Irving’s newest museum has become the latest Irving building to be recognized on a national level for its historic significance.
The Ruth Paine House Museum was officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places on Nov. 26 for its connection to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The Paine House Museum joins other historic places in the Register associated with the assassination, including Dealey Plaza, the Texas School Book Depository and the Texas Theater.
The museum is named after Ruth Paine, an Irving resident and community activist in the 1960s who befriended Marina Oswald, the wife of alleged JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. Marina and her children lived with Paine at the time of the assassination. During the weekdays, Oswald lived in the Johnson Rooming House in Dallas, which was also named to the Register last month. Oswald visited Irving on the weekends and spent the night at Paine’s house the day before JFK was assassinated.
Nominations to the National Register were submitted by volunteers and staff with Preservation Dallas, a nonprofit group working to preserve historic buildings and neighborhoods.
“Preservation Dallas chose to nominate these two sites to the National Register of Historic Places as we felt it was important to document all of the sites that were associated with the tragic events that took place in November of 1963,” said Preservation Dallas Executive Director David Preziosi. “It is a great honor to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places and both of these places are important to the history of a national event that transpired in Dallas.”
The City of Irving purchased the historic home in 2009 and converted it to a museum, restoring the interior to its 1963 look. The city opened the museum in 2013, during the 50th anniversary celebration of President Kennedy’s assassination. The museum uses digital displays to tell the story of the events that unfolded in the house. In projected vignettes, actors play the roles of Ruth and Michael Paine, and Marina and Lee Harvey Oswald. Using conversations pulled from the historic record, the actors bring the story to life.