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Exhibitions Home | Current | Upcoming | Past | Virtual

"Make the Dirt Fly!": Building the Panama Canal

November 20, 1999 – January 22, 2001

Museum: American History Museum

Location: 1st Floor, West Wing, SI Libraries Gallery

This exhibition explores the background, planning, and construction of the Panama Canal, focusing on 19th- and early 20th-century activities and concluding with events in 1915 marking the opening of the Canal. Built by the United States, the Canal connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and saves ships thousands of nautical miles in travel. Topics discussed include the reasons for building the Canal; a look at the only other comparable work, the Suez Canal; French canal-building efforts on the American isthmus; U.S. engineering practices; control of tropical diseases; and the American community that was created in Panama to support the project. This is a Smithsonian Institution Libraries exhibition.

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Online Exhibition