Museum of the Decades: 1970s

Every decade has a personality, the ethos that marks the people living together during that time, giving us shared experience that shapes our day-to-day. It bonds us and reminds us we belong to a specific time, place and group, that we are a part of something larger than ourselves.

Here, Cheryl Mothes helps us wander through the 1970s and explore items that mattered to her when she was growing up during that decade. Remember your own experiences with these cultural touchstones; maybe they’re artifacts that mattered to you, too.

Here’s to recalling what has been good.

Curated by Cheryl Mothes

Photo by Aaron Eisenhauer

Hippie Life

Having an older sister and starting high school in 1973 allowed me to experience the hippie life vicariously, which I absolutely loved! I adorned every notebook with flower power designs, snapped photos of VW hippie beach vans using my beloved Polaroid camera that had a flip cube flash, wore wide belts and white boots, and collected numerous colorful peace signs.

The Jesus Movement

The impact of the Jesus Movement is still evident today, with many lives changed as a result. The movement inspired a shift toward a more contemporary style of worship, which was initially met with harsh criticism but is now commonplace, thanks to the pioneers of the movement.

Miniskirts and bell-bottoms

The music, fabrics and fashion of that time were truly incredible. It was a time when short skirts, corduroy bell-bottoms and bright seersucker plaids with high-waisted wide-belt pants were in vogue.

Photo by Aaron Eisenhauer

The Women’s Movement

The women’s movement also had a profound influence on my life, and I continue to study and advocate for progress in this area. The passage of Title IX was a pivotal moment not only for girls and women in athletics but also for the protections it provided. The movement toward equality in universities, the workplace and at home gained strength, and many inequalities were exposed, enlightening us about the challenges that needed to be addressed.

The Emporium

As a farm-raised Kansas teen, The Emporium was one of my favorite shops, a place I know many teens of that era would have loved. It had round candles that emitted a delightful strawberry scent, musk and patchouli incense, and even a black light room with psychedelic posters, making it the perfect place to find décor for my bedroom.