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The Smile Face Museum

The Museum Smileys Button Museum
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The Museum button back Smileys Button Museum
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THE MUSEUM
Image Description: 

Traditional yellow smiley face design but where the smile is made by letters

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THE SMILE FACE MUSEUM MADE IN THE USA BY BUSY BEAVER BUTTON CO CHICAGO, ILL 228 1/2 / WHATNOTHINGPRESS BROOKLYN NY copyright 2104

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The Smile Face Museum was founded by Mark Sachs in 1992 in Silver Spring, Maryland. It operated for 2 years in that location, with over 400 items on display. In 2014, the museum was temporarily installed in a Brooklyn, NY apartment. It featured the founding collection, the work of over 60 artists, and the collections of Sarah Jacobson, Rita Mageary, Emily Stebbins, and the Busy Beaver Button Museum.

The classic yellow smiley face is comprised of a yellow circle, two black dots for eyes and a black arc ending in serifs for a mouth. It was designed in 1963 by by commercial artist, Harvey Ross Ball. Ball was commissioned by The State Mutual Life Insurance Company to create a happy face to raise the morale of their employees. His version was created in 10 minutes. The design was printed onto more than 50 million buttons. Neither Ball nor the company copyrighted this smiley, so it was continually used by other businesses in their promotions.

The design and concept is quite simple and was definitely used before Ball’s 1963 version. However his has become the most iconic. Variations have been used for advertising campaigns and in popular culture ever since.

Catalog ID: 
SM0039
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