The 1968 Exhibit:

Nixon and "Sock it to ME?"



We're just about at the 44th anniversary of one of the most famous five seconds in US television history-- presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon's appearance on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, the highest-rated show of 1968, uttering (incredulously) the immortal line,"Sock it to ME??" 


"Law and Disorder: The Chicago Convention and its Aftermath"

Now that we're in the middle of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, it might be useful to revisit the most notorious political convention of the last hundred years, that is, the 1968 DNC that took place in Chicago.  In fact, the words "Chicago" and "convention," when used together as they are on the cover of this publication, still conjure up consistent images of mayhem-- a "police riot" that shocked the nation.

"PROMISES, PROMISES" debuts on Broadway in 1968

The lyricist Hal David, longtime collaborator with composer Burt Bacharach, died last week at the age of 91.  The David/Bacharach team's greatest success on Broadway came in 1968-- on December 1st, their musical comedy, Promises, Promises--opened in New York.  It was based on the classic 1960 Billy Wilder movie The Apartment.


Ok, so it really happened in 1969, but "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" premiered on national TV in 1968-- in February in fact, coming out of local "educational TV" in Pittsburgh.  

Check out his testimony before Congress in 1969 about the value of public television.

THEN-- head over to the 1968 Exhibit Timeline and watch a segment from the very first episode in 1968: 

Descriptive Copy: 

1968: An extraordinary year, an unforgettable exhibit

Twelve months of culture-shifting, life-changing, memory-stamping events are explored in this nationally traveling exhibition

This release is available online at:

(OAKLAND, CA) February 6, 2012—The year 1968 was a turning point for a generation coming of age and a nation at war; and throughout it all, the Bay Area was at the forefront with an emerging California counterculture. On March 31, the Oakland Museum of California presents The 1968 Exhibit, a major, multimedia exhibition examining the events of the year and how they fueled a persistent, and often contradictory, sense of identity for the people who were there and those who came after. On view March 31 through August 19, 2012, in OMCA’s Great Hall, 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.

“Discussions about the impact and legacy of 1968 are being had at dinner tables, in classrooms and on the streets of America” says 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.”

Undoubtedly, 1968 was one of the most powerful years of the 20th century. This landmark exhibition explores the social, political, and economic events of the year, which saw 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 events of 1968 had a huge effect on California’s history,” says OMCA Senior Curator of History Louise Pubols. “The San Francisco Bay Area became a hotbed of the Counterculture movement with people congregating here from all over the country; Robert Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles; and the Black Panthers became a force to be reckoned with. This exhibition reinforces OMCA’s strong commitment to telling the many stories of California, and the people and events that shape our collective heritage.”

“It was also quite a year for indelible television,” says James Comisar, curator of The Comisar Collection, the definitive archive of television artifacts. “We all have our own great memories bundled in with classic TV shows and characters, and 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 1968 Exhibit Includes:

• A 7,000-square-foot exhibition with dramatic immersive components and significant artifacts on loan from more than a dozen institutions and individuals; extensive media, loaded lounges, interactive and hands-on experiences; and an innovative mobile-device platform.

• A website,, that is integrated with the exhibition experience, allowing visitors to browse additional content and easily share their experiences with others by posting personal stories, observations, and photos of the year on the website.

• A companion exhibition titled All of Us or None: Social Justice Posters of the San Francisco Bay Area, also on view in OMCA’s Great Hall. Celebrating OMCA’s recent acquisition of the renowned All Of Us Or None (AOUON) poster collection, this comprehensive exhibition explores the poster renaissance that started in the Bay Area in the mid-1960s as both a legitimate art form as well as a powerful tool for public debate on social justice issues. The exhibition is guest curated by Lincoln Cushing.

Tour Dates:

The exhibition is scheduled to travel to all partner institutions as well as other key national destinations. The tentative touring schedule is:|

• Minnesota History Center

October 14, 2011 – February 20, 2012

• Oakland Museum of California

March 31, 2012 – August 19, 2012

• Heinz History Center

June 8, 2013 – September 2, 2013

• Missouri History Museum

October 5, 2013 – January 5, 2014

The 1968 Exhibit is supported by major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Designated a “We the People” project, the exhibition received a Chairman’s Special Award for final design and production by the NEH.

Exhibit Partnerships:

Each partner institution has brought to the exhibit artifacts, stories and other resources informed by their unique perspective on the year’s events. The Chicago History Museum has gathered materials related to the Democratic National Convention, while the Atlanta History Center provides resources related to Martin Luther King, Jr., Lester Maddox and the 1968 Olympic Games. The Oakland Museum of California’s collections are especially strong in the areas of the Counterculture and protest movements, and the Minnesota History Center documents the careers of Hubert Humphrey and Eugene McCarthy, as well as the American Indian Movement (AIM), founded in Minneapolis in 1968.

The 1968 Exhibit is organized by the Minnesota Historical Society, in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, the Chicago History Museum and the Oakland Museum of California.  


The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) brings together collections of art, history and natural science under one roof to tell the extraordinary stories of California and its people. OMCA's groundbreaking exhibits tell the many stories that comprise California with many voices, often drawing on first-person accounts by people who have shaped California's cultural heritage. Visitors are invited to actively participate in the Museum as they learn about the natural, artistic and social forces that affect the state and investigate their own role in both its history and its future. With more than 1.8 million objects, OMCA is a leading cultural institution of the Bay Area and a resource for the research and understanding of California's dynamic cultural and environmental heritage.


The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is at 1000 Oak Street, at 10th Street, in Oakland. OMCA is situated between downtown Oakland and Lake Merritt. Museum admission is $12 general; $9 seniors and students with valid ID, $6 youth ages 9 to 17, and free for Members and children 8 and under. OMCA offers onsite underground parking and is conveniently located one block from the Lake Merritt BART station, on the corner of 10th Street and Oak Street. The accessibility ramp is located at the new 1000 Oak Street main entrance. For more information, visit

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American Indians, Minnesota, and 1968

Check out this article about a new American Indian Movement Center slated to open in Minneapolis.  The American Indian Movement was founded in the city in 1968, and is featured in The 1968 Exhibit, on view at the Minnesota History Center until February 20, 2012.

1968 Tour of the Twin Cities

Can't get enough of 1968? The Minnesota Historical Society has created a new online virtual tour, the 1968 Tour of the Twin Cities, which highlights some of the most interesting and important places locally in the Twin Cities in the year 1968.