Latest entries
Behind the Button: Anya Davidson

Behind the Button: Anya Davidson

There’s a long history of button designs referencing actual buttons– buttons wearing buttons, if you will. This self referential concept is so popular, in fact, that our museum collection has an entire category dedicated to them. Needless to say, we were excited to see one of this year’s Button-O-Matic designs joined the long tradition of...
Behind the Button: Cortney Cassidy

Behind the Button: Cortney Cassidy

In curating this year’s Button-O-Matic series, it was important to us to seek out artists who’s style would work well with the smiley button theme. While smileys aren’t necessarily the most common motif in every artist’s work, one invitation was a no brainer– Designer Cortney Cassidy is a connoisseur of smileys. Over the past few years...
Button-O-Matic Series "Smiley Buttons" Release Party

Button-O-Matic Series “Smiley Buttons” Release Party

Get ready to get your smiley on, Chicago! Our Smiley Buttons Button-O-Matic Release Party will take place on this Friday, October 3rd at Ground Control (just one block west of the Beaver Dam). Buttons from each of this year’s 10 amazing artists will be on hand, as well as a few smiley snacks and surprises and...
Behind the Button: Laura Berger

Behind the Button: Laura Berger

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “The universe is smiling on you.” It’s a nice image to think about– a benevolent cosmos sending positive vibes your way. That’s exactly the feeling that painter Laura Berger wanted to capture in her design for this year’s Button-O-Matic series. Known for creating magical worlds full of fluffy creatures and...
Behind the Button: Tuesday Bassen

Behind the Button: Tuesday Bassen

We found out that illustrator Tuesday Bassen would be part of this year’s Button-O-Matic series on Twitter. Even before her acceptance email made it into our inbox, we saw a tweet that said she was “super pumped” to be part of this year’s line-up of artists and later, that she had “*secretly* been wanting to do this...
Introducing the 2014 Button-O-Matic Series: Smiley Buttons

Introducing the 2014 Button-O-Matic Series: Smiley Buttons

The release of Busy Beaver’s 2014 Button-O-Matic Artist Series has us grinning from ear to ear, because this year’s designs celebrates one of the most iconic buttons ever created: the smiley! The smiley button has existed for over 50 years and been used to convey feel-good messages like “Have a nice day,” hippie psychedelia, all...
The Roosevelts, in Buttons

The Roosevelts, in Buttons

Ken Burns new documentary, “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” debuted on PBS this week. Along with all the elephant hunting, bootstraps pulling, political ambitions and gender politics, watching the lives of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor unfold on screen got us thinking about the Roosevelt buttons we’ve got here in the Button Museum. While a famed...
Say Teese! Chicago Vegan Foods Buttons Up

Say Teese! Chicago Vegan Foods Buttons Up

If you’ve ever shopped at Whole Foods you’ve probably noticed all the buttons the staff wears. And if you look closely, next to the “I ♥ Kale” and band buttons there is probably a button from Chicago Vegan Foods, Chicago’s oldest 100% vegan company and makers of vegan cheese, marshmallows and ice cream. The company loves...
Newberry Library Embraces Button-O-Matic and "Playful Intellectualism"

Newberry Library Embraces Button-O-Matic and “Playful Intellectualism”

As button fans and collectors, it’s inevitable that we’re also students of history at Busy Beaver. Whether it’s celebrating 19th century pin-on political memorabilia, midcentury illustration or a zine celebrating 100 years of button history, we love uncovering the stories behind the objects. When we found out that Chicago’s Newberry Library was interested in a Button-O-Matic...
Mystery Buttons: Uncovering the Meaning Behind the Button Museum's Most Enigmatic Designs

Mystery Buttons: Uncovering the Meaning Behind the Button Museum’s Most Enigmatic Designs

In collecting buttons, it’s not uncommon to come across a pinback that’s a total mystery. To the right audience in the right era a simple idea can convey the idea perfectly, but out of context the design may be just weird text and ambiguous graphics with a meaning that’s totally lost. Even with the ambiguity...
Buttons for Freshman Orientation

Buttons for Freshman Orientation

It’s back to school time! And for a lot of the high school students who graduated this past spring that means heading off to college. While embarking on an adventure at a new school in possibly a new city can be exciting, it can also be nerve wracking, both for the students and the parents....
How to Give Buttons Away

How to Give Buttons Away

Giving stuff away isn’t difficult. Who doesn’t like something for free, right? Buttons make great freebies to give away, but handing out swag can be a strategic move when you’re promoting yourself or a project. And getting the free stuff into the hands of the right people takes a bit of planning. But don’t worry,...