A Look Back at the 1970s
The Me Decade, a retrospective exhibition of the 1970s, is on display at the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum.
It features clothing from the era, presented under a disco ball on a dancefloor in the center of the gallery, including bell-bottom jeans, halter tops, hot pants, and more. The exhibition also features artifacts from the decade from the museum’s permanent collection, such as Fisher-Price toys, a Coronamatic typewriter, a CB radio, a Westinghouse Electric tabletop radio, kitchen appliances made by The Hoover Company, a Panasonic microwave, box purses, platform shoes, and commemorative items from the nation’s bicentennial celebration in 1976. The exhibition also includes a recreation of a 1970s dining room with an orange shag rug and retro floral wallpaper.
“Every ten years, we create an exhibition on a decade from the 20th century,” said Kim Kenney, Executive Director of the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum. “We featured the 1960s back in 2011, but COVID interfered with our plans to showcase the 1970s. We have postponed the exhibition twice because we wanted to be sure we could have a Disco Party as our fall fundraiser to celebrate the opening of the exhibition. After planning the exhibition and event for two years, we’re glad to finally be able to have both in 2022.”
It is important to study and collect from time periods that are not readily considered “history” before those items are discarded or otherwise lost. “It’s hard for people to admit that the 1970s are history, but realistically 1970 was more than 50 years ago,” said Kenney. “We started highlighting decades from the 20th century in our exhibitions 20 years ago as a way to remind people that the objects they made and used in their lifetimes are worth preserving. We are also the Stark County Historical Society, so our mission includes collecting and studying local history. Most of our collection is actually not related to President McKinley.”
The McKinley Presidential Library & Museum is located at 800 McKinley Monument Dr. NW in Canton. The Keller Gallery is the Museum’s temporary exhibition space and features a variety of topics each year. The Museum also includes the McKinley National Memorial, McKinley Gallery, Street of Shops, The Stark County Story, Discover World, Ramsayer Research Library, and the Hoover-Price Planetarium. The Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The Museum is closed Sunday and Monday.