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The 1950s Part 2: Beyond the American Dream exhibit

When the Smoky Hill Museum reopens to the public on Tuesday, September 29, 2020, visitors will be able to see the new exhibit The 1950s Part 2: Beyond the American Dream.  Hours of operation are Tuesdays through Fridays 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, and Saturdays 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

The 1950s Part 2: Beyond the American Dream looks at the vein of fear that was creeping into the minds of Americans. This might seem a bit extreme, yet in the 1950s this was a reality. In fact, on March 17, 1954, President Eisenhower addressed this very notion in what became known as his “Multiplicity of Fears Speech.” So what was there to fear? Well, there was McCarthyism, anxiety over nuclear weapons, the Korean War, polio and shocking events of racism. The 1950s was a whole lot more than tail fins, bobby-socks and blue suede shoes. Sure, these fun aspects provided a needed distraction at the time, but they can also form a cloud of nostalgia over the darker events of the decade.

There are some hands-on features of this exhibit as well, such as a fallout shelter based on plans from the 1950s; a kiosk featuring important court cases of the decade; an electronic football game, and the Daytona Speedway.

Museum staff are taking heightened precautions for visitor safety. The galleries, including hands-on items, have been treated with Prevent X, a long-lasting antimicrobial that provides continuous surface protection in between regular cleaning and disinfecting. In addition to the daily cleaning and disinfecting, sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer are also stationed throughout the galleries for visitor use.

Museum visitors will need to be aware of the following changes:

  • Masks are required to be worn at all times in the Museum.
  • Visitors must follow social distancing rules and keep six feet between their group and other visitors, staff and volunteers.
  • It is also requested that children remain with their party at all times and be fully supervised.

A full list of safety measures and protocols is available at

Special thanks to the exhibit sponsors – The Cozy Inn, John & Debbie Divine, and Ken & Susie Guest – who helped make this exhibit possible.