The 1968 Exhibit: Exhibit Walkthrough

For immediate release

Release dated: 
October 2, 2017
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Minnesota Historical Society 651-259-3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org
Lauren Peck, Minnesota Historical Society 651-259-3137, lauren.peck@mnhs.org

The 1968 Exhibit: Exhibit Walkthrough

JANUARY:  THE LIVING ROOM WAR
Visitors enter a living room where a Huey helicopter has “landed.” A television plays news reports about the escalating conflict of the Tet Offensive and Walter Cronkite casting doubt over the war effort.

  • Key objects: Bell UHI “Huey‚” Helicopter, Vietnam vets memorabilia

FEBRUARY: WE ARE LOSING THIS WAR
Opposite the helicopter, a media presentation relates combat stories from Vietnam War veterans. On Feb. 18, the Pentagon announced the highest weekly death toll of the war.

  • Key objects: flag-draped coffin, soldier memorabilia, draft cards, anti-war buttons

Lounge - TV & Movies
Visitors settle into beanbag chairs to watch TV clips from shows such as “Laugh-In,” “Gunsmoke” and “The Monkees‚” and films such as “Bonnie and Clyde,” “Funny Girl” and “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Highlights from the 1968 Summer Olympics, Super Bowl II and the World Series are also shown.

  • Key objects: Toys based on popular TV shows and movies including Star Trek “Tracer” guns, a sweater and shoes worn by Fred Rogers on the show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and a Beatles “Yellow Submarine” lunch box

MARCH: THE GENERATION GAP
Exhibit-goers experience student activism, especially the “Clean for Gene” movement for antiwar Democratic presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy. The sexual revolution is represented by the “LeClair Affair‚” in which a Barnard coed was disciplined for living off-campus with her boyfriend.

  • Key objects: 1968 college yearbooks, birth control pills, McCarthy peace dress

APRIL:  HAVE BEEN TO THE MOUNTAINTOP
The assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and its impact on the American people is told through a media presentation that includes the words of King from his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech—given the day before his murder—and oral history excerpts from people remembering King and his legacy.

  • Key objects: a funeral program for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

MAY: I AM SOMEBODY 
Following King’s death, the Rev. Ralph Abernathy took up the Poor People’s Campaign. Visitors learn about the campaign's call for jobs, income and housing equality for America’s poor and view images of “Resurrection City,” a tent city set up on the National Mall in Washington D.C.

  • Key objects: artifacts from the Poor People’s Campaign

JUNE: THE DEATH OF HOPE
Robert F. Kennedy’s brief presidential campaign for the Democratic ticket and the effect of his assassination on Americans are explored. The presidential campaign of Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey is also presented.

  • Key objects: Camera used at the Kennedy assassination, Humphrey items including a woman's belt emblazoned with “HHH”                                    

Lounge - Music
Original albums cover the wall and shadow boxes display concert tickets, programs, posters and autographs from musicians of the era. Visitors can take a 1968 music quiz and make their own album covers that they can share on Facebook.

  • Key objects: Janis Joplin concert poster, suede vest worn by Jimi Hendrix

JULY: LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT
Visitors can learn about the rise of conservatism through the presidential campaigns of third-party candidate George Wallace and Republicans Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon. Other July events include baseball's All-Star Game, played on July 9.

  • Key objects: Wallace, Reagan and Nixon campaign memorabilia

AUGUST: WELCOME TO CHICAGO
Violent confrontations at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago are explored through news footage and interviews with convention-goers, protesters, reporters and the Chicago police.

  • Key objects: convention badge, political buttons, policeman’s riot helmet, Yippie flag.

SEPTEMBER: SISTERHOOD IS POWERFUL
A recreated setting of protests by feminist activists against the 1968 Miss America pageant in Atlantic City shows a stuffed sheep wearing a prize ribbon and a “Freedom Trash Can” filled with “instruments of torture” such as high-heeled shoes and bras. Images of women in media and advertising, and the increasing role of women in the American workplace, are featured.

  • Key objects: Selectric typewriter, Barbie and Julia dolls

OCTOBER:  POWER TO THE PEOPLE
Opening with the famous “Black Power” salute at the Mexico City Summer Olympic Games, social movements fighting for inclusion and identity are presented, including stories drawn from the American Indian Movement and the Brown Berets, a radical Chicano rights group.

  • Key objects: 1968 Olympics souvenir memorabilia and American Indian Movement jean jacket

NOVEMBER: THE VOTES ARE IN
Visitors learn about the presidential candidates’ platforms on a touch screen monitor and from campaign commercials. Then they can enter a curtained voting booth used in the 1968 elections to cast their votes and compare their preferences with other visitors.

  • Key objects: voting booth, Nixon buttons

DECEMBER:  IN THE BEGINNING
Visitors enter the same living room as in the January section but with a full-sized replica of the Apollo 8 Command Module. Television reports of the launch and mission unfold while the iconic “Earthrise” image is displayed accompanied by audio of the crew reading from the Book of Genesis.

  • Key objects: reproduction Apollo 8 capsule, helmet, checklist and watch used by astronauts James Lovell and William Anders