Introduction

Mason, Georgia 1909 copyright United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division un
Mason, Georgia 1909 copyright United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division un

Creating an exhibition about the roles of men, women and children working in local industries by a school or training college is a great way for learners to tell an important local story. You can use words, photographs, audio clips, videos, and objects. Developing an exhibition is a great way to show off what you’ve learned about your hometown, its people, how they worked and its industrial past.

Follow the process steps to create an online exhibition or a real one for your school or college!

Task

Two girls protesting child labour (by calling it child slavery) in the 1909 New York City Labor Day
Two girls protesting child labour (by calling it child slavery) in the 1909 New York City Labor Day

Your group has been asked to research the working life of men, women and children in your local area in the past 50, 100, 150, 200......... years. You will be asked to find out about the changing roles of people in work in the last 200 years and to compare them with life today. The results of your study will be developed into an exhibition, where you compare the changing face of work for men, women and children.

Creating an exhibition about the roles of men, women and children working in local industries by a school or training college is a great way for learners to tell an important local story. You can use words, photographs, audio clips, videos, and objects. Developing an exhibition is a great way to show off what you’ve learned about your hometown, its people and its industrial past.

Follow the process steps to create an online exhibition or a real one for your school or college!

Process

Preparation: Look at the videos of children working in India today. Look at the video of women starting work in th eUSA during WW11. Consider how men women and children work(or not) today in your community.

1. Find Your Story
Decide what story(ies) you want to tell. Is there something special that few people know or appreciate about the industrial heritage of your town?

Visit your local museum, archive, historical society, or library to learn more about important events and people in the industrial heritage your area. Search the web for pictures of people working in your local area.

What was made/traded/transported here 50 , 100, 150, 200 ……. Years ago?

How has the life of men women and children changed in that time?

Research for material and decide upon a topic for an exhibition to tell the story of your local industrial heritage.

2. Develop Your Topic
What will be the main idea for your exhibition? Your exhibition should have a central theme. What is the point you are trying to make? Are there any sub-themes?

3. Research Your Topic
The key to learning more about the lives of working people is researching both “primary” and “secondary” source materials.

Primary sources are interviews, diaries or personal journals, photographs, and newspaper articles. They tell you what happened, when, why, and who was involved. These are critically important sources because they connect you to real people who experienced real events.

· Are there any ex-workers (maybe relatives) available to interview? Their personal recollections can provide a wealth of information. What did it mean to them to work in the industry of your town?

· Do they have any letters, journals, photos, or memorabilia that could be included in the exhibition?

· Object, photo, newspaper, and document collections at your museum, archive and library or online can also reveal important details about the life of workers. Work with your local museum and library to determine which items could be used as objects or images in your exhibition.

· Make sure you have the right(copyright) to use all material!

Secondary sources are for example books and articles in historical journals and websites. They may help you place the experiences of the people in the larger context of regional and national history. The perspective offered through these sources help you to determine the norms for working people for the respective times. For example, you can use secondary materials to find out how common women’s teams were in the 1910s and when other women’s sports teams began it was for children to work in industry in the past, what work women did and what work men did.

4. Tell the Story and Use Visuals and Objects to Make it Shine

So, you’ve got your main idea, completed the research, and found images and objects that will illustrate the story. All of these support your central story.

Develop an outline to help organize your thoughts. Your outline will help you decide which are the most important parts of the story, the right order for telling them, and determine where you should place the best examples and illustrations you’ve found in your research. Remember that in an exhibition, it is often better to limit your text to just a couple of paragraphs for introductory information and a few sentences for a caption, photograph, or object. Use section texts to highlight big ideas and sub-themes that tie back into your central theme. Let the photographs and objects you select help tell the story. In your captions for these items, don’t just describe what is happening in the photo. Take the opportunity to use the photograph to tell an unknown part of the story. Try to incorporate quotes from newspapers from the time.

5. You’ve Done It!
After compiling your text, images and objects, it’s time to make your exhibition a reality. There are many ways to make your exhibition available to your community.

Work with the curators, librarians, and researchers that assisted you with your research to build your exhibition at your local museum, historical society, or library. People that you interviewed during your research may be happy to lend objects and photographs to your local museum for your project. Or, perhaps your class can work with your local museum to copy photographs and other materials for use in an exhibition at your school. Remember to be sure to only include items in your exhibition that you have clear permission from an owner, a photographer, or your museum or library to use.

Learning Outcomes

  • To understand the role that men, women and children played in the formation of the local community
  • To use exhibition techniques to gather visual and other information; use this information to help develop their work; compare and comment on a selection of objects, ideas, methods and approaches used, and relate these to the context

Knowledge acquired

  • Develop a deeper understanding of the historical, political, scientific, cultural, and socioeconomic interconnections that cause change in society

Skills acquired

  • Use various documents to find facts about historic events

Competences acquired

  • Developing the capacity to analyse an issue from multiple perspectives

Conclusion

Now you understand a little more of how men, women and children worked in your local community in the past. How does it compare to today?

Videos


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