Smithsonian museums continue to be closed to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. No re-opening date is available at this time. Check our website and social media for updates.

The Cloud

Television promised to extend the participatory premise of American democratic institutions to every home. Political specialists believed that verbatim telecasts of conventions, rallies, and speeches would allow a new home-based audience to experience the spectacle of a presidential campaign. By the 1960s specialists capitalized on television techniques that emphasized performance and stagecraft, including the candidate debate (or joint candidate appearance) and the spot advertisement. Those campaigns join today’s political performances and advertisements in a cloud of competing images and cross talk on the Internet.

"The Cloud" in American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith