About the 1968 Exhibit
A turning point for an entire generation’s coming of age and a nation engaged in war, 1968 was comprised of twelve months of memory-stamping events including the peak of the Vietnam War; the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy; riots at the Democratic National Convention; Black Power demonstrations at the Summer Olympics; feminist demonstrations at the Miss America pageant, and much more. The year also featured memorable moments in pop culture history including movies like “2001: A Space Odyssey,” television shows like “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” the opening of the musical “Hair” and the release of the Beatles’ “The White Album.”
Organized by the months of the year, the 5,000-square-foot exhibition features over 100 artifacts, including:
A reconstructed Bell UH-1 Iroquois “Huey” helicopter used in the conflict in Vietnam (Photo courtesy Minnesota Historical Society).
A full-size replica of the Apollo 8 command module and the actual pressure bubble helmet used by James Lovell who served as the command module pilot for Apollo 8 (Courtesy the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC)
Funeral program for Martin Luther King, Jr. (Courtesy the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia)
Mattel Co.’s talking “Mrs. Beasley” doll from the television show “Family Affair”
Robert F. Kennedy Pin (Courtesy Oakland Museum of California)
Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In Album Cover
U.S. Army Vietnam-era battle helmet (From the Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society)
The exhibition also features three immersive, interactive “lounges” focusing on movies, music, television and design from 1968.
- Visitors can settle into bean-bag chairs to watch TV clips from shows such as “Laugh-In,” “Gunsmoke” and “The Monkees” and films such as “Bonnie and Clyde,” and “Funny Girl.” Highlights from the Olympic Games, Super Bowl II and the World Series also are shown on monitors.
- In the “Music Lounge,” original albums cover the wall and shadow boxes display concert tickets, programs, posters and autographs from musicians of the era. Visitors also can take a 1968 music quiz and make their own album covers that they can share on Facebook.
- In the “Style Lounge,” visitors can explore the world of consumer goods from 1968, including plastics—molded into furniture, stitched into clothing and shaped into household goods—along with denim jeans, wood paneling and shag carpeting.
The Center is creating a special “Community Lounge” section within the exhibition where visitors can share memories on subject matter from the momentous year including politics, the Vietnam War, pop culture, innovation, and civil rights. This section will also feature a special program titled Stories of ’68, where members of the public, local television and radio personalities, and other well-known Philadelphians in city government will be invited to share their recollections of the extraordinary year with visitors in a discussion led by a member of the Center’s staff.
This exhibition is organized by the Minnesota History Center in association with the Atlanta History Center, the Chicago History Museum, and the Oakland Museum of California, and is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
CBS 3 and The CW Philly are the official media partners of the exhibition. CBS 3 (KYW-TV) and The CW Philly 57 (WPSG-TV) are part of CBS Television Stations, a division of CBS Corporation.