One Year: 1968, An American Odyssey

June 29, 2018 - May 19, 2019

As part of a series of installations celebrating its golden anniversary, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery will present “One Year: 1968, An American Odyssey,” a one-room exhibition that looks back at an extraordinarily important and memorable time in American history. The show relies on some thirty portraits to tell the story of 1968, the year when the Vietnam War reached a turning point, the Civil Rights Act was signed into law, and television sets displayed everything from the Olympic Games to the first manned orbit of the moon. Memorably, it was also the year that the Portrait Gallery first opened its doors. The subjects featured in the exhibition continue to resonate in our collective memory. Representations of Martin Luther King Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon will share the walls with portraits of cultural figures such as Peggy Fleming, Arthur Ashe, Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. Depictions of other significant personalities, notably the Apollo 8 astronauts, will round out the exhibition.

This exhibition is curated by Portrait Gallery Historian, James Barber.

psychedellic poster of an African American man


One Year: 1969, A Book Discussion Group

Reconnect with 1968, a pivotal year in American history, through portraits and the written word.  Discuss artworks featured in the exhibition One Year: 1968, An American Odyssey in addition to a related book.  Presented in partnership with the DX Puglic LIgrary,  Register at:


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