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Anxious America, Bigger Button Museum

Button museum.

Buttons don’t just hold clothes together; they hold forth with announcements, art, and opinions. It’s those┬ákinds of pin-back buttons that are made at the Busy Beaver Button Co., which in late November 2016 moved to a new location, doubling the size of its production facility and its Button Museum.

Company co-founder Christen Carter told us there was no direct correlation between the expansion of the museum and the 2016 Presidential election, although the increased demand for opinion buttons helped boost BBBC production to 4 million this past year.

Button museum.

“I feel like this will be an era of ’cause’ buttons; a big time for that,” said Christen, recalling the heyday of such buttons in the late 1960s. Since the company saves one of each button it makes — over 90,000 thus far — a boom in buttons could potentially overwhelm the Button Museum’s display space. “We’re already starting to outgrow it,” said Christen, laughing, although she felt that the museum would be able to cope even if a future Button War produced a button surge.

“We’re having a nudist group come in for a museum event,” said Christen, demonstrating the popularity of buttons even among those who can’t wear them. “We’re wondering if we should give them scarfs.”

Button museum.

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Busy Beaver Button Museum

Address:
3407 W Armitage Ave., Chicago, IL
Directions:
Logan Square neighborhood, northwest of downtown. On the south side of W. Armitage Ave., across from the AutoZone, just west of the intersection with N. Kimball Ave.
Hours:
M-F 10-4 (Call to verify)
Phone:
773-645-3359
Admission:
Free
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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