Earlier this month the State Department awarded a $25 million contract to begin building a museum devoted entirely to celebrating U.S. diplomacy. The privately funded institution will be constructed as a new public entrance way to the Foggy Bottom headquarters.
In January 2013, at a ceremonial launch of the Diplomacy Center, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton extolled the benefits of such a museum. Feel free to mine the remarks for 2016 hints here.
“They can even poke around an exhibit called, “Inside the Secretary’s Day,” Clinton said. “And, fair warning, it’s not all that glamorous, but it’ll give you an idea of what Jim [Baker] and I and our other colleagues have done, and to learn for themselves how challenging, valuable, and rewarding diplomacy can be.”
From a perusal around the center’s Web site, it appears the center will feature some pretty cool artifacts. (If you’re a Loop fan, we trust you have some passing interest in the goings-on in the world of diplomats.)
Here’s a sampling – we picked our favorites – of what you’ll find on display when the museum opens sometime in early 2016. Descriptions and photos are courtesy of the U.S. Diplomacy Center.
1. Gift to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh
2. Ping pong paddle given to former secretary of state Henry Kissinger by Chinese table tennis champion Zhuang Zedong in 2007. Zhuang’s chance encounter with a member of the U.S. table tennis team in 1971 led to the “ping pong diplomacy” with China of the early 1970s.
3. Kerosene-powered slide projector from the U.S. Embassy in Singapore – an unusual device dating to the 1950s that diplomats used to show slides or film strips in areas with limited or no electricity.
4. Press conference transcript, May 13, 1958. Vice President Richard Nixon held this press conference on the day of his rocky reception in Venezuela, one of the stops on a “goodwill tour” through South America. Protesters spat upon and attacked Nixon’s motorcade.
5. Russian nesting dolls, featuring U.S. Ambassador Robert Strauss and contemporaries (1991-1992).
6. Passport and Nationality Registration cards used by U.S. Embassy Moscow to record U.S. citizens living or traveling in the area, 1960s.