American history nuts, take note: The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum launched interactive multimedia documentary “Clouds Over Cuba” today, the exact day Soviet missiles were discovered in Cuba 50 years ago, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Narrated by actor Matthew Modine, the film features dozens of archival photos, videos, documents and audio recordings that are automatically added to a digital dossier of the website viewer for further viewing and reviewing. An interactive timeline of the 13 most important days of the crisis will unspool “live” beginning October 16 (including secret ExCom meetings between JFK and his advisors, and letters between the president and Khrushchev), so that the viewer can “attend” these tense meetings and read the communications.
The film’s conclusion is unsettling, offering a “what if” scenario, showing an alternate 2012 in which the Cuban Missile Crisis had escalated to full-blown nuclear war 50 years ago.
The most unabashedly nerdy aspect of the “Clouds Over Cuba” project is that @JFK1962 is live-tweeting important moments in real time throughout the 13 days of the documentary. Millenial social media meets the mid-century Red Scare. Kind of makes one ponder what Twitter would have enabled in the years leading up to that era — @SenatorJoeMcCarthy? Yikes.