1968: There has never been another year like it, before or since. It began with the Tet Offensive, the turning point of the Vietnam War, and never let up. The year saw the assassinations of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy; Black Power; the struggle for women’s rights; the violent conflicts at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago; and the first full-color images of Earth from outer space beamed by Apollo 8.
Today, as we approach the 50th anniversary of this year, how far have we come? Currently, the war in Afghanistan is the longest conflict in U.S. history. Gun violence remains high. And Americans across the country are back on the streets, protesting against police brutality, an unpopular president, and Confederate statues and their removal. “The 1968 Exhibit” helps us understand where we have come from and where we are today—and how the events of this one year have shaped the politics and people of the last half-century.
“The 1968 Exhibit” returns to the Minnesota History Center, Dec. 23, 2017- Jan. 21, 2019 to mark the 50th anniversary of this pivotal year in history, following a successful five-year national tour. “The 1968 Exhibit” was developed by the Minnesota History Center, in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, the Chicago History Museum and the Oakland Museum of California. Tom Brokaw, news anchor and author of “Boom! Talking About the Sixties,” served as honorary chair of the project.
This immersive exhibit transports visitors back to 1968. Organized chronologically, the experience begins in January with a Vietnam-era Huey helicopter that has “landed” in an American living room, and concludes in December with a replica Apollo 8 Command Module and a display of Apollo 8’s iconic “Earthrise” image with audio from the mission’s astronauts. The sights and sounds of this media-saturated age fill the exhibit, and stories from the people who were there are shared throughout. Interactive “lounges” focus on music, movies and television, and feature iconic artifacts including a suede vest worn by Jimi Hendrix, a Beatles “Yellow Submarine” lunch box, and a sweater and shoes worn by Fred Rogers on the television show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
For more information visit the exhibit website and join the discussion online using #1968exhibit.
Exhibit Opening Event, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, Noon-4 p.m., Minnesota History Center
Spend Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. weekend at the History Center and explore “The 1968 Exhibit” while learning about the legacy of the civil rights movement. Families can create screen print posters inspired by the Poor People’s Campaign and the Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike; join local artist Sha Cage in a spoken word activity using language from King’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech; help pack cold-weather kits for the Dorothy Day Center; and enjoy performances by students from the Walker West Music Academy. Special thanks to General Mills and the MLK Holiday Breakfast for their major sponsorship of 1968.
Additional programs exploring connections between 1968 and today will be offered throughout the year.
“The 1968 Project: A Nation Coming of Age” integrates personal experiences from the people who were there with the national context of the year. Organized chronologically, this companion book incorporates photography, eyewitness accounts, artifacts and illuminating commentary by Brad Zellar, one of the Twin Cities' top social and cultural writers.
Support and Awards
“The 1968 Exhibit” is made possible in part by the Legacy Amendment through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008. Additional support comes from major grants, including a Chairman’s Special Award from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “The 1968 Exhibit” has been designated a “We the People” project by the NEH. Special thanks to General Mills and the MLK Holiday Breakfast for their major sponsorship of “The 1968 Exhibit.”
Location, Hours and Admission
The Minnesota History Center is located at 345 Kellogg Blvd. W. in St. Paul. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays (admission is free on Tuesdays from 3 to 8 p.m.), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and Noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Auxiliary aids and services are available with advance notice. For more information, call 651-259-3000 or 1-800-657-3773.
Admission to “The 1968 Exhibit” is included with regular History Center admission of $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, veterans/active military and college students, $6 ages 5 to 17, free age 4 and under and MNHS members.
The Minnesota History Center holds 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 Society is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.
The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.
Minnesota Historical Society
345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102
651-259-3000 • 1-800-657-3773