American Enterprise

July 1, 2015 – Permanent
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National Museum of American History
1300 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC

1st Floor, West Wing

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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