Massbay Comunity College

MassBay Professor Serves as Guest Curator for an Exhibit on the Counterculture Era

Love For Sale Exhibit Poster

MassBay history professor and "Love For Sale" curator Jill Silos-Rooney

Wellesley, MA (March 31, 2017) – When the Museum at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, located at the site of the original Woodstock concert in 1969, reopens this weekend, its featured exhibit, “Love For Sale: The Commercialization of the Counterculture,” will showcase the curation work of MassBay’s associate professor history Jill Silos-Rooney, who served as the museum’s 2017 Guest Curator.

The exhibit examines the commercialization of the Counterculture during the late 1960’s and the 1970’s. Featuring the extensive collection and memorabilia of Michael Stern, the exhibit looks at the influence of the Counterculture on popular culture and commercialism in the United States.

Dr. Silos-Rooney earned her Ph.D. in History from the University of New Hampshire, Master of Arts in History from the University of Colorado, and her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Connecticut.

It opens April 1 and will run until the end of the year. In addition, Dr. Silos-Rooney, along with pop culture collector Michael Stern, whose collection is featured in the exhibit will take part in open day WoodsTalk Live, a fireside chat, at 4 p.m. at the museum.

More information about the exhibit is available here.

How did this opportunity to curate this exhibit at Bethel Woods arise?

Jill Silos-Rooney: One of my graduate school colleagues, who is the Curator for the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site in Buffalo, N.Y., told me that the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts was looking for a Guest Curator for an exhibit on the counterculture. She knew that I had written my doctoral dissertation, and my forthcoming book on the counterculture. The Bethel Woods Center is on the location of the famous 1969 Woodstock concert and has a museum and performing arts venue. She thought I would be interested in the opportunity. She was right!

Have you curated museum exhibits before?

Dr. Silos-Rooney: This is my first exhibit. In the past, I trained docents at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH, and ran a history program for the New Hampshire Humanities division, so I am familiar with museum needs.

What are some of the notable pieces featured in this particular exhibit?

Dr. Silos-Rooney: The exhibit features the collection of Michael Stern, a private collector from Atlanta, GA. Mr. Stern has amassed a large number of rare Beatles memorabilia (including one of John Lennon's own denim caps) as well as everyday objects influenced by the counterculture. Rather than simply place these items in museum cases, I wanted to create an immersive experience in which visitors could see how the counterculture influenced daily life. To do this, we placed the items in a reconstruction of an average American home, circa 1970.

Though hippies rejected materialism, corporations and manufacturers seized on counterculture themes in order to sell products. Peace signs and psychedelic colors became part of household decor, and you can see them in our reproductions of a middle-class living room, dining area, and bedrooms for a teenage boy and teenage girl.

Mr. Stern also has a substantial collection of vintage black light posters from the 1960s and early 1970s, and we placed them all in a special dark room with the appropriate lighting to make the posters glow. It's a very fun room.