UW Archives and Madison Public Library Collaborative Public Project to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Dow Demonstrations

September 28, 2017

October 2017 will mark 50 years since the Dow demonstrations took place on campus, transforming the lives of many students, staff, and community members. Beginning on October 18 and into October 19, 1967, hundreds of students protesting Dow Chemicals blocked access to the Commerce Building on campus, with Madison Police removing participants with force. The events are considered to have transformed UW-Madison into one of the leaders in the anti-war movement of the time.

Anti-Dow Chemical protest as seen from the broken window at the Commerce Building of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. (UW-Madison Archives)

Now, 50 years later, the UW-Madison Libraries and Madison Public Library are collaborating through a joint public history project to collect stories from those who lived through the Dow demonstrations and to share the impact it made on their lives.

“The events of October 1967 left a lasting impact on both the campus and wider community,” said Troy Reeves, head of the oral history program with the University Archives. “The students’ experiences helped shape the campus anti-war culture throughout the remainder of the 1960s and into the next decade. Ensuring that these stories are captured for the future is not only about preserving history, but helping to understand the impact it has had on the present and will have on the future.”

To gather stories from those who experienced the demonstrations, the UW-Madison Libraries are partnering with Madison Public Library to set up recording stations at the Central Library, October 18-19, for community members to share their memories.

  • Recording Dates: October 18-19
  • Time: 10:00 A.M. – 8:00 P.M.
  • Location: Madison Public Library, Central Library, 201 W. Mifflin St., Local History Room (2nd floor)

“We are pleased to have this opportunity to work together with the University Archives to capture stories of this important era in Madison’s history,” said Michael Spelman, Public Services Manager of the Central Library. “By highlighting both institutions, we hope that Madisonians will be inspired to learn more about the history of their city and the University.”

As the 50th anniversary of the demonstration approach, the University Archives will also assist the University as it prepares to launch a collaborative special multimedia project sharing the stories of alumni experiences during the Dow demonstrations.


Update October 26, 2017

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