“Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection” opened at the Smithsonian Castle on June 18 and it will be on view through Oct. 11, 2010. This exhibition features more than 200 pins, many of which Secretary Albright wore to communicate messages during her diplomatic tenure.
Blue Bird Pin.
Albright, explaining the story behind her Blue Bird pin said, “Until the twenty-fourth of February 1996, I wore the pin with the bird's head soaring upward. On the afternoon of that tragic day, Cuban fighter pilots shot down two unarmed civilian aircraft over international waters between Cuba and Florida. To illustrate my feelings, I wore the bird pin with its head pointing down, in mourning for the free spirited Cuban-American fliers.”
During her service as ambassador to the United Nations, and then as U.S. Secretary of State, Albright came to understand how powerful a symbol an item of jewelry could be, and chose pins to reflect her diplomatic mission, reinforce her negotiating position or express her pride of country and office. The pins on view span more than a century of jewelry design and range from dime-store pins to designer creations to family heirlooms.
The exhibit examines the collection for its historical significance and the expressive power of jewelry and its ability to communicate through a style and language of its own.
“Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection” was organized by the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.