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Election memorabilia at Historic Rockwell Museum

By Katie Scarvey
kscarvey@salisburypost.com
Considering that we’re heading into the home stretch of one of the most exciting national elections we’ve ever had, the new exhibit at Historic Rockwell Museum is a timely one.
On display, starting Sept. 7, is election memorabilia with a local slant.
“I think the next election’s going to be a humdinger,” said Jean Puckett, president of the Historic Rockwell Foundation, while giving the Post a tour of the new exhibit with Ann Teague, the foundation’s vice president.
Puckett also happens to be the chief judge of the Rockwell voting precinct, so he has a particular interest in the voting process.
“It’s a shame more people don’t vote,” he said
“We bend over backwards to assure people their vote is counted.”
“Jean should know,” Teague said. “He’s at the polls every time.”
Some of the items on display were loaned to the museum by the Board of Elections.
On display are some old ballot boxes, including one made of wood, as well as some early Rockwell voting rolls.
There’s also an old voting machine with levers and the names of the candidates intact ó anyone remember Charles Waters or William Kinney?
Also on display are replicas of elections posters dating back to the 19th century.
A colorful selection of buttons and bumper stickers is on display, both Democratic and Republican.
Museum director Ann Teague said she found items for the exhibit through “friends who referred her to friends of friends.”
Karen Carpenter loaned her collection of Republican buttons and mugs; many of the Democratic buttons are from Don Carrigan.
Deal Safrit also loaned a few things, including a heavy leather Spiro Agnew watch.
There are some interesting slogans here:
“Who will it be? Who cares? I’m voting Republican.”
“Red Heads for Reagan-Bush.”
“Another Democrat for Nixon.”
As one might expect, there is a good bit of Dole-related memorabilia, including a button that says “Leader for first dog.”
Newspapers on display include the Salisbury Evening Post, which deemed 38th president Gerald Ford “a Plain Man at the Pinnacle.”
A Charlotte Observer headline trumpets Reagan’s landslide victory, in a year when Jesse Helms and Jim Martin also won their races.
The exhibit opens this Sunday at the museum, which is located at 102 E. Main St. in downtown Rockwell.
The museum’s hours are from 2-4 p.m. Sundays, but Teague says that the museum will open up at other times for for groups who want to take a tour.
The election memorabilia exhibit will continue at least through Nov. 16, Teague says.
For information about group tours, call Ann Teague at 704-279-5783 or Jean Puckett at 704-279-4979.

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