Smithsonian Exhibition Exploring the American Workforce Coming to Angola Museum

What would life be like without teachers, doctors, or firefighters? Every day Americans are hard at work on farms, factories, in homes or at desks keeping our communities thriving. The Angola Museum, in cooperation with the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, will explore the professions and the people that sustain American society when it hosts “The Way We Worked,” a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition.

The Angola Museum and the surrounding community have been expressly chosen by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities to host “The Way We Worked” as part of the Museum on Main Street project—a national/state/local partnership to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations. The exhibition will tour five communities in Louisiana.

The Angola Museum will host the exhibit from May 17th through June 29th, 2014. “Farming on the Farm, Agricultural Operations at Angola,” an exhibit about agricultural work at this unique city – Angola – will accompany “The Way We Worked.” In addition to the exhibits, the museum will offer presentations by scholars, film screenings, and oral histories. Visitors also will be given the opportunity to record their stories about their own jobs for the Smithsonian archives.

A symposium on Friday, May 30, 2014 will include a tour of the penitentiary farm. The symposium will have speakers talking about Angola’s history as a working farm. Music will be performed in addition to demonstrations of agricultural work at the penitentiary. Finally, visitors will be given the opportunity to taste a variety of delicacies from “The Farm,” prepared by Angola’s culinary program chefs.

“The Way We Worked,” adapted from an original exhibition developed by the National Archives and Records Administration, 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 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.

“The Way We Worked” is part of the Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Services (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation and local host institutions. To learn more about “The Way We Worked” and other Museum on Main Street exhibitions, visit

Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.

SITES connects millions of Americans with their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of art, science and history exhibitions. State humanities councils, located in each state and U. S. territory, support community-based humanities programs that highlight such topics as local history, literature and cultural traditions. The Angola Museum serves the local community by promoting historical, educational, and cultural activities that preserve the history and development of corrections in Louisiana.

To learn more, visit, and