Mon. Mar 20th, 2023

At age 10, Jordan Wright collected a presidential campaign button for Robert Kennedy in 1968. It was the start of years of collecting that has now blossomed into the Museum of Democracy, a collection of more than 1 million political campaign objects that has found a home on Long Island.

The Museum of Democracy is scheduled to open to the public late next month at the Roosevelt House on the Long Island University Post campus in Brookville, New York, about 25 miles east of Manhattan. The Roosevelt House also features a mock situation room, an Oval Office and a White House press room.

The Museum of Democracy contains “the nation’s largest and most comprehensive collections of historical and political campaign memorabilia, covering presidential campaigns from George Washington to the modern era,” says Austin Wright, the son of Jordan Wright and the museum’s chairman.

The museum, he says, also houses items “from major social causes and movements pertaining to freedom and democracy, reflecting the history of politics and political reform in America and civil rights issues, including women’s rights and social justice.”

Some of the most unique items include a button from George Washington’s inauguration, a metal parade torch for John Adams, a William McKinley doll and a Richard Nixon paper dress.

Jordan Wright, a lawyer and magazine publisher who collected items until he died in 2008, obtained most of them from campaign headquarters. He obtained other artifacts at auctions or from dealers, collectors and descendants of the politicians.

“When I was growing up in SoHo (in Manhattan), our family home was the museum,” Austin Wright recalls. “He used every available surface to display his collection, and we often hosted visitors like former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Senator John McCain who wanted to get a firsthand look at the objects.”

Jordan Wright also authored a 2008 book Campaigning for President which describes many items in his collection.

The Museum of Democracy is an important historical resource, Austin Wright says.

“Now, more than ever, it’s important to study and reflect on history, because it truly repeats itself,” Wright says. “Educating young people about democracy and its role in shaping the past, present and future of America is something I am personally passionate about. The museum allows people to get up-close-and-personal with amusing and engaging political memorabilia, and it also brings history to life, making it more apt to stick in a young person’s memory.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *