Curator Joy L. Bivins invites everyone to explore the Museum’s latest offering, The 1968 Exhibit.
In case you haven’t heard, The 1968 Exhibit is now on view at the Chicago History Museum. This unique traveling exhibition takes a look at one of the most turbulent years in American history and features stories and objects from across the nation. The show, which originated at the Minnesota History Center, is organized as a month-by-month walkthrough of some of the year’s most significant events, from the United States’ increased participation in the Vietnam War and the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to the mayhem that erupted at the Democratic National Convention and the rise of black power.
One of the key stories is of the escalating American casualties in the Vietnam War.
In May, activists brought the plight of the nation’s poor to Washington, DC, by erecting Resurrection City on the National Mall.
In addition to examining the difficult realities of the year, The 1968 Exhibit also features the music, culture, and fashion of the time. Inside the galleries, you can test your knowledge of the era’s music, as well as view clips of the year’s most popular films and television shows. Additionally, you can cast your vote for president with a gear-and-lever voting machine and view everyday objects used in typical American households.
Test your knowledge of the music of 1968.
The 1968 Exhibit provides a unique look back at a year that changed the nation. It will close on January 4, though, so be there or be square.
DePaul University students Jeff Buchbinder, Haley McAlpine, Caelin Niehoff, Sam Toninato, and Wynn VanHaren met with Vesna Noble of the Serbian American Museum St. Sava in Chicago for this entry in the Museum’s People and Places series. They were students of the Museum’s archivist, Peter T. Alter, as part of DePaul’s public history program.
The Serbian American Museum St. Sava (SAMS) is in a quiet residential neighborhood on Chicago’s North Side. The museum’s home is literally a home—a house built in 1905. Its location and physical space reflect the intimacy of Chicago’s Serbian American community. “When I first walked in here, I just loved the building,” Vesna Noble remarked. As an organizer and influential member of SAMS, she shared with us the museum’s history and Serbian culture.
Serbian American Museum St. Sava, 448 West Barry Avenue. All photographs by DePaul students.
While some rooms on the museum’s second floor serve as living quarters for Serbian visitors and dignitaries, several other rooms now house exhibitions. The display cases feature Serbian garments, immigration items, religious artifacts, and objects pertaining to inventor Nikola Tesla. One gallery features Serbian athletes, such as former NBA player Vlade Divac and tennis star Novak Djoković. Vesna and other volunteers work with institutions and individuals to borrow and acquire artifacts, posters, and documents for SAMS.
Display of Serbian artifacts.
This organization was named for St. Sava, the twelfth and thirteenth–century Serbian prince who became a monk and founded the Serbian Orthodox Church. SAMS was not always a museum—Serbian immigrants founded it as the Serbian Cultural Club St. Sava in 1952. Vesna described its early decades as a meeting place for Serbian intellectuals.
Curator and secretary Vesna Noble by the museum’s fireplace with a portrait of St. Sava.
In the early 2000s, the organization grew from a private club into a cultural center and finally into a museum. “Becoming a museum,” Vesna explained, “was a change that this place needed, and we believed a lot more people would be interested in helping at an institution like this.” The museum preserves and nourishes Serbian and Serbian American culture. Its leaders, like Vesna, also hope to create an awareness of Chicago’s Serbian community among non-Serbs.