Paging Gen X: Your Childhood Relics Could Go on Display at This Illinois Museum

Someone finally remembered the forgotten generation...

It's time to dig out your Trapper Keepers, bust out your He-Man action figures and blow the dust off your floppy disks. The Illinois State Museum in Springfield is looking to hear from those born from 1965 to 1980 for a new exhibition opening this fall.

Exterior of Illinois State Museum
Courtesy of Illinois State Museum

"We think it's time Gen X got some love," Illinois State Museum Curator of History Erika Holst told The Associated Press of the generation that often gets lost in the mix of Baby Boomers and Millennials.

Patrice's photo for Growing Up X
Courtesy of Illinois State Museum

Described as "the last generation to have had an analog childhood," the museum has launched an online survey to gather more information about Gen X memories, with questions about music, TV shows, and the news. The survey is also particularly interested in the experiences of "latchkey kids" or those who came home to an empty house after school.

Additionally, the museum is looking for people to loan old childhood artifacts for the exhibit entiled, "Growing Up X." Cassette tapes, scrunchies, and Star Wars memorabilia welcome.

Erica's photo for Growing Up X
Courtesy of Illinois State Museum

"We want to dig into the experience of being a child in the '70s, '80s and '90s," Holst told the AP. "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 exhibition will be more than a tour through forgotten memorabilia of the era. Curators hope to explore some of the trends and perhaps the consequences that came from Gen X childhoods.

So take a trip down memory lane. It's for history.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at

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