These pins — more than 200 of them — have been seen in action by a lot of foreign and domestic political powerhouses.
And that’s exactly what Madeleine Albright, former U.S. secretary of state and former U.S. representative to the United Nations, had in mind:
Let them see the jewelry she wore, let them be amused by it and let them take heed.
“Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection” is on display through Feb. 22 at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence.
The Museum of Arts and Design in New York organized the exhibition, which the library calls “distinctive and democratic — sometimes demure and understated, sometimes outlandish and outspoken — spanning more than a century of jewelry design and including fascinating pieces from across the globe.”
Albright started her pin diplomacy in 1994, while she was the U.S. representative to the U.N. She had publicly criticized then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, whose government-controlled press countered with a poem that described Albright as an “unparalleled serpent.”
When she next took part in a U.N. meeting on Iraq, she wore a golden snake brooch.
“While President George H.W. Bush had been known for saying ‘Read my lips,’ I began urging colleagues and reporters to ‘Read my pins,’” the library quoted Albright as having said.
Albright also co-wrote a book published in 2009 and titled “Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box.”
A browse through the exhibit reveals numerous categories of pins, including Patriotic Themes, with eagles, U.S. flags and the Liberty Bell; Sea Life, with an array of sea creatures; Outer Limits, depicting space, aliens, suns and hot air balloons; The Old West, with Native American turquoise art; Jazz, represented by a variety of musical instruments; Turtles, Frogs and Snakes; and Spiders.
Some of the pins are costume jewelry, while others are fine antiques, according to the library.
Albright spoke to Independence School District high school seniors on Thursday at the library and told them her exhibit was for them, a way for her to make learning about foreign policy fun.