Delegate's Cheesehead Hat

Patricia Hawley decorated and wore this hat while serving as a Wisconsin delegate to the 1996 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. The hat is an official "cheesehead" manufactured by Foamation Inc. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Before arriving at the Chicago convention, Hawley collected the bumper stickers from earlier political events and purchased the pinwheel at the Ford Pharmacy in Appleton, Wisconsin.
It is not known when delegates began the tradition of decorating their hats at political conventions. Over time, delegates' decorations have become more elaborate assemblages. These creations are often statements of a party loyalty, emblematic of a particular cause, or, as was the case of this cheese hat, expressions of local pride. Most are meant to be fun and a celebration of individual participation in the political process.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
associated dates
Clinton, Bill
Gore, Jr., Albert A.
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
styrofoam (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
orange (overall color)
red (overall color)
white (overall color)
blue (overall color)
black (overall color)
neon green (overall color)
triangle (overall shape)
average spatial: 14 1/2 in x 13 1/2 in x 14 in; 36.83 cm x 34.29 cm x 35.56 cm
associated place
United States: Illinois, Chicago, United Center
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Clothing & Accessories
Government, Politics, and Reform
National Treasures exhibit
Presidential Campaign of 1996
Democratic National Convention of 1996
See more items in
Political History: Political History, Campaign Collection
National Treasures exhibit
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Related Publication
Kendrick, Kathleen M. and Peter C. Liebhold. Smithsonian Treasures of American History
Publication title
Treasures of American History online exhibition
Publication author
National Museum of American History
Publication URL

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