By Bill Jenks, III,
If you have never had an opportunity to visit the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., you will be encouraged to know that a Smithsonian Exhibit will be making its way to Rolla, Missouri in two more weeks.
The Way We Worked, the newest Smithsonian Institution exhibit to travel through Missouri with the Missouri Humanities Council’s Museum on Main Street program, will make its next stop at the The Centre (1200 N. Holloway Street) from Nov. 19 through Dec. 17, sharing the stories of how work became a central element in American culture and the many changes affecting the workforce and work environments over the past 100 years.
In an effort to keep the exhibit open as many hours as possible, volunteers are needed to welcome our guests, maintain our guestbook and answer questions that guests may have about the exhibit. Training will be provided. Whether you have a little time to share or a lot of time to help, your assistance is appreciated. For information on volunteering, please contact Arts Rolla at 573 364 5539 or e-mail Linda Giger at firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition to The Way We Worked exhibit, there will be several notable speakers, historians, and special events that will take place at The Centre. Included among the speakers will be well known author Bob Priddy, who is the News Director of The Missourinet, a statewide commercial radio network. Priddy has written five books which focus on Missouri history – three of which are based on his popular daily radio program “Across Our Wide Missouri.” He will be speaking at The Centre on Friday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m. and then participating in a book signing at Reader’s Corner on Saturday, Dec. 10 (9 a.m. to 12-noon). This event is free and open to the public.
Other speakers will include: Author Joe Sounderman, who will speak on the history of Route 66 in the Ozarks on Saturday, Nov. 19 (2 p.m.); Kevin Kliesen, Economist with the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis, who will present “Will Bumpy Seas Give Way to Smooth Sailing” on Monday, Nov. 21 (5 p.m.); Andy Arthur will present “An Evening with Mark Twain” on Wednesday, Nov. 30 (5-7 p.m.); Dan Woodward will present a lecture on some of the jobs performed during the Civil War on Friday, Dec. 2 (5-7 p.m.); Fort Leonard Wood historian, Dr. John Glover will provide a program that will discuss the history of employment with the military and how it has evolved over the many decades, and the impact Ford Leonard Wood has on this region on Wednesday, Dec. 7 (7 p.m.); and Dr. Don James will discuss the history of Phelps County Regional Medical Center on Wednesday, Dec. 14 (7 p.m.). In addition to these speakers and guests, there will be several free story time programs conducted by area elementary school librarians that will be held at The Centre for parents and children, ages 4-10 at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 21, Nov. 28, Dec. 5 and Dec. 12.
Through this unique exhibit we are reminded that our work takes place everywhere—on the land, on the streets of our communities, in offices and factories, in our home and even in space. And “The Way We Worked will allow us to tell that evolving story on a national level and relate it to our own community. Geoff Giglierano, Executive Director of the Missouri Humanities Council, hopes Rolla and Phelps County residents, and those in the surrounding areas will enjoy the exhibition and think a little deeper about the journey of American workers and how that it is reflected in the world today, both locally and nationally.
The exhibition explores the tools and technologies that enabled and assisted workers, which led to a faster, more complex and often more stressful work environment, the diversity of the American workforce, and how individuals and communities identify themselves with work. Visitors are free to travel through the exhibit on their own or with a guide. Guides help visitors personally connect to the exhibit through conversations and observations on the exhibit themes.
For more details about The Way We Worked exhibit, please contact Scott Caron, the City’s Recreation Director, at 573-341-2386 or Loretta Wallis, Global Relations Manager, Brewer Science, at 573-364-0444, ext. 1357.