Looking back through the most recent 50 years in American history, one number says it all: "1968."
A Knox College history class has researched and created a museum exhibit titled "1968" that explores the influential events of that year, including the Vietnam War and Tet Offensive, Civil Rights Movement, assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, and riots at the Chicago Democratic National Convention.
The free, public exhibit opens at 4 p.m. Thursday, May 24, in the Ford Center for the Fine Arts. The 18 students in the class will be at the May 24 opening from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. to talk about their displays with visitors. The exhibit will be on display through June 30.
The course "Museums, Monuments, and Memory" is taught by Catherine Denial, Bright Professor of American History and chair of history at Knox. The students are assigned to all the tasks involved in developing a museum exhibit, including research, design, construction, and publicity.
"In addition to learning about a critical period in contemporary American history, the students gain hands-on experience with the skills that make a museum exhibit effective," said Denial.
Offered every two years, the course most recently created an exhibit in 2016 on the comic book figure Captain America. The course's 2014 exhibit on immigration to Galesburg, "People and Place," won grant support from the Illinois Humanities Council.
"The students' displays explore political, social, and cultural events in Galesburg and the nation during the 1960s," Denial said. "They will also bring viewers up to date with reflections on what has and hasn't changed between 1968 and 2018."
Above and below, the class plans and creates the exhibit.