Skip to main content

Current & Upcoming Exhibitions

The Way We Worked

The Way We Worked

The Smithsonian is Coming!

This exhibit tells the compelling story of the American workforce - its history, diversity, and importance to our culture and the pursuit of the American dream.

Workers are the backbone of American society. Known for their strong work ethic, Americans invest themselves physically, emotionally, and intellectually in their work.

American jobs are as diverse as the American workforce. The opportunity provided by work is central to the American dream and has attracted people to better lives in America. With strength, ingenuity, creativity, thoughtfulness, and heroics, American workers keep our economy and our society up and running.

The Smithsonian Traveling exhibition The Way We Worked, adapted from an original exhibition developed by the National Archives, explores how work became such a central element in American culture by tracing the many changes that affected the workforce and work environments over the past 150 years. The exhibition draws from the Archives’ rich collections to tell this compelling story.

The Way We Worked has been made possible in Watauga County at the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum by the North Carolina Humanities Council.

The Way We Worked, an exhibition created by the National Archives, is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and State Humanities Councils nationwide. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.

Image Credit: Workman on the framework of the Empire State Building, New York City, ca. 1930-31. National Archives, Records of the Works Progress Administration.