Count Me In — Not So Small Town Politics on Martha’s Vineyard is the name of the newest exhibit at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.
Curator Dana Street and assistant curator Anna Carringer designed the exhibit to show how the Island, politics and the rest of the nation have always been connected. Located at the museum in Edgartown, the exhibit covers 200 years of politics. The handwritten ballot results of Edgartown voters in the 1806 gubernatorial race are on display as well as the literal ‘ticket’ for all four contenders in the 1884 presidential race. (Grover Cleveland won.)
The centerpiece of the exhibit is the wall-sized American flag made entirely of campaign buttons. Called Labyrinth, this red, white and blue mixed media construction is the work of artist Diana Van Ness and is on loan to the museum by the Granary Gallery. Making up the stars and stripes are buttons from the campaigns of such luminaries as Hubert Humphrey, Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, Adlai Stevenson and the current presidential candidates and their running mates.
Also included in the exhibit is the hand-cranked wooden ballot box from West Tisbury, on loan from the town, and still used for elections for local office. The words and wisdom of Islanders like Craig Kingsbury, Gladys Widdiss and Bob Carroll on the subject of politics are part of the exhibit which is rounded out with memorabilia and ephemera from elections and campaigns long ago.
Count Me In will be up until after the Jan. 20, 2009 inauguration of a new President of the United States.
The Martha’s Vineyard Museum is open year-round Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. See mvmuseum.org for more information.