1968 exhibit on display at Oakland Museum

March 30, 2012 6:21:59 PM PDT
The year 1968 was a turning point for a generation and the start of the counter-culture in the Bay Area. A new multi-media exhibit called "The 1968 Project" revisits that year. It opens Saturday in the Oakland Museum of California.

There's something happening here and what it is, is quite clear. 1968 was the year of revolution and a symbol of everything that was right and everything that was wrong in the country. In The 1968 Project there is war and anti-war sides, two assassinations that numbed a nation, psychedelica in drugs and clothes, with music that defined a generation.

"For a lot of people it was very nostalgic. We tend to look back now with rose colored glasses of retrospect. But for people who lived through it at the time, it was also a wrenching time period," said Louise Pubols, the curator of history at the museum.

The Vietnam War was going on at the time too. The centerpiece is a restored Huey helicopter used in the war. It took 12 Vietnam vets to install it, including the Bay Area group Huey Vets-Emu Inc.

"We actually flew troops, carried then into battle and pulled them out of battle, resupply them and do Medivac when it was needed," said Wayne Terry, a Vietnam veteran.

He said it was rough to return and some didn't make it. Sentiment against the war was passionate, politics were frenzied; the Democratic convention in Chicago became a battleground. The Minnesota History Center assembled this show, including items from the Oakland Museum like love beads and a roach clip. The exhibit features Janis Joplin's feather boa and bell bottoms. Women were playing more active roles and getting their own commercials.

And with all of that going on outside, you could live in the comfort and security of your 1968 home where everyone had their cushions covered in plastic. You could listen to music on 45's and catch the popular TV shows on a color TV.

This exhibition lets you examine the impact of the year. Next door is a show of the poster renaissance that began in the Bay Area then. Both collections are up through August 19.


Load Comments