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Museum honors 50-year anniversary of freedom march
Friday, September 20th, 2013
Issue 38, Volume 17.
The event recounts the March for Freedom and Jobs that took place on Aug. 28, 1963 in Washington D.C.
More than 250,000 demonstrators attended the march to protest the social problems of their day, making the event the largest social rights movement in our nation’s history.
The photos that line the exhibit – which is located at the top floor of the museum – are the works of photographer Stanley Tretick and were taken during his time at Look Magazine, a photography-based magazine that lasted from the ‘30s through the ‘70s.
Some of the photos are of the actual march while others recount the events that occurred in the days and months leading up to the march. Exhibit attendees are given a healthy dose of the history of the day’s occurrences as well as a sense of the climate that set them into motion.
The exhibit was organized in order to celebrate and remember the march and its impact on the civil rights movement, according to Museum Services Manager Tracy Frick.
"The exhibit was timed to celebrate the time of the march for jobs and freedom, which was in August," said Frick. "We felt it was important to showcase that momentous time period in our nation’s history and so we sought an exhibit that would do that."
Frick said she thought one of the most important aspects of the exhibit was its ability to inform and educate younger individuals who are maybe not as familiar with the issues that spurred the Civil Rights Movement.
"We have whole new generation that is not familiar with the struggle for human rights and it was only a few years ago, relatively speaking, that an entire group of individuals was being treated as second class citizens," she said.
The exhibit has drawn the attention of a number of different individuals who have commented on comment boards located at the back of elevators that take visitors tothe main floor of the museum from the exhibit. Frick said that while at first, museum associates feared that some visitors might write unkind or prejudiced comments on the boards, the opposite has proven true. Visitors have written kind comments and have often thanked the museum for hosting the exhibit.
"People like having a voice. They like writing comments down about what they’ve seen," she said. "We expected some negative comments but did not receive one negative comment."
The exhibit has also been impactful for Museum Specialist Dale Wilkins, who said he remembers seeing the march on TV as a child. He also said he believes the exhibit shows children, teens and young adults who were not alive during the ‘60s what things were like then.
"Younger people are awakened to it," Wilkins said. "I think when people see the exhibit, they see just how active people were in the ‘60s."
Wilkins said he noticed that this exhibit has received a greater response than some others and has even drawn the interest of people who were at the march 50 years ago.
"People are just writing lots of comments and they’re really by impressed the exhibit," he said. "I met a couple people who told me they attended the event, so that was pretty cool."
Victoria Rehberg, the manager of licensing and exhibition at Stanley Tretick’s estate, said the exhibit contains photos from Look Magazine, but also some of Tretick’s works that have never been published.
Rehberg said she hopes the exhibit will continue to inspire people.
"Hopefully the exhibit will continue to serve as a window into one of the greatest, most organized, nonviolent rallies our nation has ever experienced," she said. "Visitors can stand in front of the large format reflection mural and feel as though they are standing directly amongst the march leaders inside the Lincoln Memorial."
The March on Washington exhibit is one of many that continually rotate through the Temecula Valley Museum. The museum has been in operation since 1999 and started out of the private collection of Tony Tobin, a Temecula resident who had amassed a number of artifacts related to the Temecula’s History.
The Temecula Valley Museum is located at 28314 Mercedes St. in Temecula.
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