Two glass cases display the clothing worn by Governor Connally November 22, 1963.
According to the Warren Commission report: “Governor Connally was struck by a bullet which entered on the right side of his back and traveled downward through the right side of his chest, exiting below his right nipple. This bullet then passed through his right wrist and entered his left thigh where it caused a superficial wound.” A bullet found on the Governor’s stretcher at Parkland Memorial Hospital was determined by ballistics tests to be from the rifle found in the Texas School Book Depository.
In January 1964, the Governor donated the clothing he wore that day – shirt, jacket, trousers and tie, to the Texas State Archives, where they were on display until March 1964. In 2000 the Texas State Library and Archives Commission temporarily loaned the clothes to the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C for examination.
Early in 2013 staff of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission began customizing the dress forms on which the suit and shirt are now displayed. Exhibition of historical clothing requires careful support and cushioning so that fragile garments are not damaged by their own weight. A slick, spun polyester fabric allows the shirt to slip easily over the pliable arm supports and onto the customized dress form.
The French cuffs on Governor Connally’s shirt posed a special challenge. These cuffs must be exhibited folded in the manner they were worn to allow logical display of the bullet holes in that region. Cufflinks were originally used to maintain this fold, but the Governor’s cufflinks were not included when the suit was donated to TSLAC. To solve this problem, two small stays made of linen thread, museum board, and cotton muslin were constructed. The stays function like the original cufflinks, but their color and texture blends with the shirt without drawing visual attention to non-original items.
Following this exhibit the clothing will be returned to storage in a temperature, humidity, light and security controlled environment.
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