating the 50th anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy 's death with a special exhibit called: The Train: RFK's Last Journey.
KTVU's Amber Lee was invited to the press preview Thursday evening.
The exhibit officially opens Saturday, March 17.
It showcases photos and home movies.
It's not images of Kennedy, but the people who witnessed the train that carried Kennedy's casket to his final resting place.
"Seeing that train coming around a small bend moving very slow...mournfully slow," said Michael Scott. He was 15 years old on June 8th, 1968., when he witnessed the train that carried the body of then senator and democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy from New York to Arlington National Cemetary. Up to two million people lined the route. 
It was 3 days after Kennedy's assassination.
"The last car had a huge window. I see this flag draped casket and I see this lady with a veil sitting next to it," says Scott. 
This exhibit recalls that mournful journey, blending history with memories: images taken by photojournalist Paul Fusco from inside the train and photos taken by people standing along the route. 
"This is the final car that had kennedy's casket in it," said Milford Sprecher who was 16 years old when he took the photos of the train as it passed through Elkton, Maryland where he lived,"It really brings back what a sad time that was and what a turbulent time it was for the country." 
 
The country was coping with racial tensions following the assassination ;of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Junior just a few months earlier. 
The death of Kennedy united people in grief. 
 
 
"They have this need that they should be together. I think this is something we can still experience today when something happens...something terrible," said Clement Cherous, SFMOMA's senior curator of photography. 
 
People stood under the hot sun for hours waiting to get a glimpse of the train.
Tthe conductor reported hearing a crunching sound. 
 
"People were throwing pennies on the railroad tracks so when the train passed over them ...that they could keep the flattened pennies as a momento of the day," said Linde Lehtinen, SFMOMA assistant curator of photography. 
 
The artist who collected the snapshots and home movies in this exhibit says the images are a testimony to Robert Kennedy's ability to connect with people from all walks of life.
"I hung around train stations. I knocked on doors. I talked with many people and bit by bit, this collection started to grow," says Rein Jelle Terpstra, the artist of the project "The People's View." 
 
 
"There was this thing in the air: uncertainty, fear and pain that stands out in my mind," says Scott who saw the train travel through North East, Maryland where he lived. 
 
The curators say the exhibit captures a moment in American history that is still relevant today 50 years later, that Americans have the resiliency to move forward after tumultuous times.
 
The exhibit "The Train: RFK's Last Journey" is open to the public from March 17 through June 10, 2018.

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