Busy Beaver Button Museum

An outgrowth of the button-making company Christen Carter started with her brother, this museum, in the factory building, is devoted to more than a century's worth of pinback buttons. Buttons are nothing if not versatile. The museum has on display thousands that serve as advertising, marketing vehicles, or what Carter calls "social lubricators," meaning they are meant to provoke a response. Like: "My button loves your button." "I like the wearable, shareable and accessible expression of buttons," Carter said. "I love that people are willing to wear them in front of those they don't know. I even love buttons that aren't designed well. They all have their own way of communicating." While the collection does include some truly historic buttons (an 1864 pre-button for Abraham Lincoln is the museum's "crown jewel," Carter said), the emphasis is less on value and more on how well the button represents a moment in time.
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Open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday; 3279 W. Armitage Ave.; free, 773-645-3359 and buttonmuseum.org</b>
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( Heather Charles/Chicago Tribune / July 25, 2012 )

An outgrowth of the button-making company Christen Carter started with her brother, this museum, in the factory building, is devoted to more than a century's worth of pinback buttons. Buttons are nothing if not versatile. The museum has on display thousands that serve as advertising, marketing vehicles, or what Carter calls "social lubricators," meaning they are meant to provoke a response. Like: "My button loves your button." "I like the wearable, shareable and accessible expression of buttons," Carter said. "I love that people are willing to wear them in front of those they don't know. I even love buttons that aren't designed well. They all have their own way of communicating." While the collection does include some truly historic buttons (an 1864 pre-button for Abraham Lincoln is the museum's "crown jewel," Carter said), the emphasis is less on value and more on how well the button represents a moment in time.

Open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday; 3279 W. Armitage Ave.; free, 773-645-3359 and buttonmuseum.org

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