Lincoln Presidential Museum extends popular exhibit
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[November 04, 2008]
SPRINGFIELD -- The political
yard signs and bumper stickers may soon be gone, but reminders of
past elections will stay around for a while.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum's "Packaging Presidents:
Two Centuries of Campaigns and Candidates" exhibit has been extended
through Nov. 30. The exhibit of more than 350 original presidential
campaign artifacts from the early 1800s to the present opened on
"Super Tuesday," Feb. 5, and was slated to close after the November
Election Day. However, intense public interest in this year's
presidential election helped museum officials decide to keep the
exhibit a few more weeks.
"Packaging Presidents" features the buttons, banners and broadcasts
that have promoted winning and losing candidates throughout U.S.
history. Visitors may see everything from buttons that promoted
Andrew Jackson for president in 1828 to the WBBM-TV Chicago camera
that broadcast the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debates. Visitors may also
cast ballots for the best president of all time.
Many people will
be familiar with the "I like Ike" button from Dwight Eisenhower's
1952 campaign, or the "I'm just wild about Harry" pin from Harry S.
Truman's 1948 election bid. However, slogans and promotional items,
both positive and negative, have accompanied U.S. presidential
elections for nearly two centuries. Besides the Eisenhower and
Truman buttons, "Packaging Presidents" includes:
An 1832 "King
Andrew I" handbill issued by incumbent Andrew Jackson's
opponent, Henry Clay.
Pins from William
Henry Harrison's 1840 "Log Cabin and Hard-Cider" campaign.
An embroidered silk
banner promoting James K. Polk for president in 1844.
Numerous items from
the 1860 campaign for candidates Stephen A. Douglas, John C.
Breckinridge, John Bell and Abraham Lincoln, a contest that
Lincoln won with less than 40 percent of the vote.
Thomas Nast's unflattering Vanity Fair caricatures of 1872
candidate Horace Greeley, who lost to incumbent Ulysses S.
An 1884 magazine
commentary about Grover Cleveland's having fathered a child out
of wedlock (Cleveland confirmed the story, and was elected), and
1888 campaign items that introduced "family values" into
Cleveland's re-election campaign (he had recently married, but
lost the election).
Gold and silver
bugs minted after William Jennings Bryan's "Cross of Gold"
speech during the 1896 campaign against William McKinley.
"Bull Moose" party
paraphernalia made during Theodore Roosevelt's unsuccessful
attempt to recapture the presidency in 1912.
"Christian in the
White House" materials that urged citizens to vote against
Democrat Al Smith in 1928 due to his Catholicism.
"I'll bet my (image
of donkey) on Willkie" for Wendell Willkie's unsuccessful
attempt to defeat FDR in 1940.
"I'm still madly
for Adlai" buttons and novelty items from Adlai Stevenson's 1952
and 1956 bids.
An image of a peanut with the word
"Jimmy" from Jimmy Carter's 1976 campaign.
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The exhibit includes a television camera from WBBM-TV Chicago,
loaned by the Museum of Broadcast Communication in Chicago, that was
used in the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debate, and visitors can watch the
debate through that piece of equipment. They can also view campaign
commercials that were produced for that new communication medium,
the television, including the famous Lyndon Johnson (anti-Barry
Goldwater) ad that shows a girl picking daisies while a nuclear
explosion occurs behind her.
Visitors may choose from among 12 candidates in voting for their
favorite president of all time.
"Packaging Presidents" was curated by Frederick Voss, retired
chief historian for the National Portrait Gallery and an
acknowledged expert on presidential campaign history, and is drawn
largely from the collection of Merrill Berman of Scarsdale, N.Y.,
who owns one of the nation's pre-eminent private political artifact
collections. A lavishly illustrated catalog accompanying the exhibit
may be purchased in the Museum Store.
"Packaging Presidents" is the latest in a series of successful,
highly regarded temporary exhibits at the Abraham Lincoln
Presidential Museum. The next temporary exhibit in the museum will
be "The Lincoln Project," featuring paintings by Don Pollack, which
will open in February 2009.
For more information about programs and exhibits at the Abraham
Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, visit
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
file received from the
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]