A Changing Society Is Explored In 'The 1968 Exhibit'

By Ashley Ray
In Culture

In a new comprehensive multimedia exhibit, the Missouri History Museum explores a year of transition in American society: 1968. The nation was grappling with new, and often conflicting, views on war, civil rights and gender issues. These issues permeated not only the news headlines but also popular culture. The exhibit chronologically documents this definitive year and can be viewed at MOHIST until Jan. 5, 2014.

DNC protests, The 1968 Exhibit

DNC protests, The 1968 Exhibit

The event is viewed chronologically by month. Starting with January, the viewer is immediately confronted with the Tet Offensive and Walter Cronkite’s coverage of the Vietnam war. From there, other riveting events such as the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, the Miss America protests by feminists groups, and the emergence of radical civil rights associations are covered.

But it’s not just news coverage. The event also focuses on the music, television shows and movies of the time such as “Laugh In,” Star Trek,” and “2001: A Space Odyssey.” The lounge areas of the exhibition address the importance and influence of pop culture at this time.

The year, and the movements it encompasses, has had a lasting effect on our society. As honorary chair of the 1968 exhibit Tom Brokaw says, “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.”

“The 1968 Exhibit” is a collaborative effort by the Minnesota History, the Chicago History Museum and the Oakland Museum of California. It is currently on display at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park.

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