The Sixties at 50 exhibit looks back at one of the most important decades in U.S. history through the rich collections of Vanderbilt’s libraries. This turbulent decade was rocked by a new counterculture and jolted by assassinations, leaving Americans divided by ideas about generation, race, gender, sexuality, war and politics. Amid abundant optimism for what could be, debates and protests sometimes led to riots.
Dean Connie Vinita Dowell chose this topic for the first major exhibit in the newly renovated Central Library.
The Sixties will be remembered as the decade that changed our nation—when we reached for the stars and struggled to find the meaning of equality.
“This exhibit marks the beginning of a new exhibits program designed to bring to the Nashville community as well as those on campus a glimpse of the remarkable collections of Vanderbilt’s libraries,” Dowell said. I am grateful to Celia Walker (director of special projects), Jody Combs (assistant dean for information technology), our bibliographers and our Special Collections staff whose expertise made the exhibit possible.”
The exhibit brings a uniquely Vanderbilt perspective to the memorable era. “Our focus is on nationally significant stories that are drawn from our own collections,” Walker says. “Drawing on the rich resources of the library’s Special Collections, the exhibit examines the Vietnam War, civil rights, the space race, and the way communication changed through television and motion pictures. Utilizing interactive technology, the exhibits also take a look at what life was like at Vanderbilt during the Sixties and explore the challenges and triumphs that marked the decade.”
With the perspective of a half-century, the Sixties will be remembered as the decade that changed our nation—when we reached for the stars and struggled to find the meaning of equality.
The exhibit will continue through August 13, 2011.
photo credit: John Russell, Steve Green, Vanderbilt University Special Collections, Collection Lane Motor Museum, Delbert Mann Papers, Vanderbilt University Special Collections, Apollo VII Crew: James G. Stahlman Collection, Vanderbilt University Special Collections