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Calling All Gen Xers: The Illinois State Museum Wants Your Help Curating a New Generation X Exhibit

Ellen Gutoskey
The Forgotten Generation hasn't forgotten this.
The Forgotten Generation hasn't forgotten this. / kutaytanir/iStock via Getty Images
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Baby Boomers got affordable housing; Millennials got a shade of pink; and Generation X, sandwiched between the two, got forgotten.

Gen X’s tendency to fly under the radar while its neighboring age ranges grab headlines engendered its nickname: the “Forgotten Generation.” But the Illinois State Museum is currently developing a new exhibition that’ll surely bring Gen X to the fore, at least until avocado toast reenters the news cycle.

As USA TODAY reports, the exhibition, titled “Growing Up X,” is set to open this October at the museum’s main branch in Springfield, Illinois. And if you’re a Gen Xer yourself—in other words, you were born between 1965 and 1980—you can even contribute to it.

The Illinois State Museum currently has a survey on its website calling all Gen Xers to identify any childhood belongings that they’d let the museum borrow (or keep) for use in the exhibit. These cultural artifacts could be anything from your old Trapper Keeper to your old copy of Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret—and just about everything in between: landline telephones, T-shirts, Star Wars action figures, original Nintendos, VHS tapes, and so on.

If you don’t have any physical items to lend, you can share your memories instead. “We want to dig into the experience of being a child in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s,” Illinois State Museum history curator Erika Holst told USA TODAY. “How did growing up adapting to new technology, often unsupervised, in the shadow of the Cold War, Reaganomics, Just Say No and the AIDS crisis shape this generation of people who are now coming into their own in middle age?”

The survey asks about your favorite childhood activities, books, programs, and slang; as well as self-reflective questions about your parenting style versus your parents’, societal messaging on personal identity, and more.

You can fill it out here.

[h/t USA TODAY]

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