The Way We Worked

An exploration of America’s world of work is on view from July 13 through Oct. 5 at the Drake Community Library in Grinnell. Adapted from an original exhibition developed by the National Archives and Records Administration, The Way We Worked 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 National 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. It also demonstrates how the diversity of the American workforce is one of its strengths, providing an opportunity to explore how people of all races and ethnicities identified commonalities and worked to knock down barriers in the work world. The exhibition shows how we identify with work – as individuals and as communities. Visitors to the exhibition will be invited to hear workers tell their own stories and view films of various industries. Interactive components convey the experiences of multiple generations of families involved in the same industry.

This Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition is free and open to the public during public hours at Drake Community Library, 933 Park St. The exhibit will run from July 13 – October 5, 2019.

Local Programming

Please check back soon for upcoming programming.

  • Opening Day Walking Tour of Historic Grinnell (July 15, 2019). Self-guided walking tour featuring stories of Grinnell’s courageous, influential, and enduring workers and workplaces. Historic locations included: Livery & Stable, Arnold’s Shoe Store, Popcorn Wagon, Beatnik Coffee Shop, Original McNally’s, Worker Dorms, Blacksmith, Candyland Station.

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