Pins Kept Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's Messages Upfront

By Carter, Alice T | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 12, 2011 | Go to article overview

Pins Kept Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's Messages Upfront


Carter, Alice T, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


For her visit Monday to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright wore a monogram pin given to her last year by Pittsburgh jeweler Louis Anthony when she visited Pittsburgh to speak to the Middle Eastern Institute.

People care about what pin she's wearing because as the US Ambassador to the United Nations and later as President Clinton`s Secretary of State she often used them to send a message.

"In some ways it has become a curse. I don`t always wear a pin - when I`m exercising of shopping in the grocery store and then people are disappointed or ask me why," she said during an interview after leading a tour of "Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection" at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Oakland.

he exhibit opens Tuesday as the first project of Carnegie Museum`s newly launched Center for World Cultures.

Organized by the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the exhibit, which tells her story of American history and foreign policy through more than 200 of Albright's diverse and colorfully bejeweled pins, continues through March 4.

Albright's 2009 companion book, "Read My Pins: Stories From a Diplomat`s Jewel Box," (Harper Collins, $40, 176 pages) is on sale in the museum's gift shop.

The items on display span more than a century of jewelry design and include pieces from across the globe. Some are subtle and understated. Others, like her Blue Bird are dazzling attention- getters.

"My pins collection happened accidentally and I`ve had a lot of fun with it" said Albright. Among the pieces are antique treasures and dime-store discoveries. But none are as treasured as the colorful clay heart crafted by her youngest daughter, Katie, when she was 5.

All of the pieces in the exhibit were chosen for their symbolic value and showcase the power of jewelry to communicate in a style and language of its own. Many of them come with a story tied to a specific event. "Every one of these pins brings back a great memory," she said. "I remember every aspect of what went on at the time."

Albright's pins trace a lifetime of collecting.

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Pins Kept Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's Messages Upfront
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