Sneak peak at Durham's 70 exhibit made from community items

Posted at 2:51 PM, Feb 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-16 18:43:14-05

Inside the Durham Museum off 10th street, sounds of set up for the new exhibit is complemented by 8 track museum and pinball noises.

Around 70 photographers, including John Corn, Lyntha Scott Eiler, Danny Lyon, Flip Schulke and John H. White, completed 115 separate assignments between 1972 and 1977. The exhibit's photos capture the decade’s fashions, trends and lifestyles. From smokestacks to leisure suits, these images are a fascinating time capsule of ’70s America.

Thursday, museum staff hung 90 matted photos, but that is only part of the exhibit.

To set the stage for the groovy look at history, the museum had a big ask for the community: lend us your stuff. Starting in December they asked the community to go through attics and basements, looking for items the museum could borrow to complement the photos.

Tom Johnson was one person whose lent said stuff.

"Got this in 1976 this is a 1958 reissue of the Gibson Les Paul deluxe," he said Thursday, as he got a glimpse of the two guitars the Durham is borrowing from him for  the exhibit. One he remembers picking out at the old Hospy's downtown.

"Went down with my grandma and it was hanging on the wall. Picked it out and we picked it up," he said.

The Durham says they got upwards of 50 suggestions on some days. In total, more than 200 people offered items from attics and basements. A committee picked about 300 items from 70 donors.

"It was fun to come in every morning and go, that was used?! What is it?" Emma Sundberg, Curator of Collection for the Durham Museum, said.

Most of the items, like Johnson's guitars are being kept under glass for the length of the exhibit. But he says if someone wanted to look at the Les Paul from frets to strap, he wouldn't mind.

"I've got insurance!" he said.