2010.18.1

2008
4 in HIGH x 9 in WIDE
(10.16 cm HIGH x 22.86 cm WIDE)
Gift of Priscilla Dreby Rich
2010.18.1


This is a black felt top hat with a glittery, sequin-covered cloth covering the top of the hat, and blue sequins around the edge of the brim. Priscilla Rich created customized the hat by affixing two "Obama '08" bumper stickers (which she designed herself, before the official bumper stickers were released) around the hat. Priscilla ("Polly") Rich wore artifacts 2010.18.1-4 in her campaigning efforts for Barack Obama, as well as in her celebration of Obama's victory at the Danville/San Ramon Obama headquarters on inauguration day. Collectively, these artifacts have been designated "Artifact of the Year" for 2009. In this first cycle of the "Artifact of the Year" program, in early 2010, museum staff gathered nominations from the museum's African American, Asian Pacific, Latino, Native, and Teachers' Advisory Councils, asking what artifact they believed would epitomize California in 2009. Staff narrowed down the nominations to five choices: 1) California from Obama inauguration; 2) an artifact from the development of Facebook; 3) an artifact representing organic/sustainable food; and, representing the economic crisis, 4) a pink slip, or 5) a state-issued IOU. The vote count for each of these artifacts, in the same order listed above, were 13, 4, 2, 4, and 7. Museum researcher Adam Nilsen went out in search of Obama-related artifacts and received several responses from Obama campaign organizers, including Priscilla Rich. The staff selected this set of artifacts. Below is an excerpt from an email written to Adam Nilsen by Prisciall Rich, describing her experience in the campaign and her use of the artifacts: I was an Obama organizer, who made trips to Reno, Nevada, to our designated sister district, to build a voter base there by securing more invested supporters. I ended up contacting many youth non-voters willing to phone bank, tourists from other countries willing to phone bank from their own phone (legal to do), and unregistered residents willing to contact fellow voting residents. We were told at an Obama organizing 'Camp', that Nevada residents were apathetic about voting, which is why I worked up this street theatre event. The project proved to be worth it, taking me onto the University of Nevada campus and helping activate more student involvement, also helping me find this popular park setting, that proved to have the kind of foot traffic I was looking for. The park was recommended by a theatre set design instructor who was responsible for a mural painting in the area. I worked up a street theatre program with a University of Nevada theatre student, to attract interested supporters, to send them on to the local campaign office, or to phone bank from home - information printed on a handout. We had large foam core boards to begin with, acting as a half set of cards (26 of them, labeled: McPalin/Cain a la Mark Twain - based on the fact Mark Twain had spent time in this area of Nevada, and the locals would know that). The wind ended up liking these cards too. My next attempt was with a flip board. My hat, described below, proved to attract the conversation I needed to have. I have a set of black gloves that we used to accent the street theatre experience, and made handling the 'cards' and flipboard easier. Included with either the 'cards' and/or flipboard, is a blue sequined top hat, covered with two Obama bumper stickers. These were used at a popular park in downtown Reno, by the Truckee River, where I attracted many supporters.

Used: Priscilla Rich | Presidential campaign ~ Barack Obama | Inauguration ~ Barack Obama

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