Sign of the Times: The Great American Political Poster, 1844-2012

"Let's clean house with Ike and Dick" political poster
Exhibit Duration
September 2020 - October 2020

The political campaign poster had its humble beginnings in the 1840s when the new lithographic printing process was developed to satisfy a growing demand for printed material. Hand-colored portraits of presidential and vice-presidential candidates were first printed for the 1844 race between Whig Party candidate Henry Clay and the eventual victor, Democrat James K. Polk.  

Historically, the American political poster has been sorely neglected as an art form and has played a minor cultural role despite its effectiveness in conveying political messages to millions of voters, often through the skillful use of visual communication. Sign of the Times has made every effort to bring eye-popping political graphics to the forefront and to show the great American political poster as art.  

This traveling exhibition was developed by Exhibits U.S.A., a national division of the Mid-America Arts Alliance and the National Endowment for the Arts.