You know me, I’m all about stories. But who would have thought lapel pins could say so much? Read My Pins is the traveling exhibit of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s collection of over 200 pins. The collection is currently on display at The Mint Museum of Craft & Design in uptown Charlotte, NC, and her pins say a lot.
Maybe you’ve heard the story of how she started sending messages with her lapel jewelry. Shortly after being called a snake in the Iraqi press, Ms. Albright was scheduled to meet with Saddam Hussein. On her shoulder was a beautiful snake wrapped around a twig. On a visit with Vladimir Putin she wore one that resembled the United States’ interceptor missiles. Both men noticed.
Sometimes the pins reflected a mood, like the angel she wore after the 1988 terrorist bombing of the U.S embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Or the dove worn while paying her respects to the victims of genocide in Rwanda.
Even without the diplomatic or historical significance, the pins are worth seeing. They include antiques from the late 1800’s to modern pieces. They were acquired from countries all around the world and those cultures are reflected in the pins. They are made from all kinds of materials, gems and even a piece of concrete from the Berlin Wall. Just about every animal, sea creature, bug, flower, fruit and vegetable is represented-at least once. There is one case with just spiders! The pins cover the spectrum from the serious and political to the whimsical-who knew Madeleine Albright was a fan of Star Trek?!
It’s the stories about the individual pieces, as well as the pins themselves, that gave me a sense of who Madeleine Albright is. I found both the pins and the woman fascinating.
The collection will be at The Mint Museum of Craft & Design until September 23. Ms. Albright was in Charlotte last month speaking and signing books . . . and of course buying pins in The Mint gift shop 🙂
Can’t make the exhibit in person? Her book, Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewelry Box is available on-line.