1968: A Year that Shocked and Rocked Texas – and All of America

Bullock Museum's new exhibit will take visitors back in time and to the moon

MARCH 27, 2014 (AUSTIN, TX) – The Bullock Texas State History Museum announced this week that it will host "The 1968 Exhibit" from June 7 to Sept. 1, 2014. The social forces that swirled through the turbulent 1960s crested in 1968, a year that shaped the rest of the 20th century.

"The 1968 Exhibit" will bring to life this pivotal American year through photographs, artifacts, vintage pop culture items and interactives organized in 7,000 square feet of exhibit space in the Bullock Museum's Herzstein Hall.

Presented chronologically by the months of the year, the exhibit experience begins in January, 1968, with a Huey helicopter that has "landed" in a circa-1968 American living room. It continues by highlighting significant events each month, including the peak of the Vietnam War, riots and demonstrations across the country, and the tragic assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy. It ends in December of 1968 with the successful U.S. Apollo 8 mission to orbit the moon and the first-ever images of the entire Earth taken from space.

Vietnam-era artifacts, such as a full-size Huey helicopter, a draft notice, helmets and other gear will be on display, as well as a program from King's funeral service, and a camera used to photograph Kennedy the night he was shot.

The 1960s charted a dramatic road in America's pop culture. It was in 1968, that Hair opened on Broadway, Laugh-In debuted on television, and Johnny Cash gave his famous performance at Folsom Prison.

Three interactive lounges focus on the music, design, movies and television that shaped a generation. While in the exhibit, visitors will be able to cast a vote in the '68 presidential election, listen to music by '60s rock icons, and challenge friends to a 1960s-style quiz show about music and TV of the era.

"The 1968 Exhibit" has numerous links to Texas, including items related to President Lyndon B. Johnson's presidency, clothing worn by rock icon Janis Joplin, who was born in Texas, and items from the Apollo 8 manned space flight direct by NASA's mission control in Houston.

"The 1968 Exhibit" is a traveling exhibit organized by the Minnesota History Center in partnership 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. It will be hosted by the Bullock Museum from June 7 through September 1, 2014.

A companion exhibit, "When Austin Got Weird," opens July 11 in the Third-Floor Rotunda Gallery and will demonstrate what was happening in the Austin music scene during the 1960s. Using music posters from two Austin collections, this exhibit will explore the poster artists and music venues that helped define Austin's counterculture in the 1960s and 1970s.

From the archives of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History and the Austin History Center, 29 posters have been selected from artists Jim Franklin, Gilbert Shelton, Robert Burns, Micael Priest and others to trace Austin's transformation from a political capital into a music capital.