In honor of Senator Ted Kennedy's passion, commitment and ability to bridge political gaps, the new Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate will open Monday more than five years after his death, reports CBS News correspondent Chip Reid.
The star of the show at the new Boston facility is a full size replica of the Senate chamber, something the institute's president Jean MacCormack said will be used to help teach the public about a body in which Kennedy served for more than 45 years.
In the weeks leading up to Monday's official opening, some lucky middle and high school classes got to see how it works. They were sworn in as senators and wrote, debated and voted on legislation.
"What we want this to be, is active participation," MacCormack said.
They hope to inspire future voters, and future senators.
That's what Kennedy had in mind, she said, when he started making plans for the institute long before he was diagnosed with brain cancer. He died in 2009 before construction began.
Across the hall from the Senate floor is a replica of Kennedy's office, full of family photos and mementos.
Kennedy's son, former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, said he was blessed because his father allowed him to be part of his public life.
Kennedy said some people were intimidated by his father, but "when they saw that he loved dogs, when he had kids around, when he was around his family, it immediately softened them up and allowed my father to really do the business of this nation."
"There are great pictures of him and Orrin Hatch and John McCain and all these Republicans, and you'd say, 'How can that happen? He was a big liberal,' and it was because people liked working with Ted, the man. And that's what made him Senator Kennedy," said the late senator's son.
"When Ted Kennedy got fired up on the floor of the United States Senate, we didn't need the sound system," John McCain (R-Arizona) said on "Face the Nation" Sunday.
Kennedy's former Senate colleagues from both party's recalled his passion. McCain said that despite repeated rounds of verbal combat, they remained friends because they worked at it and never acted out of spite. He recalled the time Kennedy gave McCain's 6-year-old son the best birthday party ever.
"We took him out to a Coast Guard Cutter," he said. "We had a tour of the entire Boston harbor for my son Jim. Three different birthday cakes, three different times they sang 'Happy Birthday' to him."
He had tumultuous years, when scandal followed him, but he managed to pull out a history-making career in a family of history makers.