Government, Politics, and Reform
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln are all represented in the Museum's collections—by a surveying compass, a lap desk, and a top hat, among other artifacts. But the roughly 100,000 objects in this collection reach beyond the possessions of statesmen to touch the broader political life of the nation—in election campaigns, the women's suffrage movement, labor activity, civil rights, and many other areas. Campaign objects make up much of the collection, including posters, novelties, ballots, voting machines, and many others. A second group includes general political history artifacts, such as first ladies' clothing and accessories, diplomatic materials, ceremonial objects, national symbols, and paintings and sculptures of political figures. The third main area focuses on artifacts related to political reform movements, from labor unions to antiwar groups.
"Government, Politics, and Reform - Overview" showing 1 items.
- In 1960, the Bucyrus-Erie Company of South Milwaukee, Wisconsin, presented this 14-inch-high, scale model of what was to become the world's largest stripping shovel to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Later that year, the President transferred this gift to the Smithsonian Institution. The Bucyrus-Erie Company had custom-designed this monster machine for the Peabody Coal Company. Bucyrus-Erie engineers anticipated that they would need two years to manufacture the behemoth, and an additional six months to assemble it at the site of the open-pit mine. (They planned to ship the machine's parts in over 250 railcars.) When finished, the shovel would weigh 7,000 tons, soar to the roofline of a 20-story building (some 220 feet high), and be able to extend its enormous 115-cubic-yard dipper over 460 feet, or about the length of an average city block. (The dipper's capacity would equal that of about six stand-sized dump trucks.) Fifty electric motors-ranging from 1/4 to 3,000 horsepower-would power the shovel, which was designed to be controlled by a single operator, perched in a cab five stories high. Publicists for Bucyrus-Erie called this the "largest self-powered mobile land vehicle ever built."
- Currently not on view
- date made
- Eisenhower, Dwight D.
- Bucyrus-Erie Company
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center