San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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August 12th, 2010
60s exhibit to remain on display through Sept. 4


Even a power outage could not dim the spirits of the 100 or so people who attended 60s Night at the Museum Friday evening, Aug. 6 at the LBJ Museum of San Marcos.

The exhibit, which includes a mix of memorabilia from the 1960s – from promotional posters and advertisements to record album covers and artifacts, many from the personal collection of museum operations manager Bill Cunningham – will remain on display through Sept. 4. The museum is open to the public without charge from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays although contributions are gratefully accepted.

While the special exhibit reflects mostly pop culture of the era, it fits right in with the museum’s permanent exhibits dedicated to preserving the memories of the 36th President of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson. Johnson served as vice president and president from 1960 to 1969. His days in San Marcos as a student at what is now Texas State University San Marcos and as a teacher at the Wellhousen School in Cotulla were transformational, influencing his focus on education and civil rights and developing his political skills.

The museum’s second annual 60s night fundraiser attracted a larger, more enthusiastic crowd than the first event held in 2009, according to the nonprofit’s board president Pat Murdock.

“I don’t know just exactly how long the power was out, but the crowd reacted to the outage remarkably well. They didn’t leave and they didn’t complain. They stayed. It came right in the middle of a tone-setting reading by Nick Hoover. Whether he had totally memorized the reading or whether he had a flashlight, I don’t know, but he kept on going,” Murdock said.

The evening’s first musicians, local resident HaleyAnna Finlay, her brother Sterling Finlay and his wife Stephanie, also performed in the darkened museum.

Decked out for the evening as Hunter S. Thompson, Cunningham continued his emceeing duties throughout the evening, challenging guests with trivia questions.

For the un-initiated, American journalist and author Hunter Stockton Thompson (July 18, 1937 – Feb. 20, 2005) was most famous for his fictionalized account of real-life experiences in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. He is credited as being the creator of Gonzo journalism, a style of reporting where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become central figures of their stories.

A large number of 60s night guests attended in dress from the era, with both the classic Audrey Hepburn and hippy looks both well represented.

Texas State fashion merchandising major Hilary Baker had organized a two-part fashion show. While the first part was interrupted by the power outage, the second part proceeded as planned during the musical set performed by Cheryl Murdock, accompanied by Michael Jackson.

In addition to trivia question prizes, a prize was given to the guest picked as best dressed for the 60s era. Although the judges’ decision was a three-way tie, the prize was given to authentically dressed “hippy” Jon Leonard, a retired postal worker who stayed “in character” throughout the evening.

The judges thought the Audrey Hepburn-like Nevin Cunningham and museum assistant Rafael Garcia’s Hugh Hefner deserved recognition, too.

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One thought on “60s exhibit to remain on display through Sept. 4

  1. We forgot to mention special notice to two contributors. Sgt. Jeff Jamison, of TSU-SM
    police department loaned museum a bust (on display in back exhibit booth of LBJ as portrayed in editorial cartoons of the times. He did it in junior high school and declined an offer of $50 (a princely sum in those days) from his art teacher to buy it.

    Also, Chris North loaned ads designed by her father–a real life “Madman”– in the Sixties, one of which even includes a smiling blonde tyke she claims is her.

    Thanks, Jeff & Chris, Hope others will remember what they may have stored for future Sixties Nights.

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