Minnesota Historical Society's '1968 Project' Honored with Prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities Award

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Release dated: 
August 23, 2010
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Minnesota Historical Society's '1968 Project' Honored with Prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities Award

Includes $850,000 grant and Chairman's Special Award for 'addressing important humanities ideas in new ways'

The social forces that swirled through the turbulent 1960s crested in 1968. It was a turning point for a generation coming of age and a nation at war. The year saw the peak of the Vietnam War, the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, riots at the Democratic National Convention, assertions of Black Power at the Olympic Games and feminist demonstrations at the Miss America pageant. "Hair" opened on Broadway, "Laugh-In" debuted and became the number-one show on TV, "Bonnie and Clyde" and "The Graduate" picked up Oscars, and Johnny Cash gave a legendary performance at Folsom Prison. In the closing days of the year, the Earth was shown in its entirety for the first time from the window of the Apollo 8 space capsule. It was a relentless year, all of it vividly detailed like never before by television’s advancing influence.

The Minnesota Historical Society, in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, the Chicago History Museum and the Oakland Museum of California is developing a major traveling exhibit documenting this pivotal year.

In recognition and support of this effort the National Endowment for the Humanities announced on Aug. 10, 2010, a Chairman's Special Award and a grant of $850,000 for exhibit implementation. This award is given to projects that would be of "compelling interest to the general public, show exceptional promise of addressing important humanities ideas in new ways, and are likely to reach large, national audiences." In the fall of 2009, the NEH also recognized the project with a prestigious "We the People" designation.

Dan Spock, Director of the Minnesota History Center Museum, says "The generation that participated in the events of 1968 is ready to share their experiences with the benefit of hindsight. Younger audiences are looking for fresh and innovative ways to explore an era that has captured their imagination. We intend to mount an exhibition that spurs dialogue and the sharing stories in ways that are both timeless and thoroughly modern. The support of the NEH comes at a critical point for this exciting project."

"The 1968 Project" exhibit will include a major, three-dimensional installation with dramatic immersive settings; significant artifacts on loan from more than a dozen institutions and numerous individuals; an extensive media platform; interactive and hands-on experiences; and an innovative mobile-device platform integrated throughout the exhibit that will allow visitors to share their experiences and interact with other visitors.

The exhibit is the first-ever developed by the Minnesota Historical Society staff in partnership with historical institutions around the nation. It opens at the Minnesota History Center in the fall of 2011 and then travels to Oakland, Atlanta and Chicago through the fall of 2013. Exhibit dates for additional venues may be added.

"The 1968 Project" also includes a web site, active since 2007 that will be closely integrated with the exhibit, a short documentary film competition, and a rich menu of public and school programs.

For more information about "The 1968 Project," visit the web site at www.1968project.org.

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. Its essence is to illuminate the past as a way to shed light on the future. The Society collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing.