Where were you in 1968? More important, what were you wearing? Watching on TV?
The year 1968 was a turning point for a generation coming of age and a nation at war, the aftermath which can still be felt today. The 1968 Exhibit is coming to History Colorado in February. This must-see exhibit brings to life this pivotal American year through photographs, artifacts, vintage pop culture items and interactive experiences.
“Discussions about the impact and legacy of 1968 are being had at dinner tables, in classrooms and on the streets of America,” said 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 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, movies and television.
“It was quite a year for indelible television,” said William Convery, director of exhibits and the Colorado State Historian at History Colorado. “We all have our own great memories bundled in with classic TV shows and characters. Objects from ‘Star Trek,’ ‘Mission: Impossible,’ ‘Laugh-In’ and ‘The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour’ provide another personal connection to this evocative year and exhibition.”
The exhibit kicks off with a 1968 premiere party on Feb. 5 at the History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway. Tickets for the event cost $100; $90 for museum members. Tickets can be purchased at www.historycoloradocenter.org/exhibits/the-1968-exhibit/premiere-party/. Guests will have first access to the exhibit, as well as entertainment, groovy music, cuisine and cocktails in a setting reminiscent of 1968. There’s nowhere else in the state where guests can explore this incredible year, reflect on their own fond memories, and see the events that changed Colorado and America forever.
A centerpiece of “1968” is a reassembled Huey helicopter, the mainstay workforce in the Vietnam War. It carried soldiers into battle, returned the wounded, hauled supplies and picked up body bags. Vietnam was said to be the first living room war because we could see it happening on TV sets in American living rooms. The Huey is a symbol of that wrenching conflict and is literally staged in a living room. One of its massive rotors looms overhead like a chandelier.
In addition to the three interactive lounges in the actual exhibit featuring music, design, movies and television, families can soak in the ambiance of 1968 while relaxing in the Hippie Haven Lounge areas that will be located at the entrance to the History Colorado Center and in some of the museum’s commons spaces. Visitors can find out what happened in 1968 on their birthday and check how what they wear today compares with what would have been acceptable in 1968. These lounges will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 7, 16, 17; March 21, 27, 28; and April 3 and 4 and May 9.
On Feb. 16 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. visitors are invited to jump back in time and learn how the “1968 Exhibit” was built. Featured activities include the crafts of ’68, learning to macramé and a swingin’ ‘60s fashion show. Blasting off into outer space will feature the Apollo 8 mission and astronauts.
Tickets for the exhibit are available online at www.HistoryColoradoCenter.org . History Colorado will also have extended evening hours, open until 9 p.m. every third Tuesday (Feb. 17, March 17 and April 21).