By Edgar Uriostegui
The Cultural Arts Center on campus is featuring a presidential showcase exhibit in which the walls are plastered with historical newspaper headlines and clippings showing important events of past presidential races.
Gregory L. Williams, director of archives and special collections, is in charge of the event and directing student helpers where to place the artifacts.
Williams is trying to document the interconnectedness of presidential and gubernatorial elections in California.
“There’s a variety of election ephemera, newspapers, buttons and stickers that document, not the full story of elections, by any means, but a general overview of elections in the last hundred years,” Williams said.
Artifacts date as far back as 1925. Display boxes show bumper stickers, hats and buttons from the collections.
“It’s a fun exhibit to put together,” Williams said. “There’s many different buttons that, if you don’t know every election, you’re not going to recognize some names, but if you have a little bit of history, or if you research, you’ll find all these strange buttons and bumper stickers that we’ve been collecting here and there for several years.”
In the display boxes, buttons range from “Kennedy for President” to “In Your Guts You Know He’s Nuts,” with Donald Trump’s infuriated face.
The collection includes primary source photographs of important politicians who have visited the CSUDH grounds for campaigning.
Williams said there’s material on former Gov. Pat Brown, father of current Gov. Jerry Brown. His defeat of Richard Nixon in 1962 and loss to Ronald Reagan in 1966 are featured. Pat Brown was also the governor who signed legislation to create Cal State Dominguez Hills.
The exhibit will further educate students and visitors about the election process.
“It’s an introduction to electoral history, and I want students and visitors to get an understanding of the similarities between elections today or elections a hundred years ago,” Williams said.
Williams hopes the exhibition captures the students’ imagination and that it allows them to come to interesting conclusions about similarities and differences between the various elections.
“The material we used in the exhibit is from the archives, and part of the reason for the exhibit is to encourage students to come up to the fifth floor of the library and use the archives,” Williams said. “We have rare books, digital materials, original old papers, letters and objects students can use as primary resources for reports.”
Williams hopes the event will spark discussion about the current presidential contest. The exhibit will be up through Dec.16. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.