Tuesday, November 04, 2008
sponsored by Jake's Furnishings

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum extends popular exhibit

Send a link to a friend

[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.

Donuts"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.

  • Famed cartoonist Thomas Nast's unflattering Vanity Fair caricatures of 1872 candidate Horace Greeley, who lost to incumbent Ulysses S. Grant.

  • 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.

[to top of second column]


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 www.presidentlincoln.org.

[Text from Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]




< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching and Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law and Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health and Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor