A Material World Traveling Exhibition

A Material World Traveling Exhibition

A photos of a young person with blond hair and their chin in their hands, with colorful triangles around their face.

Content: 42 graphic images. View Prospectus

Size: Approximately 1,700 square feet

Rental Period: 4 months

Display Period: 3 months

Availablity and Rental Fee: Contact us

“’Cause we are living in a material world, and I am a material girl.”  Madonna, 1984

From hair to defense budgets, shoulder pads to tax cuts, the 1980s were BIG.

After a defeat in war, disillusionment, advances in civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s, and disco, Americans became status seekers and shopaholics—the “Me Generation” was born and Madonna’s “Material Girl” was their anthem. The Eighties are remembered by many as a time of excess and extremes. But this materialism was not embraced or experienced by all Americans, and many pushed the boundaries of what was conventional.

The photographs from the Richmond Times-Dispatch that are featured in the A Material World: Photographs of the 1980s exhibition were important when they appeared in the 1980s as evidence of news being reported at the time. Today, they make real what has become legend to a generation who know the events of the decade were important without knowing why. They also help us understand today’s culture, which is being shaped by ’80s kids who are bringing that decade’s values, worldviews, and attitudes back.

Traveling Exhibition Schedule


    05/09/22 - 08/31/22: Ker Place, Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical SocietyOnancock, Virginia


    02/03/2023 - 05/07/2023: Fairfax Museum and Visitor CenterFairfax, Virginia

Veronica Blanco, Exhibition Technician
To book this exhibition, please contact:

Veronica Blanco, Exhibit Technician

Email: vblanco@VirginiaHistory.org 
Phone: 804.342.9648
Mail: Virginia Museum of History & Culture, P.O. Box 7311, Richmond, Virginia 23221

A Material World graphic panels installed in gallery
A Material World graphic panels installed in gallery
A Material World graphic panels installed in gallery