SAGINAW, Mich. –Work and the workplace have gone through enormous changes between the mid-19th century, when 60 percent of Americans made their living as farmers, and the early 21st century. The Smithsonian traveling exhibition, The Way We Worked, celebrates the history of work in America. It tells the stories of how hard-working Americans of every ethnicity, class, gender and age power the nation. The exhibition will be on view at the Castle Museum of Saginaw County History beginning February 8.
The Way We Worked, an exhibition created by the National Archives, is adapted for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and made possible with the generous support of the United States Congress.
“The work that each of us does every day speaks volumes about who we are as individuals, as communities and as a country,” said Myriam Springuel, director of SITES and Smithsonian Affiliations. “We all have our own work journeys, and each one of these jobs reflects the various kinds of work that has and continues to build and strengthen the nation.”
The Way We Worked is accompanied by a cell-phone tour that allows visitors to access additional details provided by exhibition curator, Bruce Bustard, senior curator for the National Archives.
The photos featured in the exhibition come from the vast collection of the National Archives, which is home to thousands of photos of work and workplaces taken by government agencies. The images featured in this exhibit though possibly taken merely for purposes of record keeping, often reveal much more about how social forces such as immigration, gender, ethnicity, class and technology transformed the workforce.
A companion exhibit, Saginaw at Work, will complement The Way We Worked. Using photographs and objects from the Castle Museum's collection, the exhibit will capture individual stories of the labors of Saginaw County residents. Images included in the exhibit will focus on construction, farming, factories and many other trades and professions. An interactive portion of the exhibit will encourage children and adults to explore a mid-20th century office.
Historical Society of Saginaw County members and members of the media are invited to attend a special reception Tuesday, Feb. 11 from 5 – 7 p.m. Light refreshments will be provided.
For more information about this exhibit at the Castle Museum, please call 989-752-2861 or visit www.castlemuseum.org.
About the Historical Society of Saginaw County
The Historical Society of Saginaw County is committed to serving the community by telling the continuing story of the people of the Saginaw region through exploration, preservation and presentation of their historical and cultural heritage.
SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For exhibition description and tour schedules, visit www.sites.si.edu.