Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Art exhibit features historical political memorabilia

Politics often bring out the worst in a lot of people, but UA Libraries has found a way to bring conflicting sides together with their new exhibit.

“Red, White & Blue: Political Campaigns and Presidential Memorabilia” is an exhibit sponsored by UA Libraries, the A.S. Williams Americana Collection and the H.S. Hoole Special Collections Library. The exhibit will feature historical pieces of campaigns and party collectables dating as far back as Abraham Lincoln.

The idea for this exhibit came from Donna Adcock, director of public relations for UA Libraries.

“The subject is timely, with the current presidential, state and local elections being held this fall,” Adcock said.

Some of the items featured will include a Franklin D. Roosevelt campaign poster, a textbook issued by the Democratic National Convention in 1916 and a textbook issued by the Republican National Convention in 1928. Visitors can also see a songbook used in Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 campaign.

While memorabilia from American presidents will be on display, the collection will also feature two prominent Alabama politicians who both ran unsuccessful presidential campaigns: Oscar W. Underwood, who ran in 1924, and George Wallace, who ran four times between 1964 and 1972.

Jessica Lacher-Feldman, the curator of Rare Books and Special Collections for Hoole Library, said while producing her part of the exhibit, she chose to focus on a few main points, such as Underwood and Wallace. She thought these would be the “most interesting” for audiences.

Lacher-Feldman has been working with Hoole Libraries for more than 12 years and has participated in the production of many exhibits.

“I love everything about [producing exhibits],” Lacher-Feldman said. “I think the thing that excites me the most is working through the whole process of the exhibit. I love coming up with an idea and seeing it to fruition.”

Lacher-Feldman said she also enjoys the spontaneous learning brought on by exhibits.

Nancy DuPree, interim curator of the A.S. Williams Third Collection, was part of the team that selected the items to be displayed. She said there are two criteria that go into selecting a work: historical importance and appearance. DuPree said that color is often a determining factor for a collection piece, and cases filled with all-white pieces are generally turn-offs to the public.

“A case with nothing but that kind of thing is not eye-catching,” DuPree said. “It doesn’t have the interest, so you try to bring in some things that are colorful and attractive to look at.”

DuPree also said students should visit the exhibit regardless of what political party they agree with.

“I think we always need to remember, wherever we are, it’s not happening for the first time; we’ve had campaigns before,” DuPree said. “Even if the technology changes a lot of things, the campaign won’t change.”

Robert Christl, a junior majoring in political science and history, believes that in this time of campaign season, an exhibit like “Red, White & Blue” is relevant.

“I think it is important for this type of exhibit because political campaigns are at the heart of our democracy,” Christl said. “Therefore, it is vital that we appreciate the long history of the electoral process at work.”

Cody Jones, a senior majoring in political science, thinks students should go and visit the exhibit to become more educated in politics and leadership.

“I encourage students who are politically minded and want to be future leaders to consider getting involved in parties and campaigns,” Jones said, “Political knowledge is a sign of a healthy electorate.”

“Red, White & Blue” will run on the 2nd floor lobby of Gorgas Library until shortly after the November election.

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