The 1968 Exhibit: The 1968 Exhibit, Opens Oct. 14 at the Minnesota History Center

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The 1968 Exhibit‚ Opens Oct. 14 at the Minnesota History Center

Major traveling exhibit will explore twelve months of relentless, culture-shifting, life-changing, memory-stamping events.

The year 1968 was a turning point for a generation coming of age and a nation at war, and the aftermath can still be felt today. A major traveling exhibit will debut at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul, Oct. 14, 2011-Feb. 20, 2012, that explores the causes and legacies of the year's non-stop barrage of events.

Developed by the Minnesota History Center, in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, the Chicago History Museum and the Oakland Museum of California, "The 1968 Exhibit," is an ambitious, multimedia exhibit that looks at how the events of the year have fueled a persistent, if often contradictory sense of identity for the people who were there and those who came after.

 A National Dialogue

"Discussions about the impact and legacy of 1968 are being had at dinner tables, in classrooms and on the streets of America," says Tom Brokaw, honorary chair of "The 1968 Exhibit," former anchor and managing editor of the "NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw," and author of "Boom! Talking About the Sixties." "It is time to document this watershed year through the voices of the people who experienced it firsthand, and to hear from the next generation about what it means to them."

Organized chronologically by the months of the year, the 5,000-square-foot exhibit will transport visitors back to 1968. The experience begins in January with a Huey helicopter that has "landed‚" in a living room. The sights and sounds of this media-saturated age fill the exhibit and stories from the people who were there are shared throughout. Three interactive "lounges" focus on music, design, and movies and television. "It was quite a year for indelible television," says James Comisar, curator of The Comisar Collection and one of the major resources for television artifacts in the exhibit. ‚ÄúWe all have our own great memories bundled in with classic TVshows and characters. Objects from ‚ÄòStar Trek,‚Äô ‚ÄòMission: Impossible,‚Äô ‚ÄòLaugh-In‚Äô and ‚ÄòThe Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour‚Äô provide another personal connection to this evocative year and exhibition.‚Äù  Compilation playlists of popular music, movies and television programs will be available on iTunes and Netflix.

Visitors can use mobile devices to access an online calendar of 1968 events, film footage and oral history excerpts. They can also share links and make comments via social networking sites. A kiosk in the gallery allows access to the same content.

A website at provides a place for ongoing discussions about the lasting impact of the year.

“The 1968 Exhibit” includes a slate of school and public programs, website, companion book and world premiere play produced by the History Theatre in St. Paul.

Opening Party

The public can get an early look at the exhibit with an opening party on Thursday, Oct. 13 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. The evening event includes a ‚ÄúTalk Back to ‚Äô68‚Äù activity, where visitors can have their say about a year that changed the world. Award-winning original shorts by Minnesota filmmakers will be shown on topics ranging from the Black Panthers to Minneapolis‚Äô West Bank music scene. Partygoers can learn about the origins of the peace symbol and make their own hand-crafted peace pendant, then test their knowledge of history and pop culture at the ‚Äú1968 Trivia Smackdown.‚Äù Music will play by Johnny Cash, the Beatles, Aretha Franklin and others. Plus, a fondue demo will transport visitors back to 1968 domestic entertaining. A cash bar will be available.

Exhibit Partnerships

Each partnerinstitution has brought to the exhibit artifacts, stories and other resources informed by their unique perspective on the year’s events. The Chicago History Museum has gathered materials related to the Democratic National Convention, while the Atlanta History Center provides resources related to Martin Luther King, Jr., Lester Maddox and the 1968 Olympic Games. The Oakland Museum of California’s collections are especially strong in the areas of the counterculture and protest movements. The Minnesota History Center documents the careers of Hubert Humphrey and Eugene McCarthy, as well as the American Indian Movement (AIM).

Grants & Awards

“The 1968 Exhibit” is supported by major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). “The 1968 Exhibit” has been designated a “We the People” project and received a Chairman’s Special Award for final design and production by the NEH.

The Minnesota History Centerholds the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society. The History Center is home to an innovative museum, engaging public programs, a research library, distinctive gift shops and an award-winning restaurant.

The Minnesota Historical Societyis 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.