Smithsonian Collects Convention Memorabilia To Tell This Election's Story Smithsonian curators shipped some 100 pounds of souvenirs from the Republican and Democratic conventions — "great objects that engage issues for 2016" — back to the American history museum.
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Smithsonian Collects Convention Memorabilia To Tell This Election's Story

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Smithsonian Collects Convention Memorabilia To Tell This Election's Story

Smithsonian Collects Convention Memorabilia To Tell This Election's Story

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And, of course, a lot of people are glued to the news this election season. But let's hear from one who has his eye on political history. Jon Grinspan is a curator at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. He has been spending his summer scouting for memorabilia that can represent the highs and lows of the 2016 election.

JON GRINSPAN: We collect a fair amount of Republican, Democratic, red, white and blue stuff. But there are great objects that engage issues for 2016 that can communicate those issues and those debates a hundred years from now.

MONTAGNE: Grinspan attended both the Democratic and Republican conventions this summer, searching for convention ephemera to consign to the annals of history. He and a colleague rounded up all kinds of stuff - pun-filled signs that say Play The Trump Card at the Republican convention and a homemade superhero cape for Hillary Clinton at the Democratic one. All told, they shipped some 100 pounds of souvenirs back to the museum. Grinspan hopes it will tell the story of a divided America for generations to come.

GRINSPAN: We have the red Donald Trump golf hats that say make america great on them. And then we also have a sign from a protester that says, America was never great. So there's a debate over the nature of American history and the interpretation of it that, in many ways, lies at the center of the political campaign.

MONTAGNE: The exhibit will go on display early next year at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

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