March signs preserved for future generations in museums across globe
Saturday’s Women’s March events from around the world broadcast images of record-breaking crowds, generations of women standing together, and of course — amazing protest signs. They ranged from emotional pleas written on coat hangers stating “We Won’t Go Back” to the hysterically British “I Am Quite Cross” seen in London’s march. Every sign was as unique and significant as its protester.
At the end of the day’s events, many left their signs purposefully on government buildings, Trump-owned offices, and in public areas as a reminder to government officials taking office that they had been there. The sheer volume of signs left prompted some to wonder what would happen to them.
Of course, it prompted some to complain about the mess marchers left in their wake. For those concerned citizens, please rest assured that the permits which were paid for (which had to be taken out to hold each march in the first place) included all cleanup efforts. Funny how we never seem to hear much complaining about clean-up efforts or mess after New Year’s Eve, parades, Fourth of July… the list goes on.
Museums and libraries from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History to the Library at Emory University have taken to Twitter to announce that they have been collecting the signs and requesting additional donations from marchers. The march, over three million strong, will go down as an important event to be preserved forever. Our children and grandchildren will be able to see a piece of history firsthand. And that is a beautiful thing.
No word yet on how these will be presented or showcased in each museum but it’s nice to know they will be maintained for future generations.
@boydwalker Our political history curatorial team was out on the National Mall on both Friday and Saturday.
— amhistorymuseum (@amhistorymuseum) January 22, 2017
— Bob Schmidt (@BobSchmidt7) January 21, 2017
— History Workshop (@HistoryWO) January 22, 2017
— Newberry Library (@NewberryLibrary) January 20, 2017
Pease consider donating your signs, flyers, buttons, hats from LA Womens March to us. We will create an archive. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
— USCSpeCol (@USCSpeCol) January 23, 2017
Donation instructions seem to vary by location. For those in the Chicago area, Newberry Library posted a guide for how people can donate their signs. Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts put out the call on Telegram.com for signs from the Boston and DC marches. The museum hopes the signs will complement an exhibit called “Picket Fence to Picket Line: Vision of American Citizenship”opened in October of last year. Other museums have information on their Twitter pages which are being visited by hundreds looking to contribute to the effort.
Much like the march itself, it is a grassroots effort driven by deliberate social media connections and motivated participation.