The Way We Worked Smithsonian Exhibit in Cowan TN
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The Way We WorkedTeachers and Educators

Call now to schedule your class to tour the exhibit - Maryann 931-967-1560

School tours will be scheduled on Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays.  We can handle up to 45 or 50 students at a time, and a tour will last about 45 minutes.  There will also be exhibits in the Training Center (immediately behind the Theater), so a separate group can be in that building and then swap group locations.

Please note that the Cowan Railroad Museum will not be open for tours until May 1.

Scavenger Hunt questions for class tours are available here as Word Doc or PDF.
Longer (2 page) Scavenger Hunt here.

Lesson Plans

Get the scoop on all the ways you can teach "The Way We Worked" with these specific lessons from the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and more.

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 exhibition focuses on why we work and the needs that our jobs fulfill. Our work takes place everywhere – on the land, on the streets of our communities, in offices and factories, in our homes, and even in space. An exploration of the tools and technologies that enabled and assisted workers also reveals how workers sometimes found themselves with better tools, but also with faster, more complex and often more stressful work environments. 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 professional world. And, finally, the exhibition shows how we identify with work – as individuals and as communities. Whether you live in “Steel Town, USA” or wear a uniform each day, work assigns cultural meanings and puts us and our communities in a larger context.



The Way We Worked has been made possible in Cowan,TN by Humanities Tennessee. 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.

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