From 1935 until 1975 Texas license plates were only valid for one year at a time and the date was stamped into the plate itself, rather than a yearly registration sticker or seal. The color of the plate and the date stamp changed each year to help officials more easily recognize un-registered vehicles. However, exceptions were made during the Great Depression and WWII due to financial hardships and the desire to conserve metal. The 1968 Texas license plates were each stamped with the word “HemisFair” at the bottom to help promote the exposition being held that year in San Antonio.
The 1968 HemisFair exposition, also recognized as a “World’s Fair,” was the first international exposition in the Southwestern United States, and was held in conjunction with the 250th anniversary of the founding of San Antonio. Endorsed by congressman Henry B. Gonzales and many local businesses in San Antonio, the fair was a celebration of Latin American culture and was designed to promote the city of San Antonio as a center for international trade between the US and the world. The theme of HemisFair ’68 was the “Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas,” and more than thirty nations were featured during the fair. Many of those nations hosted exhibit pavilions in an area of the HemisFair park complex called “Las Plazas del Mundo.” To help highlight San Antonio and Texas’ strong ties to Latin America and the world, the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures first opened as the Texas State Exhibits Pavilion at the 1968 HemisFair. Today, the museum continues to pursue a mandate as the state’s center for multicultural education by investigating the varied experiences of people from across the world who call Texas home.