The National Museum of American History’s Quest to Find Worthwhile Obama Collectables


Apparently unaware of the Walgreens we drove by the other day whose sign out front read “Lots of Obama Memorabilia Still Available!” the National Museum of American History has been on the hunt for worthwhile collectables from the inauguration to include in their collection. Unfortunately, because they don’t know about our museum-friendly Walgreens, they sent two curators out to wander around the billions of pieces of Obama merchandise spread knee-deep in Washington D.C. during the inauguration itself where they stopped to ask people if they would hand over what they had in order to preserve it. And as they’ve waded, they’re trying to determine just what exactly speaks the most about the historical importance of the moment, from hats to blankets to buttons. Here’s a bit:

“The rule of thumb that we use is anything that’s made to be a collectible isn’t,” [Larry Bird] said.

So the museum focuses on collecting things that people make and wear. And it takes some guess work as to what will be historically significant years later.

“To be able to get it at that moment, to say it came from this spot, this moment, this place in time — that’s what we want,” Bird said.