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November 21, 1986 – June 12, 2006
American History Museum
12th and Constitution Ave., NW
Location: 1st Floor, Engines of Change Hall
With more than 250 original artifacts, this major exhibition brings to life the American Industrial Revolution. It tells the stories of craftspeople, factory workers, inventors, and entrepreneurs who in the first half of the 19th century made contributions crucial to our modern way of life.
The exhibition begins with a re-creation of London's Crystal Palace, home of the first world's fair in 1851, where American technology first gained international recognition. The exhibition then examines the circumstances that made possible U.S. success at the exposition. The exhibition examines American industry's human, social, and environmental impact, the nature of the American working class, and the development and influence of automation, craft work, slave labor, and management concepts. Also explored is the extent to which the Constitution may have foreseen the Industrial Revolution and its impact.
The exhibition concludes with a short film exploring the later years of the Industrial Revolution.