Even before Forrest Gump took credit for it’s creation, the smiley face was one of the most iconic images of the 20th century, with the smiley face button being one of the more popular applications. The Button Museum’s collection of smiley buttons is extensive enough that we devoted an entire category of the online catalog to them. Ranging from simple to silly to sometimes a little bit naughty, smiley buttons have maintained their popularity for over forty years. In fact, a smiley face as even honored as one of our recent Golden Button Award winners.
Earlier this year, The Button Museum was contacted about sharing our smiley button collection for a project of The Smile Face Museum, a collection of smiling pop culture artifacts based in Silver Springs, Maryland. The museum came about from founder Mark Sach’s decision 25 years ago to collect something that “not many people collected” and “wouldn’t cost him an arm and a leg.” The Smile Face Museum collection features a variety of objects including gadgets, advertisements, decor, and, yes, buttons, and was on display weekly in Sach’s basement for two years in the 1990’s.
After not being seen by the public for over 20 years, The Smile Face Museum collection will be on display in Brooklyn starting this weekend. This new incarnation features objects from the museum’s collection as well as installations of other collector’s smiley objects, including over 75 buttons on loan from the Button Museum.
Busy Beaver founder and museum co-curator, Christen Carter, said that she wanted to participate in the project because, “I really like the idea of a small, quirky museum and could tell that, like us, they were trying to show artifacts of something that has a long history. Smileys, and buttons, are the sort of very specific yet pervasive thing is almost always more interesting when you dig in a bit deeper.”
The Smile Face Museum exhibit will be up at an artist space/apartment in Brooklyn at 228 ½ Boerum Street. The collection is open Sundays through April 27th and by appointment.