Picturing the Presidents: Daguerreotypes and Ambrotypes from the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection

June 21, 2024 – June 8, 2025
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Abraham Lincoln by George Clark, ambrotype campaign pin, 1860. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

National Portrait Gallery
8th and G Streets, NW
Washington, DC

1st Floor

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To mark the presidential election of 2024, this exhibition presents daguerreotype and ambrotype portraits of eight men–from John Quincy Adams to Chester Arthur–who held the nation’s highest office during the nineteenth century. A highlight is the rare ambrotype pin from Abraham Lincoln’s first presidential campaign. Featuring a likeness of Lincoln by Mathew Brady, it is credited with contributing to Lincoln’s victory in the 1860 election. The exhibition also includes daguerreotypes of paintings portraying George Washington and Andrew Jackson, whose terms of office predated photography. As a coda to these representations of the nation’s early presidents, the exhibition features a modern daguerreotype documenting the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama.