Eastern Illinois University Logo
Booth Library |

Revolutionary Decade | Exhibits

Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World

Related Exhibits

Timeline of America in the 1960s
North Lobby
So many important events occurred during the 1960s: inventions, social movements, artistic achievements, political upheavals, sporting triumphs and heartbreaks, scientific breakthroughs, entertainment milestones, military interventions and far too many deaths — often associated with one or more of the aforementioned. Sadly, the decade was also marked by a number of high-profile assassinations, and human tragedies played out both here at home and around the globe. Altogether, the 1960s are memorable as a time when America came to terms with its power and potential on the world stage — and when many aspects of daily life as we now know it began to take shape. Approximately 50 years later, the events on this timeline still reverberate. Curators: David Bell and Robert Hillman

EIU in the 1960s
Marvin Foyer
Overriding all events that took place at Eastern during the 1960s was the phenomenal growth of the campus physical environment itself. This exhibit focuses especially on this fast-paced development activity. Also featured in the exhibit is the rich cultural life to which Eastern’s burgeoning student population was exposed — a wide array of nationally and internationally known musicians, thespians, comedians, dancers and other entertainers brought to campus. Also highlighted are the homegrown activities and significant happenings that together created a stimulating campus experience. Curators: David Bell and Robert Hillman

Fashion in the ’60s: From Jackie O. to Janis Joplin
Marvin Foyer
The 1960s were marked by dramatic changes in the world of fashion. In the past, fashionable attire had traditionally been marketed only to the elite and wealthy. As the ’60s got underway, new synthetic fabrics made clothing more affordable, and styles gradually became less form fitting and more casual. Fashion designers soon realized that young members of the “Baby Boom” generation had far more disposable income than previous generations. All of these factors fueled dramatic shifts in fashion throughout the decade. Curator: Johna Von Behrens

1960s Art Scene
Marvin Foyer
This exhibit looks at artists of the 1960s, including Andy Warhol and the Chicago Imagists, who depicted the era’s stylistic movements: pop, minimalism, new realism, color field, psychedelic, optical, kinetic and 1960s-style commercial art. Curators: Sally Van der Graaff, Joe Hall-Ingram and Jeanne Goble

Music in the 1960s
Marvin Foyer
Music in the 1960s immediately brings to mind some of the most iconic performers and events in 20th-century music history, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Beatles and Woodstock. Rock ‘n’ roll trends of the 1950s evolved dramatically through the 1960s, leading to the counterculture of psychedelic and folk rock of the second half of the decade. The 1960s also saw the rise in popularity of funk and soul, with internationally recognized girl groups of the time such as Diana Ross and the Supremes. This exhibit highlights key figures and musical events of this highly influential decade.
Curators: Bill Schultz Jr. and Allen Lanham

Literature and 1960s America
Marvin Foyer
Literature reflects its times. The 1960s were unusually turbulent times. As a result, the literature of the 1960s was very experimental and groundbreaking. A wide range of new authors and genres appeared as a result of this restless atmosphere in American culture.
Curators: Janice Derr and David Bell

The Pill
Third-floor Reference Hallway
The first birth control pill, Enovid, was approved for use as an oral contraceptive in early 1960. It quickly became one of the most widely prescribed pharmaceuticals in American history. It allowed women to have choice in regard to timing and numbers of pregnancies and thus was one of the things that ushered in the second wave (after women’s suffrage) of the women’s movement. The exhibit highlights the development of the pill and controversies, both medical and societal, in its use. Curator: Ann Brownson

Technology in the 1960s
Third-floor Reference Hallway
"One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."  So many things we take for granted and rely heavily on in today's world - the Internet, the personal computer, ATMs, our car's GPS system, and even video games - had their birth in the 1960s.  The international rivalry of the United States and the Soviet Union, expressed via the space race, resulted in the first satellite (the Soviet Union's Sputnik - a precursor to the development of GPS) and the first manned exploration of another world (America's moon landing). This exhibit provides snapshots of this incredible era of innovation, a time that formed the very foundation of our technology-dependent 21st century world.
Curator: Todd Bruns

Biocide: Rachel Carson and the Environmental Movement
Third-floor Reference Hallway
Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was published in 1962, destined to be cited as the book that sparked the modern environmental movement. This exhibit includes the story behind the writing of Silent Spring, a sampling of Carson’s key foundational concerns, as well as the subsequent support and scathing criticisms of the book’s content and of Carson as a female writer. The flip side of this exhibit highlights countercultural environmental beliefs and actions that flourished under post-scarcity ideologies played out by student protests and those striving to “go back to the land.” Curator: Lee Whitacre

