Smithsonian Curators To Collect 2024 Presidential Campaign Memorabilia

Monday, January 22, 2024
Smithsonian Curators To Collect 2024 Presidential Campaign Memorabilia

As the 2024 presidential election season speeds up with caucuses and primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, political history curators from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will be on the road gathering materials and memorabilia to document this election cycle for the national collections.

Curators Lisa Kathleen Graddy, Jon Grinspan and Claire Jerry are planning to cover initial Democratic and Republican contests leading up to Super Tuesday March 5. They will seek to include materials that reflect debates, rallies, protests, and on-site and digital campaign activities. The collecting initiative will continue through the summer’s nominating conventions and the November election.

“By actively collecting new materials at the primaries and the party conventions every four years, the nation’s flagship history museum documents the evolving spirit and complexity of the presidential campaign’s political landscape to then share with the American public, both now and in the future,” said Anthea M. Hartig, the museum’s Elizabeth MacMillan Director.

The museum’s political campaign collection with more than 100,000 objects is the largest of its kind, containing artifacts dating as far back as the inauguration of President George Washington. The collection includes objects related to presidential history and political campaigning, the history of the White House and first ladies; civil rights, women’s suffrage and reform movements; the World War II home front; and labor history.

The curatorial team seeks objects that represent a celebration of democracy and how people express and exercise their right to vote and how parties and individuals showcase their identity and candidate preferences. Prospective donors who may have objects and other materials that could be considered for future acquisition are invited to send photos and descriptions to

“Whether it’s handmade or mass-generated, each object represents history in the making by showing how candidates communicate with the public and how the public in turn communicates with the candidates,” Jerry said.

Stephanie Cime

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Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


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