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American Enterprise

American Enterprise

July 1, 2015 – Permanent

American History Museum
14th and Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC

Location: 1st Floor, West Wing

American Enterprise chronicles the tumultuous interaction of capitalism and democracy that resulted in the continual remaking of American business—and American life. It traces the development of the United States from a small dependent agricultural nation to one of the world's largest economies through the following 4 chronological eras: the Merchant Era (1770s – 1850s), the Corporate Era (1860s – 1930s), the Consumer Era (1940s – 1970s), and the Global Era (1980s – 2010s). Highlights include:

  • John Deere’s plow
  • Eli Whitney’s cotton gin
  • Barbara McClintock’s microscope
  • Stanley Cohen’s recombinant DNA research notebook
  • Alexander Graham Bell’s first telephones
  • Alfred Bloomingdale’s personal credit cards
  • a New York Stock Exchange booth from 1929
  • an early Monopoly board game
  • one of Michael Dell’s early computers

Related book: American Enterprise: A History of Business in America

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Online exhibition