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Antique presidential campaign textiles focus of exhibition

Antique presidential campaign textile art is the focus of a new exhibition, "Your Next President . . . !" at the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum.

WASHINGTON — As the United States prepares to elect its 45th president, the new exhibition "Your Next President . . . ! The Campaign Art of Mark and Rosalind Shenkman," at the George WashingtonUniversity Museum and The Textile Museum, explores the evolution of American presidential campaigning. The show at 701 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052 ­ 202-994-5200) is free and open to the public through April 10, 2017.

Themes Addressed In Flags

The exhibition features rare presidential campaign textiles produced in the 19th and early 20th centuries that were collected by former GW Trustee Mark Shenkman and his wife Rosalind. It was curated by Jeff Bridgman, the leading collector and expert on American flags and historical textiles. The exhibit demonstrates the central role of the American flag in promoting campaigns more than a century ago. It also shows how the themes of protectionism, reform, prosperity, patriotism and immigration figured strongly in early campaigns and continue to resonate with voters today.

Complementing the campaign flags are political memorabilia and period graphics from the museum¹s Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection, the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., and the Collection of Tony Lee. Catchy political ribbons and buttons, as well as an actual torch used at political rallies of the 1870s, evoke a time of raucous electioneering.

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