The Birth of a Theory -- Plate Tectonics: The Revolution of Geology
Third-floor Reference Hallway
Wondering about the Earth and how it was formed and operated has intrigued people at least as far back as 300 B.C. While people had been pondering the overarching physical mechanisms that shape the Earth for this entire time, it was not until the 1960s that a series of studies led to the theory of plate tectonics. This theory unified the scientific community as to how the Earth works. From this point forward, geology was a modern science and understanding of the planet has leaped forward with outstanding bounds. Curator: Diane Burns

The Vietnam War
Third-floor South Hallway
The Vietnam War formed the ongoing back drop for the decade of the 1960s. This poster exhibit presents an illustrated timeline of the American political and military involvement in the Vietnam War. Curator: Bradley P. Tolppanen

Novels of a Changing World
Third-floor South Hallway
Experience the spirit of the colorful, volatile and transformational 1960s by reading novels set during this decade. Topics include the civil rights movement; the Vietnam draft and protests; second-wave feminism; the counterculture of drugs and rock ‘n’ roll; and the glitzy world of art, fashion, and film. Some of the works in this exhibit were written during the ’60s, while others are historical novels that look back on and re-imagine the era. All are available for checkout from Booth Library. Curator: Sarah Johnson

1960s Children’s Educational Television Programs
Ballenger Teachers Center
With episodes that were both entertaining and educational, The Shari Lewis Show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and Sesame Street were popular television programs geared for a preschool audience. Come by the Ballenger Teachers Center to see what character traits you could learn from these programs. Curator: Jeanne Goble

Best-Selling Children’s Books of the 1960s
Ballenger Teachers Center
A group of children’s books has been selected as representations of the best sellers of the ’60s era. Additional images are featured in a display housed in the Ballenger Teachers Center.
Curator: Jeanne Goble

Social Movements of the 1960s
The 1960s were a decade of great social change across the nation. Many different segments of society, discriminated against because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status, found a voice to protest their unfair treatment, often modeling their struggle on the successful civil rights movement of African Americans. This exhibit, detailed below, showcases several related but distinct social movements. Curators: Steve Brantley, Ann Brownson and Todd Bruns

The Women’s Movement: The second wave of the women’s movement gained steam through the ’60s as part of the civil rights and anti-war movements. The approval of the pill and the consequent change in the number of women employed in the job market; the publishing of The Feminine Mystique (1963) by Betty Friedan, which described the simmering dissatisfaction felt by middle-class women; and the founding of the National Organization for Women in 1966 all provided grounding for the actions that would take place in the 1970s and beyond.

Civil Rights Movement: While the American civil rights era encompasses the latter half of the 1950s through the late 1960s, the decade of the ’60s marks a time of increased use of nonviolent resistance to combat racism, tactics promoted by Martin Luther King Jr. These tactics proved to be powerful tools to change the minds of Americans and force action in the federal government.

Student Antiwar Movement: The Students for a Democratic Society began in 1960 organizing support for social issues and working for civil rights. In 1965 SDS came out in opposition to the Vietnam War. There were many facets of society involved in the antiwar movement, including veterans of the war. But young people, “baby boomers” disillusioned with the leadership of the nation, were especially vocal.
Drug Culture: “Turn on, Tune in, Drop out,” the phrase made famous by counter-culture guru Timothy Leary, encapsulates a counter-culture movement in the ’60s that embraced experimentation with drug use. Psychedelic drugs such as LSD were particularly in vogue, and the use of such drugs heavily influenced some of the art and music of the era. These influences can still be heard in songs of the times, such as Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit.”

LGBTQ: Inspired by the black civil rights movement, gay rights activism in the 1960s became much more visible and politically active than it had been under the 1950s organizations the Daughters of Bilitis and the Mattachine Society. Self-identified as the “homophile” movement, activists picketed government agencies to protest discriminatory employment practices.

Migrant Worker Rights: Led by migrant worker César Chávez, the migrant worker rights movement modeled itself on the civil rights movement. Chávez organized the National Farm Workers Association (later renamed the United Farmworkers Union), and launched campaigns to organize grape farm workers and a boycott of grapes. These protests of the harsh working conditions that migrant farm workers experienced led eventually to the Californian Agricultural Labor Relations Act.

Inspired by the 1960s - Painting in a Time of Expanded Possibilities
First-floor Periodicals Hallway
The 1960s was an exciting period for painting; many important innovations occurred within a short amount of time. In the spirit of this time frame of change, students of EIU art professor Chris Kahler have created works that expand possibilities and encourage broad definitions of what makes an interesting and challenging work of art.

Presidents of the 1960s
South Lobby
Four men served as President of the United States during the 1960s. This exhibit highlights the major accomplishments and challenges of presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon. The centerpiece of the exhibit is a remarkable photo taken at Kennedy's innauguration that includes all four men, from left to right, in the order they served (or would serve) as President. Curator: Ann Brownson