Park City Museum explores ‘The Way We Worked’

The exhibit will be on display in the Tozer Gallery through Jan. 10

From left, Mahala Ruddell, Park City Museum's research coordinator, helps Emily Perdue, Park City Museum's collections move coordinator, and volunteer Bob Phillips place a quote panel above the exhibit panels as they assemble a traveling exhibit on Thursday, November 9, 2017. The exhibit is set to open to the public on Saturday, November 11th. (Tanzi Propst/Park Record)
Tanzi Propst |

The United States underwent a series of occupational paradigm shifts in the past 150 years, said Park City Museum Collections and Exhibit Curator Courtney Titus.

“We have gone from a mostly agricultural society to a mostly industrial society with the introduction of technology,” Titus told The Park Record. “We have also moved from working outdoors to working indoors.”

These are some of the concepts a new exhibit, “The Way We Worked,” which will open on Saturday, Nov. 11, at The Park City Museum, 528 Main St. (See accompanying story on C-2 about programs the coincide with the exhibit)

The exhibit will be on display in the Tozer Gallery through Jan. 10, and explores work in the United States, Titus said.

“Why we work can have a number of reasons — to pay bills, to fulfill themselves, to benefit society and community, to make a better future for themselves and families,..” Courtney Titus,Park City Museumcollections and exhibits curator

“Work has become such an central element in American culture,” she said. “Almost everyone in the U.S. works, so almost every visitor to comes to the museum can relate to the exhibit.”

The exhibit is composed of different sections — “Where We Work,” “How We Work,” “Who Works” and “Why We Work.”

“The first section shows that we work almost everywhere,” Titus explained. “We work on the land, on the water, underground — such as we did in Park City with the silver mines — in the air and in space.”

The section also shows the changes and evolution of where people work.

“Technology has made our world much smaller,” Titus said. “Now, with a touch of button, any one of us can talk with people how live half a world away and work from their homes.”

The next section, How We Work, delves more into the politics of work.

“It also talks about the need workers feel to protect themselves and stand up for their rights with the rise of industry,” Titus said. “It shows the development of labor unions as well as changes in the child labor laws.”

The next section is about who works.

“Visitors will see that most everyone who are different ages, genders, backgrounds and classes work,” she said. “So everyone who visits the museum can relate to working, with the exception of those who are very, very lucky.”

Along with showcasing the diversity of American workers, the section also addresses immigration.

“Many people move to the U.S. from other countries in search of a better life, which means finding work,” Titus said.

The history of Who Works wouldn’t be complete without addressing women who work.

“It addresses women and the struggles and discrimination they’ve had to face throughout history in the workforce,” Titus said.

The last section addresses an interesting question — Why We Work.

“Why we work can have a number of reasons — to pay bills, to fulfill themselves, to benefit society and community, to make a better future for themselves and families,” Titus said. “I hope people will stop and think about what this means to them,”

In addition to the traveling exhibit, the display will include a local component developed by the Park City Museum.

“We have chosen to tell stories of a handful of workers who live and contribute to the Park City area,” Titus said. “We’re excited about the people we’ve chosen, and can’t wait to show their stories on the wall.”

Titus said they include a custodian, a nurse, a telephone lineman, a priest and others.

“The component is a way for us to share their stories with the wider community,” she said.

There is also a couple of “talk-back” boards where visitors can share their own stories with other patrons.

There are two other interactive elements in the exhibit, Titus said.

“It includes an audio tour that people can dial into with their cell phones,” she said. “The information they will get hear on their phones will be in addition to the information that is shown on the different panels. The great thing about this is that it will give people the opportunity to record your own work experiences and stories for the Smithsonian. … the Smithsonian staff will review the recordings and add some of them to the tour.”

The other interactive segment includes a kiosk that will run recordings of the Beehive Archives, a radio program that is broadcast on Utah Public Radio.

“The exhibit has been on tour in Utah for the past year, and the different places that have displayed it have added their own little narratives to the Beehive Archives,” Titus said. “The Park City Museum has added our own as well, and we hope the one we have contributed will be running at the kiosk.”

“The Way We Worked” was adapted from the original exhibition that was developed from the National Archives, according to Titus.

“This exhibit has been made possible by a partnership with the Smithsonian Institute and the Utah Department of Humanities,” she said. “They formed a program called Museum on Main Street, and one of the program’s goals is to provide smaller and more rural communities with access to Smithsonian level exhibits.”

In addition to Park City, the exhibit has been shown in Ogden, Hyrum, Castle Dale, Fillmore and Leeds,

“We were on the list of Utah Museums and we are the last stop on the exhibit’s Utah tour,” Titus said.

An opening ceremony for “The Way We Worked” exhibition will start at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11, at the Park City Museum, 528 Main St. the exhibit is on display until Jan. 10. For information, visit


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