Southern Museum and Smithsonian Present Traveling Exhibition Exploring America's Labor History | Southern Museum

(Kennesaw, GA) — The Southern Museum is delighted to announce its latest Smithsonian traveling exhibit, "The Way We Worked," which opened on September 18, 2010. The exhibit chronicles American labor history from the mid-19th century, when 60 percent of Americans made their living as farmers, through the late 20th century. "The Way We Worked," features 86 photographs from the National Archives focusing on the history of work in America and documenting work clothing, locales, conditions and conflicts.

Though most likely taken for record keeping, the images featured in "The Way We Worked," often reveal much more about how social forces such as immigration, gender, ethnicity, class and technology have transformed the workforce.

The exhibition is divided into five sections:

  • "WHERE We Worked" explores the places Americans worked, from farms to factories, mines to restaurants, as well as how race and gender often determined roles and status.
  • "HOW We Worked" examines the effects of technology and automation on the workplace with images of people on assembly lines or using their tools of trade.
  • "What We WORE to Work" looks at the way uniforms serve as badges of authority and status, and help make occupations immediately identifiable.
  • "CONFLICT at Work" looks back at not just the inevitable clashes between workers and managers over working conditions, wages and hours, but also how social conflicts, such as segregation, have influenced the workplace.
  • "DANGEROUS or UNHEALTHY Work" features many of the photographs taken by social reformers hoping to ban child labor, reduce the length of the work day and expose unsanitary workplaces.

Supplementing the exhibition at various locations will be a video showing a variety of workplaces, and audio segments in which workers from different eras discuss their experiences on the job. "The Way We Worked" runs through November 20, 2010.

As the Smithsonian in your neighborhood, the Southern Museum offers your family access to Smithsonian exhibitions and artifacts that tell the fascinating story of America’s shared cultural heritage. Some of the most popular past exhibits include "National Geographic’s Greatest Portraits" and "Panoramic Views of America’s National Monuments." Check the Southern Museum website regularly for exhibit information and special offers.

The Museum's extensive Glover Steam Locomotive Collection, its unique look at the role of railroads in the Civil War, and ample exhibit space all contributed to its acceptance into the prestigious Smithsonian Affiliations Program. Association with the Smithsonian Institute allows the Museum access to Smithsonian historians who provide periodic lectures on topics ranging from the Civil War to the history of railroads. Finally, those who become members of the Southern Museum also become members of the Smithsonian Institute, which includes a variety of special discounts and VIP treatment at other Smithsonian Affiliates.

A Smithsonian Institution affiliate, the Southern Museum features collections of rare Civil War weapons, uniforms and other personal items; an exciting exhibit about The Great Locomotive Chase, including a short movie; and a full-scale replica of a locomotive factory that helped rebuild the South after the war. The Southern Museum is located 20 miles north of Atlanta, off I-75 at exit 273. Admission is $7.50 for adults, $6.50 for seniors, $5.50 for children ages three through 12 and free children two and under.

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