Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State under President Clinton, became famous for the pins she would wear during conferences with the world’s most important leaders. Her pins first came to prominence when she appeared with a snake pin prominently displayed on her shoulder at the United Nations, after the Iraqi press, controlled by Saddam Hussein, described her as an “unparalleled serpent.”
After that, her collection of pins grew quickly, encompassing patriotic pins and broaches commemorating special events such as the first flight of the space shuttle. Many were gifts from countries she visited and world leaders she met.
Albright’s personal collection of pins is currently touring museums around country. Originally arranged by the New York Museum of Art and Design, the exhibit, entitled Read My Pins, includes hundreds of pins, many with stories attached. Pictures of Albright wearing the pins at important diplomatic events are included with the exhibition.
Read My Pins was recently was on display during the Democratic National Convention at Charlotte, N.C.’s Mint Museum of Art, where delegates enjoyed the opportunity to meet and mingle at a convention event.
The exhibit is currently on display at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, Orange County, California, just outside of Los Angeles, until January 13, 2012, before moving on to the Gerald Ford Library in Grand Rapids, Michigan, from Jan. 27 to April 21, 2013.
For students of history – or those who just love “bling” – this is a don’t-miss exhibit.