The Way We Worked

The Way We Worked  January 28 – March 18, 2017


A companion exhibit, Weber County Works, is also on display and celebrates the historic resiliency and diversity of Weber County’s workforce. This companion exhibit is funded by Weber County RAMP, Utah Humanities, and the Union Station Foundation.
Admission to both exhibits is FREE.

January 28—Grand Opening & work demonstrations, noon

February 4—Free Family Art Activity: Making Clay Pots; Pottery is one of the world’s oldest art forms and making pots one of the oldest jobs. For this family art activity we will learn about traditional ways American Indians and Utah Pioneers made pottery and then try our hand at coil pots, slab pots and pinch pots using air-dry clay. Workshop conducted by Education Curators from Utah Museum of Fine Arts. 11am-2pm, Grand Lobby

February 11— A free poetry workshop taught by Ogden’s inaugural Poet Laureate, Brad Roghaar, designed to explore and interpret the themes of “work” and “labor”. Pre-registration necessary. Noon-4pm

February 13—Storytelling Event & Panel; Focusing on the stories of those whose labor has been impacted by gender, race, income disparity, and other social issues, Union Station has invited members of the Weber County community to share their stories orally in front of an audience with the aim to encourage dialogue about how social issues can present challenges in the way we work. 7-8pm, Grand Lobby

February 15—“Art as Work” panel; Union Station has invited several Weber County-based artists from multiple disciplines to talk about the value of creative work and its contribution to a greater community effort. 6:30-7:30pm, Grand Lobby

Ongoing throughout March— Throughout the month of March, the Myra Powell gallery in Union Station will house the exhibition “Fiber [Work]”, as curated by our Public Programs Coordinator to showcase a different kind of “work” done by women and Native peoples of Weber County. Those interested in contributing should contact Danielle Susi.

March 7—In conjunction with the “Fiber [Work]” exhibition, a fiber art demonstration will be given by Judy Elsley, who will show and talk about the various stages of fabric dying and other cloth-making techniques. Both the exhibition and demonstration aim to examine HOW we work and offer an alternative to other kinds of “traditional” labor while simultaneously serving as an example of traditional “home-work”. Noon-1:30pm, Grand Lobby

March 17—Ogden After Dark Lectures; Val Holley will present his lecture entitled “The Way We Burped: Bootlegging and Other 25th Street Career Paths.” Sarah Singh will present “Sisters of Scarlet: Prostitution in Ogden.” 7pm, Browning Theater

March 18—Walking Tour of 25th St given by Val Holley; 1-2pm

2/25, 3/7, 3/17–Throughout the duration of “The Way We Worked” at Union Station, Utah Public Radio will record fifteen oral histories from visitors and community members over the course of three days. In this program, we aim to document otherwise undocumented tales of Weber County’s labor history. Contact Danielle Susi if you have a story you would like to share.


National Archives and Smithsonian to Launch Traveling Exhibition
Exploring America’s Labor History
Work and the workplace have gone through enormous changes between the mid-19th century, when 60 percent of Americans made their living as farmers, and the late 20th century. A new traveling exhibition, The Way We Worked, will feature 86 photographs from the National Archives focusing on the history of work in America and documenting work clothing, locales, conditions and conflicts.
The Way We Worked was created by the National Archives with the support of the Foundation for the National Archives, and is organized for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). The exhibition was previously on view from December 2005 through May at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.
As the depository for historically valuable Federal records, the National Archives is home to thousands of photographs of work and workplaces taken by government agencies for many reasons: to investigate factory safety, track construction progress, office training or to emphasize the continuing importance of humans in a technologically modern environment. The images featured in The Way We Worked, though possibly taken merely for purposes of record keeping, often reveal much more about how social forces such as immigration, gender, ethnicity, class and technology have transformed the workforce.
The exhibition is divided into five sections:
  • “WHERE We Worked” explores the places Americans worked, from farms to factories, mines to restaurants, as well as how race and gender often determined roles and status.
  • “HOW We Worked” examines the effects of technology and automation on the workplace with images of people on assembly lines or using their tools of trade.
  • “What We WORE to Work” looks at the way uniforms serve as badges of authority and status, and help make occupations immediately identifiable.
  • “CONFLICT at Work” looks back at not just the inevitable clashes between workers and managers over working conditions, wages and hours, but also how social conflicts, such as segregation, have influenced the workplace.
  • “DANGEROUS or UNHEALTHY Work” features many of the photographs taken by social reformers hoping to ban child labor, reduce the length of the work day and expose unsanitary workplaces.
Spanning the years 1857-1987, the images in the exhibition cover the entire range of photographs on the topic in the National Archives holdings. Supplementing the exhibition at various locations will be a video showing a variety of workplaces, and audio segments in which workers from different eras discuss their experiences on the job.
From the website Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibits : The Way We Worked, linked above