Your Next President!

Textiles have a history of political use as emblems within campaigns and causes, whether trade union banners, uniforms or signature quilts. As the USA slides into the final furlong of the presidential election, The Textile Museum presents Your Next President! which presents rare campaign flags and patriotic textiles from the Mark and Rosalind Shenkman Collection, which explore how presidential campaigning developed in the 19th century.

Your Next President!

Top left: Abraham Lincoln campaign flag, 1860. Until the design of the American flag was standardised in 1912, flagmakers enjoyed creating their own arrangements, such as this unusual ‘Great Star’ pattern, formed from individual stars.

Top right: Twenty-seven star James K Polk campaign flag, 1844. This large campaign flag includes an extra blue star on the upper white stripe to promote the immediate annexation of Texas.

Bottom left: Benjamin Harrison campaign bandana, 1888. This rare campaign bandana, with double portraits of Harrison and running mate Levi Morton, reminds voters that Harrison promised protection for US industries through high tariffs.

Bottom right: Thirteen star Henry Clay campaign flag, 1844. Candidate Henry Clay is promoted as the best choice to head the ship of state, pictured here.

Your Next President! The Art of Campaigning exhibition opens on 3rd September at The Textile Museum, Washington DC. The exhibition closes on 10th April 2017.


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