Smithsonian exhibition explores American workforce

January 16, 2018

TORRINGTON, Wyo. — What would life be like without teachers, doctors or firefighters? Every day Americans are hard at work on farms, factories, in homes or at desks keeping our communities thriving. The Homesteaders Museum, in cooperation with Wyoming Humanities Council will explore the professions and the people that sustain American society when it hosts “The Way We Worked,” a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition. “The Way We Worked” will be on view Jan. 27 through March 18.

The Homesteaders Museum and the surrounding community have been expressly chosen by the Wyoming Humanities Council to host “The Way We Worked” as part of the Museum on Main Street project — a national/state/local partnership to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations. The exhibition will tour five communities in Wyoming beginning in January.

“The Way We Worked,” adapted from an original exhibition developed by the National Archives and Records Administration, explores how work has become a central element in American culture. It traces the many changes that have affected the workforce and work environments over the past 150 years, including the growth of manufacturing and increasing use of technology. The exhibition draws from the archives’ rich collections, including historical photographs, archival accounts of workers, film, audio and interactives, to tell the compelling story of how work impacts our individual lives and the historical and cultural fabric of our communities.

“We are very pleased to be able to bring “The Way We Worked” to our area,” said Homesteaders Museum Director Sarah Chaires. “It allows us the opportunity to explore this fascinating aspect of our own region’s history, and we hope that it will inspire many to become even more involved in the cultural life of our community.” The Homesteaders Museum will host a Grand Opening and Business After Hours on Feb. 1 from 4-6 pm to show off “the Way We Worked” as well as the recent renovation of the baggage room in the depot. Stay tuned for more events.

“The Way We Worked” is part of Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation and local host institutions. To learn more about “The Way We Worked” and other Museum on Main Street exhibitions, visit www.museumonmainstreet.org. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress. SITES connects millions of Americans with their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of art, science and history exhibitions. State humanities councils, located in each state and U.S. territory, support community-based humanities programs that highlight such topics as local history, literature and cultural traditions. The Homesteaders Museum serves the local community preserving and presenting our counties’ history. To learn more, visit www.sites.si.edu or https://www.thinkwy.org/.