Museum and Library Closures

The New-York Historical Society will be closed on September 23, and select spaces will be closed September 24. For details, please visit our calendar.

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If Elected: The Game of American Politics

July 04, 2008 - January 11, 2009

The New-York Historical Society will mark the occasion of the upcoming November elections with a small exhibition that surveys the history of American presidential elections through the lens of campaign ephemera and other items of material culture.

Lantern, 1864. Tin, glass, paper. New-York Historical Society, Purchased from Elie Nadelman, 1937.585

The New-York Historical Society will mark the occasion of the upcoming November elections with a small exhibition that surveys the history of American presidential elections through the lens of campaign ephemera and other items of material culture. A wide spectrum of 19th and 20th century presidential campaign memorabilia from New-York Historical's Museum will be displayed, including lapel buttons, parade lanterns, ribbons, flags, banners, whiskey bottles, neckties, thimbles, handkerchiefs and bandanas, board games, hats worn by the candidates and a dress worn by an Eisenhower supporter in 1956. These provocative objects illustrate the many forms of political persuasion that have been used over the past two centuries and reveal much about the nation's changing election issues, prevailing political decorum, and the characteristics that Americans value in their leaders. In our age, saturated with electronic and print media, it is easy to lose sight of the central role that these large and small campaign materials played as vehicles for signifying political loyalties and inspiring voter support.

Creative: Tronvig Group