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Museum showcases JFK’s favored Waldorf Astoria rocking chair

September 11, 2021 GMT

HYANNIS, Mass. (AP) — The John F. Kennedy Museum on Cape Cod is showcasing a rocking chair from the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York favored by the late president.

The museum in Hyannis, where the Kennedy’s famous summer compound is located, opened an exhibit on the chair earlier this month.

With its low seat and curved back, the chair provided comfort to help ease Kennedy’s chronic back pain from injuries suffered during World War II, according to the museum.

The Massachusetts Democrat eventually purchased more than a dozen of them for the White House, Camp David, Hyannisport, and Palm Beach, and his preference for the seats prompted a resurgence in popularity of rocking chairs.

“It is so fitting that the rocking chair that brought so much comfort to President Kennedy has made it to his beloved Cape Cod, a special place where he sought solace throughout his life,” Wendy Northcross, the museum’s executive director, said in a statement.

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The museum says Kennedy gifted the rocking chair to the Waldorf Astoria in 1962, in keeping with a tradition of presidents donating a keepsake as a remembrance of their stays in the hotel’s presidential suite.

The chair will be on loan to the Hyannis museum for the next two years while the New York property undergoes an extensive restoration.

When the Waldorf Astoria reopens in 2023, the rocking chair will return as part of a permanent exhibit on the history of the hotel, which marks its 90th anniversary in October.