Every day, Americans are hard at work doing whatever it takes to keep this great nation of ours thriving. Whether on farms or in factories, offices or classrooms, on the streets or in outer space, work is and always has been a major part of all of our lives.
The Smithsonian Institute recognizes and celebrates the American worker (past and present) through a wonderful traveling exhibit, currently at residence at the Angola Museum just outside the gates of the Louisiana State Penitentiary, located at the end of Louisiana Highway 66 (22 miles Northwest of St. Francisville). The exhibit, “The Way We Worked”, is sponsored by the museum and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and runs through June 29th, 2014.
“The Way We Worked” shows the history of Americans working together predominantly through powerful photographs culled from the national archive’s rich collection. They tell a compelling story of our American culture, and show some of the fascinating ways work has changed over the last century and has built our country.
Besides the photos, “The Way We Worked” also features interesting artifacts, presentations by scholars, engaging film and audio presentations, and interesting interactive displays all communicating how work impacts our lives individually and as a community. In an effort to continually grown and enrich their content, the Smithsonian encourages visitors to share their own work stories for their archives.
Along with “The Way We Worked” exhibit, the Angola Museum will also be presenting “Farming on the Farm, Agricultural Operations at Angola,” an interesting and informative exhibit about agricultural work in Angola Prison. The exhibit includes historic photos of inmates planting and harvesting cotton and sugar cane, along with images of modern-day inmates at work in the fields. (The prison is actually a working farm and produces about 4 million pounds of vegetables which go to feed the inmates at Angola, and 4 nearby state prisons.) There will also be demonstrations of agricultural work at the farm plus old and new world themed music. And to top it off, visitors will be given the opportunity to taste a variety of delicacies prepared by Angola’s culinary program chefs.
I highly recommend that you see this wonderful exhibit…even if you have to take a day off from work to do so!