The social and political forces that swirled through the turbulent 1960s crested in 1968. That year saw the peak of the Vietnam War, the assassinations of 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 on TV, and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey polarized critics. President Lyndon Johnson chose not seek reelection following a tumultuous five years in office, and his successor, Richard Nixon, promised in his nomination acceptance speech that “the long, dark night for America is about to end.” In the closing days of the year, we saw earth in its entirety for the first time from the window of the Apollo 8 space capsule.
The 1968 Project is the accompanying book to the 1968 Exhibit, a major traveling exhibition developed by the Minnesota Historical Society in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, the Chicago History Museum, and the Oakland Museum of California. This companion book integrates personal experiences within the national context of the year, organized month by month, through photography, eyewitness accounts, artifacts, and illuminating commentary by one of the Twin Cities’ top social and cultural writers, Brad Zellar. The 1968 Exhibit returns to the Minnesota History Center for a second run, from December 23, 2017, through January 21, 2019. The remounted exhibit explores new questions about the changes---and lack thereof---we've seen in the fifty years between 1968 and 2018.