Secretary Albright Donates Artifacts to U.S. Diplomacy Center

People often ask, “What makes a good artifact?  It could be anything with a compelling story that relates directly to a diplomatic event, person, place, or goal. Artifacts backed by good stories show future museum visitors the faces and the day-to-day activities of those engaged in the conduct of diplomacy.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright recently donated several unique items to the U.S. Diplomacy Center’s collection of over 6,000 artifacts.   

Secretary Albright received this Colt revolver as a birthday present in 2000 from then U.S. Secretary Defense William Cohen [State Department Photo]

The most eye-catching of the items is a Colt revolver given to her as a birthday gift from former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen. The plaque inside the lid humorously suggests that an appropriate time to utilize the gift would be “When Diplomacy Fails.”  

An example of diplomacy’s success is illustrated by another donation -- a tea service from Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, gifted during a 2001 dinner with some of Secretary Albright’s foreign minister colleagues to celebrate her tenure in office.  Each of the seven cups features an illustrated portrait of Albright and six of her counterparts: Igor Ivanov (Russia), Robin Cook (UK), Hubert Vedrine (France), Joschka Fischer (Germany), Lloyd Axworthy (Canada), and Lamberto Dini (Italy). 

This tea service was given to Secretary Albright by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov in January 2001 [State Department Photo]

A fifteen-inch projectile shell casing from Sarajevo during the War in Bosnia from 1992-1995 was repurposed, embossed, inscribed as a decorative vase, and gifted to Secretary Albright and Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Jamie Rubin from the “Friends of Sarajevo, Hadija.

What kinds of other artifacts will visitors see when they walk into the Diplomacy Center?  

This vase is a repurposed projectile shell casing from Sarajevo during the War in Bosnia from 1992-1995 [State Department Photo]

The Diplomacy Center is especially interested in artifacts that showcase the work that diplomats conduct across the full range of global issues today, including items from programs, partnerships, and events, such as humanitarian and disaster relief. Other artifacts may demonstrate the challenges diplomats face while performing their jobs in the areas of security, health, communications, or transportation.

The platter in the tea set given to Former Secretary Albright by then Russian Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov is inscribed “Madeleine and Her Dream Team.” [State Department Photo]

Artifacts connected to diplomatic events, people, and places throughout history or the tools, equipment, and clothing used in diplomatic efforts are also excellent examples of artifacts the public will see when we open.  We look forward to displaying these items and more when we open our doors.

For more information about the U.S. Diplomacy Center, visit  If you are interested in donating an artifact, please contact us via e-mail:

About the Author: T.J. Grubisha serves as the U.S. Diplomacy Center's Coordinator for Press and New Media in the Bureau of Public Affairs.

For more information:

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
Posted by T.J. Grubisha
April 8, 2015


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