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1968: History Colorado looks at the year everything changed

A Huey helicopter that saw action at Vietnam is part of the exhibit.MANY MOONS have passed since I navigated the troubled shoals of 1968. The year that changed the world in ways we never anticipated changed me forever.

While I’ve never misplaced that time, memories hit like a tidal wave after visiting the History Colorado Center’s “1968 Exhibit,” a historical, visual and sensory timeline of 12 months in the life of America. But I get ahead of myself — or behind. Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

Shana Goldberg, assistant publisher of the Intermountain Jewish News, accompanied me to the exhibit. We were both excited. A student of history, Shana had researched 1968; I “lived” it. Our differing perspectives met in non-stop conversation until we arrived at the center, and only accelerated once we were there.

Museum staffers dressed in ‘60s regalia busied themselves in the lobby. Falling into a time warp, I wished I’d worn my hair wild and curly.

Erin Cole, assistant state historian at History Colorado, meets us on the fourth floor. Utterly proficient in an era she’s too young to recall, she escorts us to an introductory area — a table flanked by orange chairs.

“‘1968’ is about political events, social events, pop culture, what people bought and what they looked like,” Cole says. Those who were fully conscious in 1968 “can remember and say, ‘hey, this is what really happened.

“For younger people like me, it’s an opportunity to immerse ourselves in the events we heard of while we were growing up. This is important, because we’re still debating the legacy of the ‘60s today.”

Wrapped along the wall is a poignant month-by-month account of 1968: the Tet Offensive, the assassinations, the Democratic National Convention and dramatic cultural influences. The entire exhibition is distinguished by months.

“I’m a historian,” Cole concedes, “and historians don’t normally think that years are important. But when I first saw this traveling exhibit, which comes to us from the Minnesota History Center, I thought, ‘Yes, a lot actually did happen in 1968.’

“This exhibit deserves its billing: ‘The year that rocked the world.’”

The rest of this article is available in the February 27 IJN L’Chaim® print and digital edition only. Contact Carol to order your copy at or subscribe to our online e-Edition.

Andrea Jacobs

IJN Senior Writer |

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