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Five white badges with black CND symbols photographed against a black background.
Original CND badges, Eric Austen, 1958.

Badges have often been an important tool in the peace movement, and we hold almost two thousand of them in our collection.

The purpose of a badge is to communicate a message with others, to show who or what you stand for, they are used as a symbol. Badges go by other names such as buttons (a term used more by Americans), signs and medals, and can be made from various materials such as plastic or metal, and mostly show images with just a few words.

Peace activists were not the first to use badges to represent and promote their cause; their origins can be traced as far back as the late Middle Ages, when they were worn by Lords to identify their loyalties.

They were, and still are used in politics, by the military, trade unions and other social reform movements such as environmental activist groups like Extinction Rebellion. Another popular use today is as souvenirs; they are sold all over the world, and we even sell Peace Museum badges. The longevity and history of badges shows their cultural importance and proves they are here to stay.