Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's time to spice the holidays!

The houses have been delivered - with candy cane columns, sunflower seed roofs, and rock crystal paths.. the Augusta Museum of History is spicing up the holidays with the annual Holiday Gingerbread Village! Museum staff worked hard today along with our amazing Decorating Committee of Julie Ann Boardman and Caroline Morris, and with the incredible artistic and floral talent of Mr. Greg Boulus of charleston street, to transform the Museum Rotunda into a wintery gingerbread village! We'll kick off the event tomorrow evening at the HGV Preview Party, where hundreds of guests will enjoy decadent food, yummy cocktails, jazz music, and much, much more

The judges will make their selections tomorrow at 10:00 am, and we look forward to seeing what sugary masterpiece they select to win the grand prize of $1,000 cash!

Be sure to come by between now and the Sunday following Thanksgiving (November 30) with your family and friends and make the Gingerbread Village a new part of your holiday traditions!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sweet History

The annual Holiday Gingerbread Village is just around the corner!

Experience the enchantment of winter as you view architectural masterpieces made entirely of gingerbread! The annual Holiday Gingerbread Village is a gingerbread house competition featuring confectionary replicas of historic structures in the CSRA. Delight in the imagination shown in these sugar-and-spice creations created by some of the area’s most talented bakers.

The annual event begins with the Holiday Gingerbread Village Preview Party, the official kick off to Augusta's holiday social season. The party, on Thursday, November 20th at 7:00 at the Museum, includes an open bar, incredible food, silent auction of gingerbread houses, raffle, and musical entertainment. The don’t miss event of the year!

This year’s competition will include expanded judging categories and great prizes! Five awards will be handed out – Grand Prize, Second Place, Third Place, Most Artistic, and People’s Choice. Cash prizes will be awarded by guest judges, Mr. Anthony Fernandez, Executive Pastry Chef, Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation; Architect Mr. Al Cheatham; Historian Dr. Lee Ann Caldwell; and Local Artist, Ms. Kathy Engler as follows:

Grand Prize - $1,000 cash!
Second Place - $750
Third Place - $500
Most Artistic - $250
People’s Choice - $250

Friday, November 21 through Sunday, November 30, each historic-themed gingerbread house will be available through silent auction, with proceeds benefiting the programs of Augusta Museum of History. Bid on your chance to take one of these delectable masterpieces home during the Silent Auction. Strolling through the competition is a sure way to be swept up in the holiday spirit! And be sure to come by and cast your vote for People’s Choice! Free admission to view the display!

On Saturday, November 22 bring the entire family by the Museum for Gingerbread Family Fun Day, a day of crafts, tours, movies andthe opportunity for families to view the Gingerbread Village. Free with regular paid Museum admisison.

Presidential Campaigning Microexhibit now installed!

With what can be considered one of the most exciting elections in United States presidential history occurring today, the Augusta Museum of History is taking a look back at past presidential campaigns with a new exhibit, Campaigning for the Presidency, open now through February 1, 2009.

Every four years, Presidential hopefuls compete for the public’s vote by inundating the country with their image, name, slogans, and message. On campaign trails, on television, over the Internet and via radio and other outlets, each candidate tries to sway voters that they are the best choice. Signs are posted, buttons are worn, and bumper stickers on cars proclaim our candidate of choice. Presidential campaign memorabilia is as old as the office it promotes, but did not become widespread until the first half of the nineteenth century. The Museum’s exhibit explores Presidential politicking from a campaign perspective – from an early McKinely button to modern campaign paraphernalia, observe the diverse ways in which politicians have fought for America’s votes!

The campaign button has proven to be one of the most consistently used items in Presidential campaigns. The highly recognized political button may have gotten its start as coat buttons like the ones made to commemorate George Washington’s inauguration in 1789. Brass buttons engraved with “G.W. – Long Live the President”, adorned the coats of Washington’s supporters. Over time, campaign buttons have changed in style to reflect the culture and new technology of the period.

After the emergence of the popular vote selecting the Electoral College in the 1820s, the period through the 1840s saw the rapid development of slogans, images, flags, buttons, and other items like snuff boxes, ceramic plates, and sheet music, as presidential candidates began to gear their campaigns to capturing the interest of individual voters. This trend of influencing voters and showing support with eye-catching items and gimmicks continues through the modern era, with paraphernalia such as stuffed animals, bobble-heads, and of course, more buttons!
But it was not until the middle of the 19th century when all white men gained the right vote (extended to non-land owners), that political parties began to use memorabilia to “market” their candidates to the masses. William Henry Harrison, elected in 1840, is said to be the first candidate to actively campaign for president. Additionally, Harrison’s campaign created memorabilia designed for women, such as sewing boxes, in spite of the fact that females would not be given the right to vote for another eight decades!

Post World War II was the heyday of presidential memorabilia with the branding of “I like Ike” for President Dwight Eisenhower. Several items from “Ike’s” campaigns are on display at the Museum’s exhibit and make obvious the trend politics began to take halfway into the twentieth century – smart, witty, and repeated messages truly made presidential elections not just a political, but also social issue.

The social, yet political, trend continues with modern media today. Regardless if you wear a John McCain button or adorn your yard with Barack Obama signs, the purpose of campaigns remains the same – to be a part of it all.

Campaigning for the Presidency is open at the Augusta Museum of History now through February 1, 2009.

Artifacts on loan from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Robert R. and Mary Gail Nesbit.