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History Museum Stumping for Visitors with Presidential Campaign Exhibit

By Joyce Kryszak


Buffalo, NY – From "Saturday Night Live" to "You Tube," the candidates are pulling out all the stops in this year's presidential campaign. But history was filled with colorful campaigns, long before the media played a role. In a new exhibit, the Buffalo History Society takes a look back at "Shaking Hands and Kissing Babies."

Some people might say Republican candidate John McCain is as old as history. But, thanks to an appearance on "Saturday Night Live," nobody ever accused him of being stodgy.

McCain isn't the only presidential candidate employing the media and humor to do some re-imaging. Appearances such as these are common place in modern presidential campaigns. But the history museum offers evidence of some pretty wacky campaign tactics long before electronic media.

Communications Manager Peter Burakowski said William Henry Harrison did a little re-imaging of his own. He built a log cabin in downtown Buffalo and offered free hard cider to help get votes.

Those methods might have worked for Harrison. But the History museum isn't above using a bit of electronic savvy to win over the public. Burakowski said the exhibit features an interactive display that helps visitors better understand a perennial campaign favorite - the political cartoon.

Visitors can also hear the story behind "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" and listen to some good old fashioned campaign songs. The exhibit also has lots more information about Buffalo's presidential connections, including the history behind America's real first woman presidential candidate.

The exhibit is open daily, except for Mondays and runs through Presidents Day 2009.

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