Collecting the presidential campaigns

By Dana Allen-Greil

Political history curators Harry Rubenstein and Larry Bird have been traveling to the Democratic and Republican National Conventions since the late 1980s. At each convention they collect campaign memorabilia for the museum’s political history collection—a whopping 150,000 objects and counting. In the following video, Harry and Larry give a “show and tell” of some of the artifacts they collected from the 2008 campaigns. In addition to everyday campaign materials such as signs and buttons, the two curators brought back some colorful artifacts—like a McCain “terrible towel” and an Obama action figure. What are some of the most interesting presidential items you’ve seen in elections past?

Dana Allen-Greil is the museum’s new media project manager. In her neighborhood, jack-o-lanterns bedecked with depictions of the candidates were quite popular this election season and, unfortunately, too perishable for the museum’s collections.