Albright's pins to go on display

Madeleine Albright

NEW YORK - Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a tenacious negotiator, loved to communicate her mood and intentions in a more subtle way: through her brooches.

Now the Museum of Arts & Design in New York is planning an exhibition of her pin collection, featuring some 200 of her favorites, including the golden snake pin she wore after Saddam Hussein's government called her a serpent.

Albright "found that what she wore and how she presented herself had a lot of interpretive meaning to those she was with," said Holly Hotchner, the museum's director. "The pins became an added way that she communicated as secretary of state."

"Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection," scheduled to open in September, comes 10 years after the museum presented "Brooching It Diplomatically," a show of pins created by contemporary artists inspired by the ones Albright wore.

The nation's 64th secretary of state became so famous for her pin diplomacy that when she wore a necklace to a nonpolitical event where she was the featured speaker, the organizer insisted she go out and buy a brooch before taking the podium. Albright, now a professor at Georgetown University, is said to have complied.

"She started acquiring pins because of their inherent messages, their whimsical and pictorial quality," said David Revere McFadden, the museum's chief curator. "It's not about jewels and gems, it's about jewelry as a communication device."