Jonathan Thompson, senior manager of media relations
EVERY FOUR YEARS: PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNS AND THE PRESS
WASHINGTON — Every four years, Americans elect a president. And every four years, presidential candidates and reporters face off on the campaign trail. On Feb. 17 — in time for Presidents Day weekend — the Newseum, the interactive museum of news in Washington, D.C., will open a new election-year exhibit, “Every Four Years: Presidential Campaigns and the Press.”
The exhibit, sponsored by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and The Washington Examiner, will be on display through the 2013 inauguration and will close Jan. 27, 2013.
The exhibit will explore how media coverage of presidential campaigns has evolved from William McKinley’s 1896 front-porch campaign to Barack Obama’s 2008 Internet campaign. Among the 120 artifacts on display are a microphone used by Franklin D. Roosevelt to deliver his famous “fireside chats,” handwritten notes taken by John F. Kennedy during a 1960 presidential debate with Richard Nixon and the jacket worn by Hillary Rodham Clinton when she became the first person to use her own website to declare her candidacy for the presidency. A lighter side of the exhibit features costumes and props from “Saturday Night Live,” “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report,” comedy shows that have become almost mandatory stops on the campaign trail as politicians try to show a sense of humor and court new audiences.
“‘Every Four Years’ gives Newseum visitors a glimpse into life on the campaign trail for candidates and the journalists who cover them,” said Jim Duff, chief executive officer of the Newseum. “The relationship between presidential hopefuls and the press is an important part of the democratic process and goes to the core of the Newseum’s mission — to help educate visitors about our freedoms, the press and its role in a free society.”
An interactive area will allow Newseum visitors to create their own campaign photo ops by mixing various backgrounds and previous candidates including Hillary Clinton, John F. Kennedy, Sarah Palin and Ronald Reagan. Visitors also can choose their candidate for president in a special Newseum voting booth. The exhibit will be updated throughout the 2012 campaign to highlight the latest news and photos from the campaign trail.
The exhibit also features an original 19-minute Newseum-produced film about the evolution of political ads on television and their influence on campaigns. “Every Four Years: Presidential Campaign Ads” spans the history of iconic campaign ads on TV, from Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “I Like Ike” in 1952 to Barack Obama’s “Yes, We Can” in 2008. It includes such controversial ads as the 1964 “daisy ad,” which ushered in a new era of televised attack ads. The film is shown on a 100-foot-long video wall in the Newseum’s Robert H. and Clarice Smith Big Screen Theater.
Additional artifacts on display include items used by campaign press and candidates, as well as items related to political parody:
- Bowling ball and size 14.5 bowling shoes used by candidate Barack Obama at a 2008 campaign stop in Altoona, Pa. The photo op didn’t go as planned: Obama bowled a 37 in seven frames.
- “Florida, Florida, Florida” white board used by NBC’s Tim Russert on election night 2000 to predict the key role the state would play in the outcome.
- Guitar — labeled “The Prez” — played by George H.W. Bush at a 1988 inaugural ball.
- Dallas Cowboys football jersey, with “Reagan 84” on the back, presented to Ronald Reagan at the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas.
- Suit, flag lapel pin and eyeglasses worn by Tina Fey as Sarah Palin in a 2008 “Saturday Night Live” sketch, and the blue suit with a Barack Obama pin worn by Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton.
Also on display will be a suffrage ribbon from 1920, the first year women could vote in every state.
“AAUW is proud to sponsor this timely exhibit at the Newseum,” said AAUW Executive Director and CEO Linda D. Hallman, CAE. “This is a great addition and complement to our AAUW Action Fund’s My Vote campaign, which will inspire women to go to the polls in 2012. We’re particularly pleased that the exhibit will pay homage to the rich history of women fighting for and earning the right to vote.”
Contributing sponsorship support is provided by The Washington Examiner.
About the Newseum
The Newseum — a 250,000-square-foot museum of news and history — offers visitors an experience that blends five centuries of news history with up-to-the-second technology and hands-on exhibits. Within its seven levels of galleries and theaters, the Newseum offers a unique environment that takes museum-goers behind the scenes to experience how and why news is made. Visit newseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Since 1881, AAUW has been one of the nation's leading voices promoting education and equity for women and girls. AAUW has a nationwide network of more than 100,000 members and donors, 1,000 branches, and 600 college/university institutional partners.