Description of Tie Dye & Tofu

20 January 2010 at 10:46 pm 15 comments

“What makes Eugene, Eugene?”

The Lane County Historical Museum ‘s major exhibition “Tie Dye and Tofu: How Mainstream Eugene Became a Counterculture Haven” runs through March 31, 2011.  The exhibit addresses the change in Eugene occurring 1965 through the mid 70s. This transitional era was important not only nationally, but to the development and identity of our community. This exhibit asks: What attracted the counterculture movement that changed Eugene to the city it is today? Who were/are the people and business that helped shape this movement?

Exhibit Components: Visitors to this multifaceted exhibit will experience the Eugene of 1965 to 1975. Counterculture endeavors and entrepreneurships, some of which continue today, are featured. Political and topical issues and activist groups of that period, as well as fashion, music, and communal living are all included. A 1970s mainstream interactive kitchen interior, a hippie pad interior, and an interactive exhibit of a coffee house all help to describe life during that period of time.

Complementary events and programs provide an opportunity to support the exhibit. Among the proposed events are a showing of an independent film about “Vortex I”, the only state-sponsored rock festival that occurred right here in Oregon.  A fashion show of one-of-a-kind period clothing and original creations by local artists inspired by the period is another proposed event.

Why now?: The timing of this exhibition is perfect.  Those who lived through Viet Nam, Woodstock and other pivotal cultural events of forty years ago are now reflecting on their significance.  Those too young to have experienced those years have inherited the results.

The news of this exhibit has generated widespread community interest and involvement.  The museum has received community support in the form of personal stories, photographs and objects. Within the first few months of this exhibit we have broken previous attendance records.  Tie Dye and Tofu is the museum’s most successful exhibition to date.

Come visit us!


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A Tie Dye Update!

15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. MT  |  1 March 2010 at 4:03 am

    This will be an exciting exhibition. Will there be an audio component? Good ol’ Grateful Dead? Maybe Further will play at the opening reception??

    Lane County Grateful Dead concert dates:

    U.O. EMU Ballroom

    McArthur Court

    Veneta (Old Renaissance Faire Ground)

    Veneta (Oregon Country Fairgrounds)

    Hult Center: Silva Hall

    Autzen Stadium

    • 2. lanecountyhistoricalmuseum  |  3 March 2010 at 12:25 am

      Thank you for the list of concert dates!

      To answer your question, Yes! We will have audio components as part of the exhibit. iPod shuffles featuring a selection of iconic counterculture music will be available for check out at the reception desk (only available for in-museum use, not long term loan). Also, we plan to have music playing in both the coffee house interior, and the VW Van (for more details about these elements, look under the “Interactive” page listed at the top of the blog). In the van, old KZEL radio broadcasts and programming will be playing. For the opening reception, we will have LIVE music courtesy of the current members of Wheatfield 🙂

    • 3. BC  |  1 September 2010 at 3:52 pm

      This list omits one Grateful Dead concert played at the LCC gym in about 1971 as a benefit for Whitebird.

      • 4. lanecountyhistoricalmuseum  |  9 September 2010 at 6:36 pm

        You are correct. And there are probably others we have not mentioned!

  • 5. Kelly  |  4 March 2010 at 9:45 pm

    this will be amazing I look forward to be there!
    Nice posting and blog!

  • 7. colleague  |  8 March 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Peace and love from your friends at Benton County Museum! We are excited about “Tie Dye & Tofu” and have linked from our blog at

    • 8. lanecountyhistoricalmuseum  |  9 March 2010 at 12:17 am

      Thank you Benton County Museum for your support! We will add you to our blog roll as well!

  • 9. Annette Gurdjian  |  21 August 2010 at 6:36 pm

    I’ve been trying to get Kitty Piercy interested in the idea of a Counter-Culture Museum in Eugene for serveral years.. Near the Federal courthouse would be a great spot. I think it could be a destination for people all over the country just as the Rock n Roll museum is a destination for people who would not otherwise visit Cleveland.
    There is so much to draw from, including for changing exhibits. The organic food movement started here; a destination for alternative health (just look at the ads in the back pages of the Eugene Weekly today), and more.
    I hope to see this exhibit today. I wish there was more publicity about it (ads in the paper). I don’t think a lot of people know about it. But I guess there are budget constraints. Too bad.

    • 10. lanecountyhistoricalmuseum  |  24 August 2010 at 10:43 pm

      Hi Annette-We too would like this exhibit to be a permanent one-what a draw for tourists! It is a colorful history and our attendance is way up -the word is getting out. We hope you enjoy the exhibit.

    • 11. angela  |  19 March 2011 at 7:51 pm

      You are so right, Annette. We should have a counter-culture museum here in Eugene. However, I wouldn’t agree that the “organic food movement started here.” When I first moved here from San Francisco in 1970, natural-organic-vegetarian-macrobiotic and bulk foods were just getting started in Eugene, while in San Francisco the movement had been in full swing for a number of years. That being said, Eugene is presently the best small city in the country for good, wholesome organic and vegetarian foods. Too bad there aren’t more restaurants here that serve that need, rather than the “nouveau cuisine” types that seem to be the trend.

  • 12. Christine  |  5 March 2011 at 11:35 pm

    I just visited your museum today, and enjoyed your exhibit very much. It was very thorough, with lots of great examples of the time period (clothing, music, photos, etc.) I enjoyed myself and found myself wishing I could’ve been around to live through those times.

    Annette is right; there should be a Counter-Culture museum here in Eugene (though some might argue that the town itself could be a counter-culture museum!) 😉

    • 13. lanecountyhistoricalmuseum  |  15 March 2011 at 4:37 pm

      We are glad you enjoyed your visit Christine. We are certainly enjoying all our visitors for Tie Dye-and we do hope to have the opportunity to present this exhibit in a permanent home some time in the future!

    • 14. Barney BeGuhl  |  7 April 2011 at 8:43 pm

      Enjoyed the exhibit. My wife and I went last fall. Was a bit dismayed that our City’s Tofu manufacturer, Surata Soyfoods, wasnt mentioned. I suppose it was because they started in 1977.
      Then again other companies using Suratas products as a staple ingredient were featured extensively. They too were using tofu only after 1977 as well. Makes the title of the exhibit a bit more rhetorical than accurate.
      I wish the dateline could have been just a couple years longer than the 1975 cut off, to include one of the few companies started back then thats still around.

      • 15. lanecountyhistoricalmuseum  |  11 April 2011 at 4:56 pm

        Hi Barney:
        Yes, there is much more that could have been included. This exhibit is the result of the extensive contributions of information, photos and artifacts that came to us after numerous appeals to the public. We went with the subjects that seemed to generate the most information and interest. We hope we get the chance to do an even bigger exhibit at some time in the future. We’re glad you visited the museum.

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