Mint Museum seeks Madeleine Albright exhibit during DNC

Ron Stodghill

As political promises go, it’s hard to beat “Read My Lips: No new taxes.” It was infamously uttered by presidential candidate George H.W. Bush at the 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans.

 But as Charlotte prepares for its first national political convention, we’ll settle – at least for now – with “Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection.” It’s a much-lauded exhibition that examines the former Secretary of State’s collection of 200 pins and brooches she famously wore to communicate mood or message during her diplomatic tenure.

While the Mint Museum hasn’t yet announced the exhibit, museum officials confirm that a contract with Albright is “pending” for the exhibition to run during the DNC.  Part of the deal, of course, is that Albright herself make an appearance.

Secretary Albright’s collection blends history with, well, her-story. It’s part of Albright’s persona now, how she cleverly used her arsenal of light-hearted, patriotic and dark brooches to subtly express herself while globe-trotting a U.S. agenda.

There was that time, for instance, when Saddam Hussein’s press dubbed her a serpent. During Albright’s next meeting on Iraq, pinned to her suit, was a golden snake brooch. As she writes in her book, “Read My Pins: Stories From a Diplomat’s Jewel Box”  (HarperCollins, 2009):

“The idea of using pins as a diplomatic tool is not found in any State Department manual or in any text chronicling American foreign policy. The truth is that it would never have happened if not for Saddam Hussein.”

Albright’s exhibition uses the pins, many given as gifts from famous friends and international leaders, as a visual journey through important world events.


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