Presidents’ Day has just passed. You might have noticed the myriad of advertisements for sales on cars, furniture and everything else under the sun. If you’re a history buff you even might have taken the opportunity to learn a few interesting facts about the various men who have held the highest office in the United States. (Did you know John Tyler, who served from 1841 to 1845, still has two living grandchildren?)
What might be more difficult to do in observance of Presidents’ Day is taking a look at the largest collection of Presidential campaign memorabilia. More than one million items, including buttons, hats, posters, dolls, clothing and a host of other bits of history, currently sit in boxes and crates in New York self storage units in Long Island City.
Robert Wright began his collection in 1968 with a button from the campaign of Robert F. Kennedy. When he passed away in 2008 at the age of 50, he had picked up thousands more buttons and was ready to put his entire collection on display in an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York.
The exhibition still went on, but soon after the entire collection was boxed up and has been sitting in self storage ever since.
While the collection remains, much of the knowledge behind the pieces and how Wright came by them is lost. Most of the stories were kept in his head, save for those he shared in the book “Campaigning for President”, published shortly before his death.
Many of the stories may be lost, but Robert Wright’s son Austin is determined to share his father’s collection with the world. He’s currently raising funds for both a permanent and traveling display of his father’s collection.
Antiques and historical artifacts are meant to be seen, but if you’re still working on how best to display your own collection, self storage can be the answer for you like it has been for the Wright family.