Preview: 1950s: Building the American Dream

By Matthew Lovett
From the July 18, 2013 edition

The 1950s doesn’t seem like that long ago, right? What’s 50 years, when parents and grandparents are always around to talk about it? The Ohio Historical Society’s new and shiny-as-a-fresh-Lustron-house exhibition lets you sneak a peek at life in 1950s Columbus.

The vision of 1950s America that some of us may remember or have procured from the memories of others will be personified in the exhibition; the OHS is well-stocked on all of the ’50s vintage items, including a 1957 Chevy Bellaire, Roy Rogers toys and a real Lustron house to hold it all. The experience takes a step toward the more realistic with authentic news and television program screenings.

There will be actors taking on standard 1950s roles (freaky), ranging from the traditionally-defined mother (think baking cakes) to the Lustron house salesperson.

Mind you, “Building the American Dream” isn’t solely a nostalgic exhibition. The OHS hopes to shift the notion that the ’50s were a decade of sunshine and rock ’n’ roll, but rather also a time that held the fight for Civil Rights, McCarthyism and the Cold War.

The OHS has done great work in making history a tangible experience for all ages, so I have no doubt that this will be any less extravagant.