The Museum of London has acquired the Trump Baby blimp, a six-metre-high inflatable caricature of US president Donald Trump that debuted during 2018 protests against Trump’s first presidential visit to the UK.
The crowdfunded balloon became a globally recognised symbol of resistance to Trump’s presidency after flying over London and Edinburgh in July 2018. It depicts him as an angry orange baby wearing a nappy and holding a smartphone.
The Museum of London first announced its ambition to add Trump Baby to the collection in 2019, recognising its importance in the visual legacy of the protests.
The balloon will join the museum’s protest collection, which comprises objects relating to the women’s suffrage movement, banners, flags and tents that belonged to Parliament Square peace camper and protester Brian Haw, and recent placards used by protesters against public spending cuts.
“London has always been an open, ever-evolving, polyglot city,” said Sharon Ament, director of the Museum of London. “A haven for knowledge, tradition and controversy, and over thousands of years we have played host to many a historic protest.
“By collecting the baby blimp we can mark the wave of feeling that washed over the city that day and capture a particular moment of resistance – a feeling still relevant today as we live through these exceptionally challenging times – that ultimately shows Londoners banding together in the face of extreme adversity.”
Before arriving at the museum, Trump Baby made another UK appearance at Trump’s state visit in 2019, and travelled to the US, France, Argentina, Ireland and Denmark.
At the time of its first ascent to the skies, Trump complained that the blimp made him feel “unwelcome” in London.
Trump’s last day in office is close at hand, with Joe Biden assuming the presidency at 12 noon on Wednesday 20 January. The team behind Trump Baby said: “While we’re pleased that the Trump Baby can now be consigned to history along with the man himself, we’re under no illusions that this is the end of the story.
“We hope the baby’s place in the museum will stand as a reminder of when London stood against Trump – but will prompt those who see it to examine how they can continue the fight against the politics of hate.”
Trump Baby inspired copycat blimp depictions of London mayor Sadiq Khan and UK prime minister Boris Johnson respectively. The Khan balloon sold for £16,000 on eBay in 2019, and the Museum of London has been in touch with its owners.